Just Imagine

Just Imagine

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Welcome to my blog! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and read what's on my mind. I've a vicious sense of humor, an apprecation for romance and a mad addiction to writing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Words For 2011. wOOt!

I hope that everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I’d like to once more thank all who stopped by my blog during my ‘What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event. We had such fun! Well, I’ve decided to draw for my grand winner the old fashioned way. Straight out of a hat. To be exact, my son’s brand new Patriot’s hat. I’ve gone through all the posts and listed all the commenters. The problem? I’m out of printer ink. So, I’ll be hitting the print shop this week and getting the printer going. (So sorry about the delay)

My six-year-old will draw the lucky winner of the $100 Amazon gift certificate later in the week and it will be announced in a post at this blog on NEW YEAR’S DAY! What a great way to toast in 2012!

This week’s posts will simply be a lead-up to New Year’s Eve and all the interesting things that came out of 2011. First and foremost, five words added to the Oxford Dictionary this year. I'm sure you know them all. Or at least one or two. *grins*

Retweeting: resending somebody's tweet using Twitter (I knew this one. Who doesn't?)

Mankini: a one- piece bathing suit for men, with a T-back (think Borat) (Huh! *snorts* Funny)

Jeggings: tight trousers for women that look like denim jeans. (No comment)

Woot: (typically spelled "w00t") an on-line way to say "hooray," typically in a celebratory manner ("w00t! I fragged your n00b butt!") (Use this one often. Mispelled it though!)

Upcycle: to recycle into something worth more that the original. (I'm still busy recycling but this sounds good)

According to Oxford... "Some of the words are well-known to those who follow the news, such as sexting (sending sexual text messages or pictures) and cyberbullying (harassment over the Internet). Others are a bit specialized, such as noob (properly spelled n00b, a shortened form of "newbie" or somebody who's new to a game or forum; usually used in a derogatory sense)."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

For All Who Have Lost Someone Close. A Christmas Post.


Merry Christmas!

It’s hard to believe that December 25th has finally arrived. It’s been a fabulous month here at A Writer’s Mind. My What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree blog event has once more been a pure pleasure to host. Sixteen authors and jewelry vendors have visited and shared some truly wonderful Christmas tales. I would like to thank each and every one of them for joining me this holiday season. You ladies are the best! I'd also like to thank everyone who has popped in and commented. It meant so much.

For those of you joining me for the first time, if you have a few minutes to spare and want to share the yuletide with some fantastic people, grab a hot cup of hot chocolate or whatever your device and scroll back through the posts. Don’t forget to comment today for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to share today and decided that I'd rather be honest and shoot from the heart... this Christmas is a bit difficult.

As many know, I lost my Dad at the end of July and Christmas without him is… not quite Christmas. It was very important to me this year to try to keep things as normal as possible. For the sake of my son. For the sake of my mom. For the sake of myself.

There’s a certain joy that Christmas offers. A bittersweet nostalgia. Memories that though they hurt can also be healing. The lights, the warmth, the tradition of it all.

In fact, everything has gone quite well this holiday season. As far as everyone knows, I kept a dry eye. Until today at the store. I picked up a candle and thought to myself, “Time to buy a Christmas card for mom!” So off I strolled with a smile on my face, a bounce in my step, simultaneously sniffing the Warm Apple Pie candle and pushing my cart until I arrived at my destination, the card section. Not thinking twice, I reached up and grabbed a ‘Mom & Dad’ Christmas card. Eyes round as saucers, I froze.

Mom and Dad?

Regrettably, no.

Yep, I had a mini break-down. I quickly hustled away to the soda isle where I buried my tears by studying the ingredient label of a Diet Coke bottle. Let me tell you, there are some alarming things in soda. Suffice it to say, I quickly pulled myself together. No need for tender moments mere feet from so much carbonation. Shoulders back, determined gait full steam ahead, I went right back to that card isle and picked out the perfect Christmas card for my MOM.

Life goes on and I truly believe the worst disservice we can do to those who we’ve lost is to cease doing the little 'normal' things because they’re not right there with us anymore. After all, I think they still are with us. We just can’t see them. But we can feel them. I think Dad was right there with me telling me to pull myself together and stay strong. That I should celebrate Christmas with his memory close to my heart.

Dad, I love you. Though I can’t ‘give’ you anything for Christmas this year I hope that this, your favorite Christmas song, reaches you wherever you may be…



Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!

~Sky

Friday, December 23, 2011

What Are Your Favorite Things About the Holidays? Renee Vincent. Blog Event.


It’s almost that time. The day after tomorrow is Christmas Day! I’ve had the pleasure of having so many wonderful authors and vendors join me for my ‘What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event this year. If you’re popping in for the first time, here’s the scoop. The past thirty days have consisted of sixteen featured guests. All left a prize to win. We now have fifteen happy winners! But that’s not all. Every commenter on all posts through December 25th are entered to win the grand prize, a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.

Today and tomorrow, it’s my pleasure to welcome over a wonderful woman and author, Renee Vincent. Renee is graciously giving away an Ecopy from her backlist. Your choice! All you have to do is list your three favorite things about the holidays in a comment. In addition, I will be adding a $10 Amazon gift certificate to the jackpot. This prize will be given to a 2nd lucky commenter!

Let’s hand the blog over to Renee…

Before I begin, I’d like to thank Sky Purington for inviting me back to this great holiday event on her blog. I know she is enduring a very difficult hardship this year, and I give her kudos for continuing on with her normal routine. I know, from personal experience, that losing a loved one can be detrimental to one’s life, especially when the holidays roll around. But I want you to know, Sky, that your father would be so proud that you picked up and carried on with your career as an author. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

With that said, the Christmas season is my favorite time of the year and I’m so excited to share some of my favorite things about this great holiday with you.

Looking back at last year’s wish list, I wanted a Kindle VERY badly and to my surprise, my husband bought one for me. I was super stoked and believe me, I’ve used this Kindle more than I ever thought possible.

Last year, at this same event, I also wished to have Gerard Butler singing in his best baritone Phantom of the Opera voice that I was the next NY Time’s Best Selling author. That wish had not come true…but I’m still hopeful this year. (*ahem* Gerard….that was your cue!)

