Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Holiday Memories


As I write this, Christmas Day 2011 is already a memory, even though it’s still holiday time and it’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow. The frantic shopping, card-writing and present-wrapping rituals have, once again, all been done in time – just – and we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t breathe a huge sigh of relief.

One of my favourite Christmases was four years ago when our very good friends from Washington came over to stay. We took them on a whirlwind sight-seeing tour of London on Christmas Eve, stopping for lunch in an ancient pub in the heart of the City. We went up on the London Eye, walked round the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Mall, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden ... and I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired in my life :)

But I do think it’s always so much more enjoyable seeing your home town through visiting friends’ eyes, experiencing their pleasure, and seeing everything so differently. How many times have I got out of the tube at Charing Cross and walked down the Strand to work, without even seeing the lions in Trafalgar Square or Nelson standing so high up on his column above the Square? Too many to count. In our busy lives we often miss many wonderful things around us, or simply take them for granted. I’m a Londoner born and bred, but moved to the Sussex countryside with my parents at the age of ten. There’s an old saying, ‘You can take the girl out of the City, but you can’t take the City out of the girl.’ So true, because after graduating from Art College, back I went to London!

That Christmas Day four years ago is one of my happiest memories of any holiday season. Traditions differ of course, but the sentiments are the same. We have the main Christmas meal at lunchtime and our friends have theirs in the evening. We traditionally have turkey, which they, of course, have at Thanksgiving. Also our ancient cottage is tiny, but we managed to squish eight people around our old oak table for lunch where our friends had roast potatoes – English-style – for the first time. The presents were handed round after lunch amid much laughter at some of the jokey ones, and at the antics of our cat as she burrowed in all the empty wrapping paper.

So with apologies for being a day late with my blog, all that’s left is for me to wish you all health and happiness for 2012, and to wonder (fleetingly) what vampires do for Christmas ...



Monday, December 19, 2011

Chirstmas Cheer from Forever Freed

If I could make one wish for Christmas, it would be that each of you experience the kind of love and companionship and togetherness and happiness we so often read about in books. And, to show you just what I mean, please enjoy this Christmas excerpt from my bestselling and award-winning vampire romance, Forever Freed.

*~~*~~*

A merrier Christmas had never been seen at Orchard Hill in its more than two hundred years. Ollie tore through her packages like a tornado and demonstrated her riding prowess by making circles around the great room on her new bike. Griffin promised to shovel a clear path for her around the circular drive later in the day. The rest of my family demonstrated their affection for Samantha and Ollie by showering them with gifts. They were both thrilled, although Samantha was overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness. They had been drilling me for ideas for the girls for weeks.

Finally, Samantha couldn’t hold back any longer and insisted I open my presents from her. Everyone else had been exchanging gifts with their spouses, but all the activity quieted as Samantha led me to a tall object hidden beneath a loose-fitting decorated bag with a big red bow.

“First, the little one.” She handed me a red box with a white ribbon.

I looked up at her and smiled. Everyone watched me, and I think I would’ve blushed if I could’ve. Ollie danced around and tried to peer into the box when I lifted the lid.

It was an antiqued gold necklace with a tag-shaped charm. On its face were my initials: LAD. On the reverse was a hidden message:

the most magical
thing of all

I recalled those words vividly from our dinner in Milwaukee. I’d used them to describe her love for me. She was giving me her love to wear. I took a deep breath and nodded minutely in thanks when Catherine shot me a wave of reassurance and strength. I looked at Samantha and pulled her into my arms.

“I love it, Samantha. Thank you so much.”

I stepped back and pulled it out of the box, then clasped the chain around my neck. It was long enough to lie underneath my shirt.

Her smile was huge. “Okay, now the big one,” she said, pointing to the oblong bag behind me. The level of excitement in the room elevated.

“Can I help you, Lucien?” Ollie looked up expectantly.

“You take that side. I’ll get this side. We’ll lift it up slow, okay?”

She nodded and grabbed the edge of the bag. Samantha stood back and snapped a picture as Ollie and I pulled the wrapping over the top of the object. I dropped the plastic and looked at Samantha with an amazed expression. Standing before me was an antique mahogany two-sided music stand with elaborate carving. It was in excellent condition.
Samantha was so excited she could barely contain herself as she waited for my reaction.

When I didn’t say anything immediately, she explained, “One time you mentioned the name of your violin’s maker, which I now know helps you date it. This stand is French but was made at roughly the same time as your violin—”

I took two long strides across the room and grabbed her face gently with my hands and pressed my lips against hers. “It’s perfect.” I kissed her again. “No two gifts in the world could have been more perfect—more thoughtful—than the ones you gave me.”

