And Then . . .There’s Frog Poop

frog-152633_640

Words of wisdom from my four-year-old grandson.

I saw him off this morning, along with his mom, on this final day of 2016. Freezing my ass off at the departure gate of the Logan Airport in Boston. They were headed back to 70-degree weather in their home in Tampa after spending two, glorious weeks with Grandma and Pop Pop in frigid New England.

Glorious for us. Maybe not so much for them.

Lil Guy had been looking forward to building a snowman. Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn’t on the same page. Although we did get a meager dusting and a few snow showers during their visit, there was just not enough for snowman construction.

No matter. It was too freaking cold anyway. And after two weeks of grey skies, bitter cold, and biting wind, Lil Guy had had enough.

On their last full day with us, we ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel, did some cursory after-Christmas shopping, and were on our way home for lunch and Lil Guy’s nap (during which Grandma and Lil Guy’s mom planned one, last happy hour at our favorite local watering hole). The sun had braved its way through the twenty-degree chill, and was lighting up all the ice-covered, bare-branched trees to a sparkling light show. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and I pointed it out to my grandson.snow-721952_640

“Look, Eddie. Look how pretty the ice on the trees looks in the sun,” I said, my words muffled only slightly by the scarf partially covering my freezing face.

Lil Guy looked around and nodded. Then he replied, “Yeah. And then, there’s frog poop.”

Okay, so talk about knocking the wind out of your sails. What’s the saying? Out of the mouths of babes . . .even at four, this little man knows exactly how he feels about life. And isn’t afraid of voicing his opinion. And has determined what part of the country he wants to spend his life in.

Not a snow baby, for sure.

I still think the sparkle of ice on bare branches is magically beautiful. Now, though, I realize not everyone can ignore the other, contributory factors to the production of this ice show.

Numbing, bone-chilling, freeze-your-ass-off cold.

And then, there’s frog poop.winter-69865_640

Here’s wishing everyone within the reach of my words a blessed, peaceful, and joyous New Year.

Claire Gem writes intensely emotional romance and women’s fiction. Visit her at her Website or Amazon Author Page.

 

Advertisements

Welcome to the Merry Mistletoe Hop!

banner-mistletoe-hop-2016

Welcome to the 2016 Holiday Season, and to the

Romance Beckons Merry Mistletoe Hop!

The key question of the hour is….which is it? Have you been naughty or nice? It’s difficult for me to answer this question, because although I really try to be nice, sometimes the naughty just spills out all over the place. (I can’t help  it! Being naughty is just so much more fun!)

You will see proof of this in my June 2016 release, the first Love at Lake George Novel, A Taming Season. I’m very excited to reveal my brand-new cover for this first in the series, designed by the talented Terri DelNegro.

taming_cover_4_front

Manhattan domestic violence counselor Zoe Anderson is going on the most important vacation of her life.

Before she can move on, help other women, Zoe needs to heal herself. Her Cinderella life shattered three years ago one fateful night, leaving her a young widow, scarred inside and out. In an attempt to reclaim her life, bury her demons, and save her job, Zoe sets out for picturesque Lake George to claim the treasured family cottage she recently inherited. The place where she found happiness—before. Reboot, restore to an earlier time.

What she finds is a rundown shack.

The neighboring resort mogul, Jason Rolland, whisks in to her rescue, insisting Zoe stay at his upscale Lakeview Lodge. The wealthy, handsome, star of his own radio show, Jason’s Lair, he’s a terminal bachelor. But Jason figures he might use the gifts God gave him to convince the sexy redheaded stranger to give up the crumbling eye-sore next door. A challenge he’s definitely up for. He’s been trying to buy the cabin—and demolish it—for years: the last reminder of his own tragic, childhood memories.

Zoe can’t deny her attraction to the tall, dark-haired Jason with his pool-water blue eyes. Definitely fling material—if she can just get past those flashbacks from the night everything changed. And the knowledge that when it comes to happy-ever-after, you usually don’t get a second chance. Hardly possible with the Tiger of Jason’s Lair.