Moving on to the present, I couldn’t think of one single thing I wanted or needed. When my family asked for suggestions, I’ve found myself at a loss. I had no idea what to tell them, so this year should be quite interesting. On the same token, I LOVE surprises. So, I’m pretty excited about what they come up with.
While I’m clueless about what I want under my tree, I have no doubts as to why I enjoy Christmas as much as I do.

#1 I can’t forget the reason for the season. Through the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, and cleaning, I always give praise to the man of the hour: Our Savior. Now I’m not going to go all holy-roller or push religion and faith down anyone’s throats. I just know that without Him, I would not be where I am today, nor would I have the success of an author to boast. I love sharing with my children the reason why we, as a family, celebrate the season of giving.

#2 I love the whole aspect of giving gifts, from the countless hours spent searching for that perfect present, to watching their eyes light up as they unwrap it, whether it be a child or adult. In fact, I actually prefer to give than to receive. The feeling inside is twice as rewarding.

#3 And lastly, my other favorite thing about Christmas is spending quality time with family. Through the years, I’ve learned that life is short and to treasure every moment as if it were the last. Those memorable days of laughing, eating, and relaxing with loved ones are ever so precious. Nothing, not even time, can erase those instances of joy and bliss from my memory.

And since I’ve shared with you my three favorite things about Christmas, I’d like to hear yours. Leave me a comment listing your 3 favorite things about the holiday season, and you’ll be entered to win an ebook copy of any one of my backlist (winner’s choice.)

From my house to yours, I want to wish you all a very blessed and safe Christmas!

Sky here. What a great post, Renee. Thank you so very much for the kind words in regards to my Dad. My thoughts are with you this Christmas as well, my friend. Your sister is still right there with you in spirit, as is my Dad right here with me. Wishing you and yours the very happiest of holidays.

THE FALL OF RAIN

Leif Dæganssen, an archeologist from Norway, is determined to trace back his Scandinavian roots as far as the Dark Ages and find proof of their existence on the Emerald Isle. After several years of living off the west coast of Ireland, he finally uncovers an ancient artifact—an intricately decorated chest with pagan carvings—buried beneath the very porch of his coastal cottage. Knowing it only confirms the presence of a glorified Norse-influenced settlement on Inis Mór, he’s determined to establish a link between himself and those who once inhabited the rugged isle.

For as long as she can remember, Lorraine O’Connor has had dreams of a Norse warrior kissing her. And even though she’s never fully understood the reason for her vivid subconscious imagination, she welcomes the meaningless and wanton pleasure of being in a Viking’s protective embrace—until the day she meets that brazen Northman on an impulsive vacation trip to Ireland.

Though blindsided by the relevance of her dreams and the strange familiarity of the man within them, Lorraine can’t help but feel a deep-seated intimacy toward Leif. And the more she gets to know him, the more she’s convinced they’ve shared a life together in a time long forgotten.

Are the clues to their ancestral past hidden within the contents of the chest or buried deep within their hearts?

Purchase THE FALL OF RAIN at Amazon.

Renee Vincent’s Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Don’t forget to list your three favorite things about the holidays in a comment for a chance to win. Contest ends December 25th, 12 AM, EST.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Tis The Season To Wear Jewelry! Designs by Dawn Marie. Christmas Blog Event.


Welcome to my ‘What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event. Only a few days left until Christmas and still lots to give away! In addition to each featured guest’s prize, one lucky commenter on any post between now and December 25th is entered for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate!

Today and tomorrow it’s my pleasure to welcome over my dear friend Dawn Marie, CEO of Designs by Dawn Marie. Dawn Marie is graciously hosting a duel giveaway. One pair of artisan earrings to a commenter at this blog and another who follows the simple directions at DAWN MARIE'S BLOG.

Dawn's description of these magnificent earrings… “These are beautiful magnesite earrings. The veining in this magnesite selection is really spectacular. Gorgeous shades of turquoise and brown make these earrings a sure "go to" pair in your jewelry box. I've accented the magnesite with sparkling genuine Swarovski Crystals. To really finish the entire look, I've hand wire-wrapped rich chocolate wire creating a beautiful finial finish. The ear wires are copper, to really bring out the shades of chocolate and brown through the earring.”

I purchased earrings from Dawn Marie years ago and still wear them often (with tons of compliments I might add!) She puts her heart and soul into her work and it really comes through in her designs. I guarantee that when you head over to her blog that you’re going to end up browsing and most definitely fall in love with one of her pieces!
Wishing everyone Happy Holidays!!!

Contest ends December 23rd, 12 AM EST.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For! Sharon Donovan. Christmas Blog Event.


Welcome to my ‘What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event. Every two days, either an author or vendor visits A Writer’s Mind to leave something beneath this blog’s Christmas Tree for YOU. In addition, every commenter on any post is entered for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon. This event has been a pure joy to host. And it’s not over yet!

Today and tomorrow, I’ve the pleasure of welcoming over the lovely Sharon Donovan. Sharon is very graciously offering snowflake wine chimes, cork screw and cocktail napkins to one lucky commenter!

Let’s hear from Sharon…

A warm thank you to Sky for hosting this beautiful Christmas blog. My topic is…

Be Careful What You Wish For.

It happened to me back in the eighties. Does anyone remember the home jewelry parties? Well, I do and I’ll never forget my one and only experience. It happened one Christmas. Enjoy!

Diva Queen

“And here’s our show stopper,” the jewelry representative held up a sleek snake necklace with emerald green eyes. “Can’t you just see yourself at all the Christmas parties in this breathtaking piece? And it can be yours in a heartbeat. All you need do is host the next jewelry party at your house, sell enough jewelry to meet the quota—and this hostess gift is yours! Now which of you lovely ladies is gonna be the Diva Queen of all his dreams?”

I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The emerald green snake eyes had me hypnotized. Before I could stop myself, I shot my hand high in the air. Practically panting, I screamed with gusto. “Me! I’ll host the next party. That necklace is mine!”

