12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Days 8 & 9

On the 8th Day of Christmas My Favorite Author Gave to Me . . .

Winter's MagicDay 8 & 9 Giveaways:

1 e-book copy of A Soulmate For Christmas by Cynthia Racette, Angela Scavone, Aliza Mann, J.J. Devine, Char Chaffin

1 e-book copy of Hunted by Elle Hill

1 e-book copy of Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

1 $5 Soul Mate Publishing Gift Certificate

Today we’re going to share Christmas Traditions.

Christmas is the only time of the year that I remember my family having traditions. It started on Christmas Eve, with my dad going to Minsky’s and picking up our favorite meat lover’s pizza. By the time he got home, Mom would have bread dough rising in front of the wood-burning fireplace. We’d all pile up on the couch and loveseat and eat pizza while watching Miracle on 34th Street. (The 1947 version with Natalie Wood).

On Christmas morning, we’d wake at the crack of dawn and check out what Santa had left for us.

While my sister and I investigated the tree and our stockings, Mom would use the home-made dough to make the most amazing cinnamon rolls. Melt in your mouth—to die for—butter and brown sugar—lick your fingers, kind of amazing! Christmas was the only time of the year she made them, so we savored every single bite.

Then we opened our wrapped presents. The ones officially from Mom and Dad. My mom was creative—she knew we would peek or shake, so she never used nametags. She would wrap all of my presents in the same paper, each of my sister’s in a different paper, and so on. So, even though she’d have her shopping and wrapping done well in advance, nobody, including my dad, knew who each set of wrapped surprises belonged to. Once we cleaned up the paper and bows and boxes, we’d put everything away, get cleaned up, and go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the day.

Here is my mom’s Cinnamon Roll recipe:

1 pkg yeast

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp salt

Mix and set aside

Combine 1/4 cup shortening and 1 cup milk in pan on top of stove. Heat until the shortening is melted. Be careful not to let it boil or froth. Then add 1/4 cup water to slightly cool mixture. Target temperature should be between 120 and 130 degrees.

Pour the shortening mixture into the yeast mixture and use a mixer on low speed.

Add 1 slightly beaten egg

Add 2 1/2 cups flour, slowly

On a large cutting board, spread a thin layer of flour and knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Spray the inside of a clean mixing bowl and lay dough in bottom. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours.

Lay dough back on the floured cutting board and roll out in a rectangle. Brush melted butter across the entire surface of dough, then sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. Add nuts and raisins if desired.

Starting with the long side of dough, turn over the edge and roll all the way up. Spray the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan. Add melted butter, brown sugar and more nuts and raisins to the bottom of the pan. No specific measurement—add to your taste. Cut the rolled dough into 1 1/2 inch sections with serrated knife. Place in bottom of baking pan, with generous space between each, for additional rising.

Cover and set in refrigerator overnight.

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour before baking to bring dough back to room temperature. Bake at 375° for 20+ minutes. Tops should be golden brown. Remove from oven and flip onto baking sheet immediately.

FIVE Ways To Enter:

1. Leave a comment and tell us what your favorite holiday tradition is.

2.  Facebook and Tweet to your friends about this posting.

3.  Bring a friend to the party. Anyone leaving a comment that tells me you sent them, they’ll get an entry and you’ll get a bonus entry.

4.  BUY a copy of Winter’s Magic today and you’ll receive 5 Bonus Entries.

5.  GIFT a copy of Winter’s Magic to a friend or coworker. At $4.99 it’s the perfect size every time and you’ll receive 5 Bonus Entries.

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop Winners:

Suzanne Bischoff won an e-book copy of Wren’s Fantasy by Tracy Hewitt Meyer

Sherry Funding won an e-book copy of Miss Merry’s Christmas by Callie Hutton

Natasha won an e-book copy of The Cheyenne Bride by J.J. Devine

Tonda & Michelle McCarthy each won a $5 Soul Mate Publishing gift certificate

Have Fun – Spread the Word

Come Back Tomorrow – See Who Won – Enter Again

Bonus:  Did you know that Soul Mate Publishing offers ebooks formatted for Kindle, Nook or pdf readers like Sony? And if you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll get a BOGO coupon every month. Buy your copy of Winter’s Magic today, and get another book FREE.

December BOGO

*e-book prizes eligible worldwide. Paperbacks, swag packs and grand prizes eligible only in the US and Canada. By entering, winners grant permission for the use of your name on my website, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter and any other print or electronic media, regardless of format.

The Next Big Thing

First, I would like to thank Christina Tetreault for tagging me to do a post on The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Christina is a contemporary romance writer. Her first two books, The Teacher’s Billionaire and The Billionaire Playboy have been soaring high on Amazon since their release earlier this year. Visit her website, to read about her Sherbrookes of Newport series. I can’t wait to pick up a copy of book #3, coming Spring 2013!  Cheers to her continued success!

Now, I want to share some information about my next release in the Music City Hearts series.

What is the title of your next book?

Book #2 in the Music City Hearts series is called Spring’s Surprise.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is Sara’s story. It was originally the first book in the series – the first book I ever wrote. Her story came to me one morning as I lay in bed, hitting the snooze button, wishing I could sleep just another five minutes. The story stuck with me day after day until I decided to write it down.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I like a strong heroine who refuses to let the world get her down, so for Sara I would pick Julia Roberts.  For Jack, I like Bradley Cooper – funny and sexy.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After a weekend fling with the handsome Jack Tanner, Sara Michaels tries to move on with her life and forget how he awakens a passion long-dormant – but Jack has other plans, forcing Sara to choose between hiding behind her past and taking a chance on finding the love of her life.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Spring’s Surprise will be released through Soul Mate Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took about six months for the first draft. I then had it professionally edited, spent another six months re-writing, fine tuning, and sending it through my critique partners, before finally submitting to my editor.

What else about your book might pique the reader interest?

Spring’s Surprise deals with the heartbreaking reality of marital infidelity. Sara’s marriage of ten years dissolves after her husband leaves her for another woman. She’s thirty and emotionally distraught, but fights back with a strength she never realized she had. It’s a story about courage and fortitude and taking risks in order to find true love.

Look for Spring’s Surprise in March/April 2013. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Winter’s Magic, it’s a fun, fast, holiday read that will put you in the Christmas spirit. Available now through:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Soul Mate Publishing.

Next in line for the Next Big Thing Blog Hop is JJ Devine. Visit her website for information about her current release, The Cheyenne Bride, and other up-and-coming great stories.