What Jason doesn’t figure on is Zoe’s charms melting his emotional armor. But with his reputation, can he ever win her heart? Can a tiger really change his stripes? Or will their pasts come back to bite them both?

~~~

A intensely emotional contemporary romance, A Taming Season features some of the hottest sex scenes I’ve written yet. Was I being naughty? Maybe just a little.

Although A Taming Season begins in the summer, its tumultuous ending takes place in winter, right around Christmas time. So even if there’s snow piled up outside your window and it’s cold enough to take your breath away, I have a way to warm you up–enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win a free ebook copy of A Taming Season. This read will definitely take your breath away–and raise your temperature a degree or two!

View the book trailer HERE, and find it on Amazon HERE.

And don’t forget to follow the Mistletoe Blog Hop to the next destination HERE.

The Magic of Holiday Traditions

banner-1043386_1280

Every family has them, and most of us can’t say how or when they got started. But one thing is for sure—we depend on the comfort, the certainty of those repetitive customs every year. Without these precious rituals, the holidays just don’t seem complete.

In my family, growing up, my mother was the Queen of Christmas. A stay-at-home mom, she devoted all her time and efforts to making our family’s holiday season special each and every year. It all began the day after Thanksgiving. That was the day we decorated the fireplace.

equipment-1851112_1280Our family home, though small and rustic, boasted a huge, fieldstone hearth covering nearly one entire wall of the living room. The day after Thanksgiving was, for us kids, the beginning—the official commencement of Christmas. We helped Mom drag out and dust off the boxes of well-worn decorations. We waited not-so-patiently as she set the phonograph needle on one of her scratchy but coveted vinyl LPs of beloved carols. Then she’d make us hot chocolate to sip in between climbing up and down off the kitchen stool. Together, we’d arrange—and rearrange—and arrange some more—the strings of colored lights, the holly, the garland, the lighted Christmas village, and the sparkly fake snow along the mantel and across the face of our huge stone chimney.

It took all afternoon, and we made sure that it did. The anticipation was the best part. Because when Mom finally plugged in the lights, and the usually dark and somber wall of stone sparkled with a fairy-tale glow, our eyes and hearts took flight with a feeling I’ve never quite forgotten. A child’s wonder—the magic of Christmas.

Soon, my daughter and grandson, who live in Florida, will be coming to visit us for the holidays. This year, though, will be special. Lil Guy is four now, and for the first time, he’s old enough to express his concern to his mother—“Mommy, we don’t have a fireplace. How will Santa get in to bring my presents?”lego-1199550_1280

In our Massachusetts home, we have not one, but two fireplaces. I’ve already decorated one—of course, the day after Thanksgiving. But the other remains unadorned, waiting patiently for Lil Guy to arrive next weekend. Then we will drag out the box of decorations. We will tune Pandora to a Christmas music station. We will make hot chocolate, and together, we will revive the ritual born when I was as wee as he.

We will decorate our second fireplace. The one, of course, where Santa will choose to make his grand entry.img_1126

 

~~~

Claire Gem writes intensely emotional stories from a heart who lives by them. Visit her at www.clairegem.com.

Another Time . . .in Place

travel-252953_1280

I suppose the first inkling I had of the concept of time travel is the blame of H.G. Wells. In the early 1960s, as a wee child, I wandered out from my bed one night, clutching my stuffed donkey under one arm, to investigate the flashing lights and murmured sounds coming from our living room.

I discovered my older brother, Paul, fixated in a trance-like state on our television. He was watching what I later learned was a movie called The Time Machine. I was fortunate enough to be the favorite little sister—as well as being the only little sister—and was permitted to sit up late into the night to watch the entirety of the film.

Fast forward fifteen years or so, and I was an impressionable young adult picking up my first-ever romance paperback—A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. That seed, the concept of time-travel, had already been planted in my brain, just waiting to germinate. With Deveraux’s unforgettable tale, the idea took root and overtook my imagination like wildfire. Several years later, Diana Gabaldon’s original Outlander debuted. But that was an easy sell. I was already convinced. Already hooked. Already a believer.

When I so fortunately stumbled across Susan B. James’ Time and Forever a few years ago, I experienced a sort of wondrous déjà vu. Yes, I thought, this is a concept I am not alone in believing.

So, we’ve established that I believe in time travel. That it is possible to move laterally in the “fourth dimension.” But I also believe, as is a shared concept of all of these novels, that location is critical. Time moves, but place does not.