For the next two weeks before my party, I walked around with my head in the clouds, dreaming of the gorgeous necklace I’d showcase at all the upcoming Christmas parties. I walked around with stars in my eyes. I dreamed of it and counted the days until it was mine. In between decorating the house, trimming the tree and baking cookies, I went shopping for a dress regal enough to complement my show stopper.

Humming a verse or two of All I want for Christmas, I called every friend, relative and co-worker I could think of, making certain I’d sell enough jewelry to win my hostess gift. On the morning of my party, I even went so far as to post signs on telephone poles, bribing the unsuspected with promises of cookies and hot buttered rum. Giddy with delight, I ushered the jewelry representative in on a blast of cold winter wind.

“Come on in. I have a table ready for you in the living room. Go on and set things up. I’ll just check on the refreshments.”

And before long, the house was bustling with excitement as guests chose accessories to jazz up holiday wardrobes. And by the end of the party, I far exceeded the points I needed to claim my hostess gift. The minute all points were tallied, I screamed loud enough to wake the living dead.

“YES!”

But two weeks later, guests began calling me, curious as to the whereabouts of their orders. Puzzled, I called the representative, who assured me the shipment was just running a little late due to the Christmas rush. But when guests began calling me and leaving irate messages on my machine, I got suspicious.

“How dare you try and pull one over on us,” a co-worker screeched. “Of all the people in the world, you’d be the last person I’d suspect of stealing money.”

Something inside me went ice cold. What was she talking about? My left eye began to twitch the way it did when I was upset. Biting my lip, I made a few phone calls, feeling the life being sucked right out of me.

And when I learned the jewelry representative had told my guests she’d delivered the shipment to me over a week ago, my heart sank. I smelled a rat. And after more phone calls to the company, I learned the jewelry order was never turned in. The trusty representative had pocketed my money and was nowhere to be found, leaving me in bad standing with my friends, relatives and co-workers.

After countless calls to the jewelry company, numerous apologies to my guests and more heartache than I’d ever known, I reached rock bottom. But when guilt finally caught up with the jewelry representative, she called with a full confession.

“I’m so sorry,” she choked out in between sobs. “I couldn’t afford to pay the rent. I had all good intentions of turning your order money in next week. Honest. I’m really sorry. I’ve never done this. Can you forgive me?”

Her sobbing disgusted me. Because of her jack-be-nimble fingers, I lost the respect of the people I cared most about. I just shook my head, unable to say the words desperately wanting to roll off my tongue. I simply slammed down the phone, feeling a whole lot older and a whole lot wiser.

And a few days before Christmas, when my jewelry order was at long last delivered, I opened it with a heavy heart. And when I unveiled my hostess gift, something I was ready to sell my soul for, an icy chill washed over me. The sleek gold snake necklace glistened on a bed of blue velvet, its emerald green eyes winking up at me like the eyes of a serpent. Closing the lid, I packed it away. I wanted no part of it. Because of a piece of glamorous costume jewelry, I’d nearly lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Greed had taken hold of me, ensnaring me in its ugly web. I felt ashamed. Nothing was worth the price of that necklace.

The following day, I wrapped up the necklace and placed it under the Angel tree at my church. And the minute I did, I felt the weight of the world lift from my burdened shoulders. Humming along to the beautiful instrumental the choir was playing, the sound of flutes and harps filling me with inner peace, I left with a light heart and a valuable lesson learned. Be careful what you wish for.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!

Sharon Donovan

Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith

Sharon's Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Sky here. What a wonderful post, Sharon! Thank you so much for sharing. A very, very Happy Holiday to you and yours!

BIO

Sharon Donovan lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her family. Prior to the loss of her vision, she was a legal secretary for the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges in Domestic Relations. Painting was her passion. When she could no longer paint, she began attending creative writing classes and memoir workshops. After a long and winding road, a new dream arose. Today, instead of painting her pictures on canvas, Sharon paints her pictures with words.

Sharon writes stories of inspiration and suspense. She has certificates in business and medical transcription. Echo of a Raven, a narrative non-fiction about her struggles with diabetic retinopathy, received a CTRR award for outstanding writing, and The Claddagh Ring is a 2009 CAPA nominee for best inspirational of the year. Mask of the Betrayer was voted book of the week at LASR and its video by Triad Productions was a second place winner at You Gotta Read. Other books by Sharon Donovan are Touched by an Angel, Lasting Love, Her Biggest Fan and Charade of Hearts. You can visit Sharon at

Visit Sharon Donovan's Website or write to her at: sharonad@comcast.net

CHRISTMAS ANGEL

EXCERPT

“I want an abortion,” Eve hissed, glaring at her husband as he struggled to control his SUV during a complete white-out on the northbound lane of Lake Shore Drive. Gusts of bitter wind howled, sleet pummeled the windows, turning one of Chicago’s main arteries into a car graveyard. She cranked up the radio, fiddling until she stumbled upon a rock song to her liking. “And I want a divorce.”

“You’re drunk,” Oliver said, dark eyes flashing in the oncoming traffic. “We’ll talk about this when you’re sober.”

“I’m not drunk, and we’ll talk about it now,” Eve said, turning up the radio a notch. “I’m sick to death of your self-righteous attitudes. Your constant moralizing drives me mad. I only had a few drinks. It was a Christmas party, after all.”

“A few drinks?” Oliver snorted, skidding on the off-ramp from Stevenson Expressway. “Don’t make me laugh. You were tilting back that Sangria like it was cherry soda. You’re pregnant and shouldn’t be drinking at all. You shoulda seen yourself out there on the dance floor in that skin-tight red dress, rubbing up to all the male jockeys, shimmying and kicking up your stiletto heels like you were a contestant in Dancing With the Stars. You looked ridiculous. Everyone was laughing and pointing. Honey, you made a royal ass of yourself.”

“Shut up,” her hands balled into tight fists, long fingernails coiled like talons. How she itched to wipe that smug look off his face, knock him off his pedestal. She rolled her eyes theatrically, heaving out an exasperated sigh. “Unlike some people I know, the jockeys at the clubhouse know how to cut loose and unwind, leave the work load behind at the end of the day. You’re no fun at all, a real deadbeat. Did you even try socializing, get to know some of the jockeys? No, you just sat there all night like a bump on a log, drinking coffee, eye on the clock, a scowl plastered on your face. We have nothing in common. Why I married you is a mystery to me. I want out, the sooner the better.”

“Over my dead body,” Oliver roared, tires squealing as his vehicle skated dangerously close to a light pole. “What about our baby?”

“Weren’t you listening? I’m terminating this pregnancy; I’m only a few weeks. I told you when we got married, no kids. Training horses is my profession, my passion, something I won’t give up for anyone, least of all a kid. Thoroughbred racing comes first, foremost and always. Get it through your head. The last thing in the world I want is to be straddled down with a snotty nosed brat. Not in this life. You can’t make me have it.”

“You think this is about power and control?” Oliver raged, brakes squealing, wheels spinning. “It’s not. It’s about love and commitment. Haven’t I always catered to your every whim, your every need? Since the day we met, I treated you like a queen. I spoiled you rotten and let you have your way. Not this time, Eve. I’m putting my foot down. I want this baby. An abortion is out of the question. Absolutely not, I forbid it.”

“You what?” she laughed, cranking up the rock music to an ear-splitting screech. “Do you think you can control me, make my decisions for me? Order me to go through with this unwanted pregnancy because you’re a judge? The Honorable Judge Oliver Wendell Williams presiding? Do you really think you can lock me up behind bars, hold me prisoner against my will? Make me have this kid? Because that’s what having a baby would feel like to me, a jail sentence.”

“Don’t be so selfish, Eve.”

“Oliver, the pole!”

With a screech of brakes, the wheels locked, sending the SUV skidding into the light pole with a thundering boom. The vehicle flipped on its side, rolling three times before crashing into a tree, the splintering of glass and broken metal piercing the night.

***

She ached all over. Not wanting to open her eyes, she preferred the comfort of the surreal place she was floating in, drifting in and out of. Her head throbbed and she felt something tight and uncomfortable squeeze her arm. Somewhere in the distance, she heard beeping.

Cool fingers snaked around her wrist. Paramedics feeling for a pulse? She had a vague recollection of the wreck. To her horror, she remembered the SUV skidding into a pole and rolling over and over before landing with a resounding crash. The shattering of broken glass rang in her ears, the shuddering shriek devastating. Was she dead? She felt cold, colder than she’d ever felt. She needed to tell them she was alive.

She was faintly aware of murmurs, muted and distant. Someone pried her eyelids open and flicked a bright light in them. She thought she heard her name, far away in the distance, but it was so muffled she couldn’t be sure. She fluttered her eyelids.

“We’re losing her,” a man said, panic rising in his voice. “She’s lost too much blood and is going into cardiac arrest. We need to resuscitate. Let’s move! Code Blue.”

Eve felt herself leaving her body, floating upward to a swirl of bright light. As she gently ebbed closer to the rapture, her senses became acutely aware. She drifted through a garden of roses, vivid blooms of crimson, burnt orange and liquid gold as bright as sorcerer’s flames. The sweet perfume permeating the air was heavenly. Enveloped in peace and tranquility, she passed through a veil of flowers. With a flutter of gossamer wings, a beautiful cherub materialized. The angel was breathtakingly beautiful. A spiral of jet-black curls framed a heart-shaped face, and when she smiled, lips the color of ripe cherries lit up her entire face.

“Who are you?” Eve asked.

“It’s me, Mummy,” the angel answered sweetly. “The baby you lost in the wreck, the child you didn’t want.”

COMING SOON FROM WHIMSICAL PUBLICATIONS

Don't forget to comment for a chance to win! Contest ends Wednesday, December 21, 12 AM EST.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas With A Pirate! Helen Hollick. Blog Event.

Welcome! My ‘What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event continues. If you’re popping in for the first time let me fill you in. Every two days a new author or vendor visits A Writer’s Mind to leave a gift for YOU under this blog’s Christmas tree. Not only that, but every commenter between now and December 25th is entered for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon!

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over talented author, Helen Hollick. Helen is graciously offering TWO prizes. Be sure to comment for a chance to win a copy of Sea Witch. One winner will be selected from the UK and the other, anywhere else in the world.

Let’s hand the blog over to Helen…

Christmas with a Pirate

By Helen Hollick – author of the Sea Witch Voyages

A not historically accurate story for Christmas

A man of lesser fortitude would have worried about the dreams. Jesamiah assumed they were the unpleasant after-taste of too much rum, although how a whole bottle constituted ‘too much’ was a little beyond his reckoning.

“Cap’n?” Finch poked at Jesamiah to see if he was awake, was rewarded with a muffled grunt from beneath the blankets. “Cap’n Acorne, yer breakfast’s on the table. Up t’you if’n you want it ‘ot or cold. But I ain’t warmin’ it up agin fer you.” Finch poked him again. “I got to get on with fings.”

Jesamiah grunted again and shoving the bedding aside crawled from the wooden cot that hung from the underside of the deck above him by four ropes. The sound of the sea swirling past the hull echoed through the small side chamber, and the daylight in the main cabin changed slightly as Sea Witch leant over. She was going at a fair rate of knots; even down here he could hear the singing of the wind in the rigging and the thunder of the canvas sails as they bent and strained.

He scratched his bare backside beneath his long shirt and yawning, sauntered towards the mahogany table where his steward, Finch, had laid breakfast. Most days meals consisted of bread that was more weevil than bread, stew more gristle than meat and coffee that had more bits if dust and rat’s droppings in it than coffee. Such was life aboard a ship in the early 1700’s. The one advantage of being a pirate ship – there was usually a plentiful supply of rum and fresh provisions whenever they took and boarded a Prize.

“What’s this?” Jesamiah asked, poking at an oblong package wrapped in a piece of canvas cloth and tied with thin twine.

“Nuffing much,” Finch answered as he poured hot coffee into a small china cup – for once it looked and smelt like coffee. “Just something fer Christmas.”