Such was the premise of my brief re-visit to Florida this past week. To rewrite history. To revisit a place in a different time, to change what had happened in that moment one short month ago from heartwrenching to wondrous.

snake-1319046_640For those of you who have read my recent former blog, Wallowing with Serpent C, you already know I have commenced a dangerous dance with cancer. I got that horrendous news during what is a cherished annual tradition—lunch with my daughter at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL.

Serpent C did his best to trash that tradition. He did not succeed.

After a clean PET scan, some encouraging news from my oncologist, and a very promising prognosis, my husband sent me back to Florida (from our home in Massachusetts) for a brief, 46-hour visit. A rerun. A do-over. To overwrite the events of that horrific day, and transform it back into a good memory.

And we did. My daughter and I returned to The Muse Restaurant and asked for the same server, who remembered us. The weather was just as lovely, the food even more decadent, the wine sweeter. And this time, unspoiled by a horrendous phone call, we took our time and strolled the gorgeous grounds of the Ringling after lunch—laughing, sharing memories, and enjoying each other’s company.

With my phone shut off.

For those who doubt the possibility, I’m telling you—you can turn back time. It is possible to rewrite history, to make right those things that went wrong in a certain place, but at another time. I have lived this proof. This past week, I did it with my daughter, who is also my best friend.

Time travel, I do believe, will become a reality in the not-so-distant future. But I decided not to wait. Life is too short for that.

rerun

 

 

SILVER BELLS
by Jacquie Biggar

Genre: Holiday Romance

Mystery writer, Joel Carpenter, has no time for romance. He has a deadline to meet, and too many skeletons in his closet to trust the slightly spinny artist renting his house.
Christy Taylor has her hands full dealing with an ailing business and a diabetic daughter, she doesn’t need the temptation that is her landlord, Joel Carpenter.
Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants most?
A family of her own.

A pair of dark brown hiking boots—size enormous—came into her line of sight and her heart skipped a beat. Most people on the island were friendly and kind but she was a woman on her own and it was rapidly getting dark. How stupid.
She tightened her grip on the bag and cursing the fact she’d been so irresponsible, slowly rose to her feet, her gaze following the long, clean line of jean-clad legs, dark cotton shirt, tucked in and belted at the waist, open leather jacket, and chiseled jawline covered in a day’s worth of stubble. Glittering eyes stared at her from a deeply tanned, aloof-looking face.
“Quit following me.” The voice matched his visage, cold, harsh, and unforgiving.
So much for her fantasy hero, Christy stiffened and glared. “Kind of full of yourself, aren’t you?”
He leaned back and crossed his arms, his stance unforgiving. And to think she’d found him intriguing. Ha, more like infuriating.
“So it’s just a coincidence that every time I turn around, there you are?” He lifted a hand and she flinched. He hesitated, then rubbed the back of his neck. The rasping sound along with the backdrop of the swishing waves made her feel—restless.
“Look, I don’t do interviews, okay? Not even for cute little pixies. Tell your boss, next time I’ll call the cops.”
Incredulity overrode her curiosity. “Are you serious? I have as much right to be on this beach as you do, buddy. Trust me, you’re not half as fascinating as you seem to think you are.”
In between one breath and the next, Mr. Personality seized the bag out of her grip and delved inside.
“Hey, give that back,” she cried, trying to wrestle it out of his grasp.
“If you have nothing to hide…” He pulled the drawings free and turned his wall of a back on her.
Christy couldn’t believe this was happening. Adrenaline zipped through her body, leaving her feeling more alive than she had in a long while. And it was all due to this… this jerk ripping pages out of her workbook while she stood by helpless to do anything about it. All that work—gone.
“Please,” she begged, her throat husky. “I meant no harm. I draw for a living. That’s all they are, drawings.”
At least the shredding stopped.
He leveled his gaze on her again, as though deciding whether to throw the whole bag out to sea or not. She really hoped not. It had taken months to save up for those pencils. They were the very best and made a huge difference to the level of her workmanship.
“Please,” she said again.
He hesitated, then folded the sheets of paper he’d taken and shoved them into his jacket pocket before handing over her bag.
“Next time you might try asking,” he said dryly. His voice floated on the breeze as he clumped away in those heavy boots. “The answer would’ve been no, by the way.”
Was it too much to ask that he trip over his enormous—arrogance?

 

JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls.
She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.
Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂 You can also join her street team on Facebook: Biggar’s Book Buddies and sign up for her newsletter. Connect with Jacquie on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tami 1
MoB Promotions