Jesamiah sniffed and wiped at the moustache trailing to either side of his mouth into his jaw-line beard that was as black as his shoulder-length hair. “I thought we agreed? No damn presents. Gets a bit much finding trinkets and such for every bloody member of the crew.” Coffee cup in his hand, Jesamiah peered out of the stern windows that were salt-grimed on the outside. Sea Witch was leaving a long, straight, and frothing wake. He studied the horizon. No sign of another sail. Good. They’d lost that damned Royal Navy Frigate then.

He sipped the coffee, returned to the table, sat, investigated what was under the covered plate. Cooked ham, two eggs, black pudding and a kidney. He raised his eyebrows delighted and surprised.

“Must be Christmas,” he said, “you usually serve up burnt toast.”

Finch scowled and headed towards the cabin door, ducking beneath the low overhead beams. “I’ll fetch your shaving stuff and some ‘ot water. I’ve set our your best clothes too. You mind you put ‘em on.”

Jesamiah grinned, half saluted. “Aye Sir.”

Finch was a curmudgeonly old basket, but Jesamiah valued his unfailing loyalty.

Footsteps running on the deck above, shadows flickering through the overhead skylight. Rue’s voice, from where he stood at the helm, called out, “All ‘ands t’braces. Make ready to wear ship!”

The Frenchman, Rue, was a good second-in-command. Jesamiah trusted him implicitly.

“What’s this then?” he said to himself as he started to undo the package. “I thought I made it quite clear about presents this year. Last year there was such a squabble after the foremast jacks complained that the topmen had done better than they had.” He sighed. Finding suitable gifts for over one hundred men had proven to be a nightmare. In the end he’d shoved a load of bits and bobs in a chest and told them to help themselves to one item each. Thinking about it now, that had not been one of his better ideas. The ensuing fight had been somewhat spectacular.

Unpeeling the canvas he discovered a cedarwood box, exquisitely carved with a likeness of the Sea Witch. Inside, several lengths of blue ribbons. His trademark. He wore blue ribbons tied into his hair. A personal vanity with a practical purpose. He often gave one to the ladies ashore as a memento of a pleasurable night, but used them also for a more sinister reason. They made a useful weapon to quickly and quietly garrotte an enemy.

Finch brought in a laver and jug of hot water, set them to the small side table.

“You made this?” Jesamiah asked, indicating the box.

“I did.”

“That explains why m’dinner’s been late every evening this week then,” Jesamiah grinned.

Finch growled under his breath. “The crew wants you on deck, and Rue says do you wish to maintain this course or no?”

*
Jesamiah took his time shaving; with Sea Witch bowling along so merrily it was not easy keeping the razor merely to the whiskers. Twice he cut himself as she lurched over a particularly strong wave. He dabbed at the blood, dressed. Finch had lain out his best white breeches, linen shirt, lace cravat and the fancy waistcoat. It was Jesamiah’s favourite, the embroidery was exquisite – tiny green oak leaves with delicate little acorns decorated in gold thread. He slipped it on, added the leather baldric strap which went aslant from his right shoulder, across his chest to his left hip, where his cutlass nestled comfortably. Settling the strap onto his shoulder he touched the gold acorn earring dangling from his right earlobe.

That dream? He’d had it several times. Each occasion it was exactly the same. A woman was walking along a beach deep in thought. Two dogs were running and barking at her feet – it was drizzling with rain and apart from those three, the beach was empty. She walked for quite a way, then sat on a rock gazing out at the flat, grey sea. It was not a coastline he recognized. Who was she? Why did he keep seeing her?

Putting on his buckram greatcoat that had once been blue but was now a sun-bleached light grey, he set his hat to his head and went out on deck.

The crew were gathered there in their Sunday best – that is, clean neckerchiefs, jackets over their grubby shirts and canvas or calico breeches. Most of them were barefoot. Easier to climb and keep your balance on the rigging without shoes, and here in the Caribbean, warm clothing and woollen stockings were not essential anyway.

Without altering his bland expression Jesamiah climbed up the companionway ladder to the quarterdeck, stood looking out along the deck stretching ahead of him towards the bow. Every bit of railing was entwined with greenery and coloured streamers. Bound to the mainmast, a six foot Christmas tree, decorated with strings of shells.

Not able to contain themselves any longer the crew cheered and shouted, “Happy Christmas Captain!”

Jansy started up a song, with old Toby Turner raking what was supposed to be a tune from his old fiddle.

“What entertainment ‘ave you got for the crew this year then, mon ami?” Rue asked from the helm, his French accent bound with suppressed laughter. “Mayhap not the fight we ‘ad last year, eh?”

Jesamiah nonchalantly strode towards him and took the wheel, his hands caressing the spokes as he silently acknowledged his beloved ship. He had not got anything for anyone.

Some of the lads were dancing a boisterous jig, their feet stamping on the hot wooden deck, others clapping the rhythm.

He would have to offer them something, and pretty quick too. Pirates were not noted for their generous patience.

Ah. He had it.

“We’ll alter course,” he said, squinting up at the topgallant sails. “If I recall rightly, about an hour from here is that island we nicknamed La Belle Passion.”

“The one we discovered a few months back?”

“Aye.”

“The one with the tavern right on the shore?”

“Yep.”

“With those très bon kegs of French brandy?”

“That’s the one.”

“And those black haired, black eyed, senoritas?”

“Uh huh.”

“The senoritas with the big….”

Jesamiah grinned, nodded. He put the wheel over slightly, watched as the resulting movement shivered along the edge of the maincourse sail.

“Not suitable accoutrements for a Christmas day of course.” He said. “I doubt the men will appreciate the gesture. I mean, they’ll probably prefer listening to me recite that old copy of King George’s Christmas speech we found a few months back. A couple of games of pin the tail on the pirate and hunt the hook; that sort of thing.”

Rue rubbed at his chin, his expression thoughtful. “Oui, that they probably would. Traditional Christmas is very sacred, but maybe just this once we could put up with something a little different, non?”

Jesamiah laughed. “Aye, I reckon!”

He handed the helm back to Rue and stepped forward to the quarterdeck rail. “Men! I’m delighted to announce your Christmas present!”

The deck fell silent. The dancing and singing stopped, everyone turned to face their Captain, expectant.

“How do you fancy a few days holiday somewhere warm and very pleasant?”

*
Later, much later, the stars filled the dark heavens like a scatter of jewels cast there and the gentle hush of the sea lapped the golden sands that were cooling after the heat of day. An almost empty bottle of rum in one hand, and a beautiful woman, almost asleep on his shoulder, in the other, Jesamiah lay on the beach, content.

He closed his eyes. Ah, this was the life.

Drowsing he thought of that dream again.

That woman, the one in the place he didn’t recognize, had looked up and seen him. He’d been standing there for ages, his boots in the shallow surf, hat tilted back slightly, one hand on his hip. He nodded, gave her a half salute, his golden acorn earring glistening in the weak sun that was trying to push through the grey cloud.

She smiled. Said, “Hello Jesamiah Acorne.”

Good grief, he thought to himself, I’ve just realised who she is. She’s the one who writes down all my adventures! Well, fancy that.

For the full story of how I met Jesamiah Acorne click HERE.

Sky here. I absolutely loved this. Very clever! Thank you so much for sharing, Helen. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season.


Visit Helen’s Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win. Contest ends Monday, December 19th, 12 AM, EST.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Need A Production Crew! AJ Nuest. Christmas Blog Event

Only ten days left until Christmas and my ‘What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event continues! Now through Christmas an author or vendor will be swinging in every two days to share a part of their holiday with us. Each and every featured guest is leaving something under this blog’s Christmas tree for YOU to win. In addition, everyone who comments between now and December 25th is entered to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon!

Today and tomorrow, it’s my pleasure to welcome over romance author, AJ Nuest who will graciously be giving away an Ecopy of Jezebel's Wish to one lucky commenter.

Let's hear from AJ...

Help! I Need A Production Crew!

As the married mother of two, our family looks forward to Christmas with all the fervor and enthusiasm due middle-class American family. The day after Thanksgiving, we begin pulling out decorations, making wish lists, and scouring our favorite cookbooks for that one special recipe.

One would think this ensures our holiday goes off without a hitch, just like all those Christmas specials on television.

The happy family sits down to a delicious home-cooked meal. The stockings are hung above a roaring fire and the tree displays a stunning arrangement of hand-crafted ornaments. The children are perfectly behaved. Mom is gorgeous, her hair a bonnet of perfection, her stylish dress wafting around her knees while she floats around the kitchen in a pair of spotless high heels. Dad comes in from shoveling the walk and smiles at her in that special way, handsomely attired in his new Christmas sweater. After dinner, the children don their pajamas, kiss Mom and Dad on the cheek, and trundle off to bed. Mother and Father share a smooch under the mistletoe and glass of wine before the crackling fire. Christmas carols hum romantically in the background and a pile of shiny wrapped presents are stacked neatly under the tree. Everything is perfect.

I don’t know about you, but this ain’t how things go at our house.

Mom gets up two hours earlier than normal to start the preparations for the evening meal. Thinking she has more than enough time, she puts off showering and whips her hair into a ponytail using the rubber band off the asparagus. The children wake up and grumble for breakfast. Realizing she forgot to buy eggs, Mom wakes up Dad and asks if he could please go to the store. Dad grabs a coffee and heads out the door, only to return moments later and announce the car has a flat tire. Mom gives the children a candy cane off the tree for breakfast, hands Dad the checkbook, and returns to the kitchen.

The children decide to go sledding. Mom leaves the stove to gather gloves, scarves, hats, snow pants, and boots. She spends a half hour negotiating with daughter that even though last year’s snow pants have a small tear in the left knee, they will still work, and can she please stop arguing with her brother about who gets to ride the sled first.

Mom returns to the stove to find the hollandaise sauce burned beyond recognition. Dad enters kitchen reeking of motor oil and announces that he is just now heading to the store. Daughter reappears from outside, crying because she fell off the sled. Mom calms daughter down and hands her a second candy cane.

Roast gets inserted into the oven. The cat tears into the kitchen batting a glass ornament across the floor. Mom returns the ornament to the tree, only to find the bottom half is bare and the ornaments have been scattered throughout the living room. An hour later, the tree has been redecorated and the pine needles vacuumed.

Dad comes back from the store with a gallon of milk, enough double-A batteries to power Chernobyl, and an extension cord. Daughter pulls out painting project and arranges all her supplies on the dining room table. Son decides it’s time for band practice and spends the next hour banging out the same rhythm in his bedroom. Dad disappears to fix a string of broken lights on the front of the house. Mom returns to kitchen, pours a glass of wine, and peels potatoes.

The children decide to build a snowman. Mom leaves the stove and realizes the first set of gloves, scarves, hats, snow pants, and boots are soaking wet, lying in puddle on the utility room floor. She ransacks the closet for new gloves, scarves, hats, snow pants, and boots. A half hour is spent negotiating with daughter that even though she has to wear her brother’s hand-me-down snow pants from last year, no one will notice. They’re navy blue, for God’s sake.

While the children are busy and the husband has a task, Mom cleans up painting supplies, changes into sweatpants and begins (yes, begins) wrapping Christmas presents.

Four hours later we sit down to our Christmas Eve meal. No one has showered, the kitchen is a disaster, and Mom is on her third glass of wine. The cat walks into the dining room and barfs up a gelatinous combination of pines needles and candy cane goo for our viewing pleasure.

THIS is the way Christmas dinner goes at the Nuest household. And while it’s chaotic, loud and messy, I wouldn’t change a thing. Except maybe this year, I’m thinking of hiring a production crew.

Sky here. WOW, you have your hands full, AJ! The idea of hiring a production crew sounds fantastic. LOL. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Holiday Season!

AJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the Senior Editor for Still Moments Publishing, and the author of two contemporary romance novels.

Visit her on the web at her Blog ~ Facebook Twitter.

Email: ajnuest@yahoo.com

Purchase Jezebel’s Wish at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Watch a book trailer for JEZEBEL'S WISH



Don't forget to comment for a chance to win. Contest ends Saturday, December 17, 12 AM, EST.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting In Touch With Your Naughty Side This XXXmas

 
Welcome! My ‘What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ Blog Event' continues. New to this event? Well, every two days a different author or vendor pops in to leave a present under this blog’s Christmas tree for YOU to win. In addition, every comment between now and December 25th is entered to win a $100 Gift Certificate to Amazon!

Today we’re turning ‘sexy’ way up with erotica author, Rynne Raines. So be forewarned, this post is 100% RATED R. Rynne is graciously giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate to one lucky commenter who answers her question correctly. (located at the end of the post)


Let's hand the blog over to Rynne...

Getting In Touch With Your Naughty Side This XXXmas

It's not always easy to find that perfect gift for your man on Christmas. If your man is anything like mine you'll wrack your brain for hours on end trying to think up something he wants that he hasn't already purchased. Save yourself the trouble ladies and give him the one thing every man wants--a piece of your sweet and naughty ass with a side of kink.

Whether he has been ultra naughty this year or extra nice, every woman wants to give their man the super sexy Christmas gift that he will never forget. So, tap into that creative reservoir girls and allow yourself to cut loose for the holidays! Below are seven naughty ideas that will take you both to the erotic side of the winter wonderland.

 Jingle All The Way

Sexy clothing is a fantastic way to set the tone for a seductive night of Christmas Eve fun! Meet your man at the door wearing a pair of high heels, these adorable red fishnets with their tiny gold bells ($12.95 at 3wishes.com), a Santa hat and nothing else! Those Christmas bulbs won't be the only things lighting up!
 
Tease and Please With Present And Bow Pasties

Want to decorate the "girls" for the holidays? A great accessory to the fishnets would be these amazing and creative nipple pasties ($16.95-18.95 at 3wishes.com) Try the fine art of the slow tease and he'll be begging to unwrap those gifts with a holiday smile on his face.

Spice It Up With A Kinky Kristmas Kit

Are you straight off the naughty list? Well this Christmas Vibrator and Bondage Kit ($18.00 vendio.com) is a sure way for your Secret Santa to keep your cheeks rosy.  Fully equipped with blindfold, cuffs, rubber flogger, 7 multi-speed vibrator, and peppermint lube this little kit may have you reserving your spot on the naughty list for next year.

Whipped Cream Delight For Two

Here's one home recipe that won't remind him of his grandmother's baking! What's needed? A can of whipped cream, a tap of cinnamon, and some peppermint schnapps. Or grab one of those candy canes off the tree, pop a piece of it in your mouth beforehand, and give your man the holiday blow job he'll never forget. So simple right?! Open wide girls and enjoy! 
Pantygram

Tired of giving him a Christmas card that says Happy Holidays and Season Greetings? Why not try this intimate Pantygram? Don't want to pay the $24.95? Do it yourself! Find a sexy black envelope and slide your sexiest panties inside. If this doesn't get his sleigh bells jingling, I don't know what will!

Erotic XXXmas Stories

Curl up with your eggnog and man and dive into some erotic Christmas tales. Naughty or Nice: Christmas Erotica Stories ($11.21) or The Merry XXXmas Book Of Erotica ($14.95) will heat things up enough to forgo the need for a warm fire this Christmas Eve.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving


When you're giving your man his night to remember, here's a little tease toy that will help you remember it too! According to AskMen.ca, The Durex Play Vibrations ($7.09 at amazon.com) is top of the line for disposable rings on the market. While he's bouncing his Christmas balls off your ass, why not make sure you're both screaming "O Holy Night" when all is said and done!

Well ladies those are my Christmas Kink Tips for the year. Now it's gift time! I'm leaving a $20.00 gift card to amazon.com under the tree this year for one lucky person who leaves a comment telling me what Eve will be giving Donavan if she loses their bet. Legally Bound Excerpt. From me to you...Have a wickedly wonderful holiday season! 

BUY NOW
Evelyn Morgan has a secret. Donavan Carver wants to expose it. Bondage, debauchery, and a weekend at Eden lands one of them on their knees....

For years, Eve has craved sexual domination, but a kinky romp in the hay isn't worth destroying her prestigious legal reputation over. Even if that romp's with her handsome rival and legendary Dominant, Donavan Carver. Desperate to protect her secret and keep the notorious playboy at bay, Eve clings to the lie she's told for two years--she's a Domme. Donavan doesn't buy it. Given the opportunity to put Donavan's doubts to rest, Eve lures him into a bet he can't win--one that will tether him to her leash. So what if she cheats to win? He'll never find out. Or Will he?
 
Where to Find Rynne Raines:


Contest ends December 15th, 12 AM EST.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Truly Touching Holiday Memory. Faith V. Smith. Blog Event.


Welcome! We’re about halfway through my ‘What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event and so far it’s been an absolute blast! For those of you unfamiliar with this event, between November 25th and December 25, sixteen authors and jewelry vendors are visiting A Writer’s Mind to leave a gift under this blog’s Christmas tree for YOU to win. The grand prize on Christmas Day? A $100 gift certificate to Amazon!

This week it’s my pleasure to welcome over author Faith V. Smith who is graciously offering a PDF of IMMORTAL JUSTICE to one lucky commenter!

Let’s hear from Faith…

There’s one Christmas I’ll never forget. Here’s why….

Back in 2005 my husband and brother were still alive, and I was able to cook Christmas Dinner for both of them. My husband was in his hospital bed in the den, and my brother, a Katrina survivor, was in the hospital. I brought him back to be with me a few months after the hurricane struck.

Rick, my husband, was suffering from a brain injury. His mind was not stable at times, and my daughter and I were in the kitchen cooking the dressing when she heard a sound. She peeked in on her dad, and came back to the kitchen. “Mama, Dad’s crying.” I dropped what I held in m hand and ran to his room.

“Honey,” I asked, “What’s wrong?”

He replied, “I didn’t get you anything for Christmas.” The fact he knew what day it was was a miracle in itself.

I lied through my teeth and told him that he did get Christmas for me and my daughter, but that he just didn’t remember it. We had a lovely dinner, and I took a plate to the hospital for my brother Zane.

That was the last year they were with us. Zane died in January of 2006 and Rick in August of 2006. That Christmas is special because they were both where I could hold them and tell them I loved them.

So this Christmas I’m wishing for all of you a chance to hold, hug, love, and rejoice in the blessings of the holiday.

Love,
Faith

Oh Faith. What a truly touching post. It's so important to hold memories like that close to your heart. This will be my first Christmas without Dad and it's just so hard. I will take your advice and hold, hug, love, and rejoice in the blessings of the holiday. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season, Faith. (((big HUGE cyberhugs)))

Visit Faith’s Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook

Let’s learn a little more about IMMORTAL JUSTICE

Over a millennium ago, Highlander Darach MacRath was murdered. Resurrected by the Archangel Michael to fight demons as an Immortal Executioner, Darach now opposes all evil in the mortal world. His life is solitary—but when he rescues a young woman who not only sees demons but battles them herself, he is captivated by her courage and beauty. Abigail Dupree is not looking for love. But when a tall, dark demon fighter with a sexy brogue intervenes in her hunt, she’s fascinated. She should run away—but then his gentle yet sizzling touch ensnares her heart. When a demon from Darach’s past sets his sights on Abby, Darach will do anything to protect her—but for Abby, losing him would be worse than death. Together they must fight the demons of past and present, and the possibility that evil could destroy them both, before they find the gift of love.

Click HERE to watch a book trailer for Immortal Justice.

Be sure to comment for a chance to win. Contest ends Tuesday, December 13th, 12 AM EST.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Going Global in a Yuletide Post! Brenda Whiteside. Blog Event.

Welcome! Just a few weeks left until Christmas and my 'What Every Woman Wants Beneath Her Christmas Tree’ blog event is in full swing. Just joining us for the first time? Let me catch you up. Every two days now through Christmas Day an author or jewelry artist will be joining me and putting something under this blog’s Christmas tree for YOU to win. In addition, everyone who leaves a comment between now and December 25th will be entered to win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon!

Today and tomorrow, it’s my pleasure to welcome over Brenda Whiteside. Brenda will graciously be giving away a copy of her tale, WARM CHRISTMAS WISHES. (It’s an anthology in which Brenda has two stories) Your choice between a digital or print copy!

Let’s hand the blog over to Brenda…

I wish Christmas was every day. The end of the year holidays are absolutely, without a doubt, all the way round my favorite time of year. Starting with Thanksgiving and through the New Year, there is static in the year – static that draws us together, sticks us to each other with an electric joy that is brighter than the strings of lights we drape around the tree.

My Christmas memories are rich and plenty. The year my sister finally sat on Santa’s lap was a good one. Little Debbie was always too shy and would never follow big sister Brenda on the path to the jolly old elf. Grown up Debra finally got the nerve to slide onto the fat man’s lap – she was forty years old.

I’ve lived in many places from California to Germany. How Christmas is celebrated, how it looks in different parts of the world makes for good memories.

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. December is a great time of year in Phoenix – the sweltering heat replaced by mild temps and sunny skies. Tossing the football around, playing baseball or riding the new bike on Christmas Day seemed perfectly natural to us desert rats. How totally incongruous it was for us to sing songs about dreaming of a white Christmas, but we did.

After I was married, we spent three Christmas holidays in Germany. Those have to be some of my fondest memories. The Germans have some marvelous traditions. The Christmas tree has its origins there. We would stroll along the streets of Nuremburg with lights and decorations galore. And on every other corner would be bratwurst stands selling not only the juicy brats in buns but also hot, spiced red wine. The traditions vary a bit in different parts of Germany. Christkindl brings gifts to children, but there is also a St. Nicholas Eve on December 6th. An old tradition, still practiced in the Nuremburg area was for children to leave their shoes outside and St. Nicholas would fill them with fruit, nuts and candy if they had been good. I can still smell and taste Christmas in Germany.

Christmas on the beaches of California was about as different from Germany as you could get. Red Hawaiian shirts, glitzy decorations and the warm Santa Ana winds lent a wholly different kind of season in Santa Barbara. That year, my husband was a student, my son was not quite two and we were as poor as the Cratchits. But we were also rich with love. My son was just as happy with a new coloring book and a package of plastic army men as he would have been with a new electronic toy.

And talk about glitzy – how about Christmas in Las Vegas? Glitzy and the desert, yes, but add to that snow. We actually had a white Christmas that year!

The last couple of decades have been spent in Minnesota. After the white Christmases of Germany, I was ecstatic to be back to a winter wonderland. Minnesotans know a thing or two about the season. Minneapolis has a holiday parade in the evenings on Nicolett Mall. The Mall by itself is glittery for the season and the parade makes it magical. St. Paul’s Winter Carnival doesn’t start until after the New Year but helps drag out the holidays that much longer. There is an ice carving competition worth braving the cold to see. My husband and I belong to a club that has a holiday party that takes over a hotel, everyone dresses in island garb and we forget for one night about the subzero temps outside. The highlight is Santa Mon’s visit.

We’re one of those crazy couples who give their dog a couple of presents. Rusty loves Christmas as much as I do, but he’s more into getting than giving. He sniffs out his new stuffed toys and opens the packages. He smiles. Really!

We’ve also spent Christmas in a hotel room in San Francisco with a two-foot high plastic tree and on the road between Miami and Phoenix, but wherever we’ve been one thing is the same – that magical feeling the season brings. And that’s all I need under my Christmas tree.

One of my most favorite things about Christmas is the giving. So I’d like to give away a book of Christmas stories – Warm Christmas Wishes – in either print or e-book, your choice. Please leave a comment and we’ll draw for the winner.

However you celebrate this time of year, I hope you get a little something special under your Christmas tree.

Sky here. What wonderful holiday memories, Brenda. Thank you so much for sharing!

A bit more about Warm Christmas Wishes...

Lovely, rich Marie Louise Le Mare apparently has everything in life. So what can the handsome man in the red suit possibly give her? When they’re trapped in an elevator with only each other for company, a surprise gift exchange makes this Christmas special.

Purchase Warm Christmas Wishes HERE.

Visit Brenda’s Website and Facebook

Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win! Contest ends Sunday, December 11th. 12 AM, EST.