She blushed. I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and rocked her gently back and forth. She smiled against my chest. Although I knew she had inherited money from her father, I was concerned about the expense of the gift. She was so proud of herself, though, I couldn’t express any hesitation about it whatsoever.

“Open mine now, Lucien!” Ollie held out a small box she had clearly wrapped herself.

I ripped off the paper and found a key chain with a pocket-sized digital screen. Ollie turned it on and dozens of images played on a slideshow: pictures of the three of us together, of Ollie from all different periods of her life, and images of some of Ollie’s angel drawings Samantha must’ve scanned.

“Ollie, this is the best present. Thank you so much.” I kissed the top of her head and handed the key chain to her when she stretched out her small hand. She sat with it next to Henrietta, who she’d taken to affectionately calling Henny—which Henrietta adored—and proceeded to describe the pictures to her as they changed.

I sat two presents from me on the couch next to Ollie. She eagerly ripped them open. The first was a collectible Golden Angel Barbie doll. She was beautiful with long golden hair, white wings with gold edges, and a flowing gown.

Ollie gasped and stroked at the plastic packaging over the doll. She set it aside but continued to look at it while her hands fumbled for the other package. Finally she pulled her attention away and ripped the paper until she could lift the lid. Inside sat a familiarly shaped black case.

“My own violin?” She gasped and flipped the clasps up on the lid to reveal a child’s violin.

“You’re always asking to play mine. I thought if you had your own, I could teach you, and we could play together.”

“This is so good, Lucien! Thank you! Can we play now?” She ran her hand along the length of the instrument.

“How about after everyone is done opening presents?”

She nodded and picked up the angel doll box. She didn’t seem to be able to decide to which to devote her attention. Henrietta laughed at her excited chatter.

I pulled Samantha down on the couch next to me. “Your turn.” I handed her a familiar blue box. She looked ready to protest. I kissed her and tapped the box. “Open it.”

She slid the ribbon aside and pulled the lid off, then opened the velvet box. Inside sat a solid circle of aquamarines set in white gold.

“It’s called an eternity ring, which is how long I plan to love you.”

She blushed furiously, which everyone would’ve sensed even if they weren’t looking at her. I slipped it from the velvet and placed it on her ring finger. To me, the gesture felt weighted with significance beyond the moment. She held out her left hand and admired it. “It’s stunning, Lucien. I love it.”

I brought her hand to my mouth and pressed my lips to the spot where the ring encircled her skin. “There’s one other thing.” I handed her a rectangular package.

She shook it. “It feels empty.” She laughed as she tore off the paper.

She lifted the lid and set it aside, then pulled out a manila folder. She pursed her lips and looked at me curiously. I stopped breathing in anticipation of her reaction. She opened the folder and frowned. She flipped haltingly through several of the pages. Her breath caught and she brought her hand up to her mouth. Finally she looked up at me with glassy eyes and shook her head back and forth.

I slid down to my knees in front of her and took her hand in mine. “Please say something.”

*~~*~~*

What could it be? Well, for that, you know what'll you'll need to do! *winks*

Thanks so much for reading, and have the HAPPIEST OF HOLIDAYS!
Laura Kaye


About Forever Freed:
~Bestselling Gothic Romance!
~NJRW Golden Leaf Best Paranormal of 2011!
~NJRW Golden Leaf Finalist for Best First Book of 2011!

A heart can break, even one that no longer beats.

I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation--talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.

Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Writer’s Holiday Gift List


Happy Holidays!! Ah, yes! The holidays are finally here! As the gift-giving season arrives in full swing there are some things a writer might be looking to add to her holiday wishlist. Here’s a few ideas: 

1.     Laptop – For a writer needing to write in different locations a portable computer is extremely useful. Does the writer have a day job? She can take the laptop with her to work and write during lunch breaks. Or perhaps she has children? With her DH home to watch the little darlings, she can take her laptop to a lovely cafĂ© for some interruption-free writing time. Or at the very least hide in the bedroom closet where hopefully she won’t be disturbed. (I speak from experience here!)

2.      E-Reader – As more and more books are being published digitally, it’s a good idea to purchase an electronic reader so the writer on your list can read those marvelous e-books that are being published on a daily basis. Hint: the KindleFire is on my wishlist (hopefully Santa will be reading this!)

3. Digital Voice Recorder – A story idea can strike a writer at any moment! Let her be prepared to record that wonderful gem of an idea before it’s lost. Hmm…I wonder if they have water-proof voice recorders for those inspirational moments while I’m singing in the shower?? Something to look into…

4.      Books on Writing – A writer who wishes to learn more about her craft does in-depth research on writing. Some books to choose could be The Writer’s Market, OnWriting by Stephen King, How I Write by Janet Evanovich, The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore (one of my favorites!).

5.      Magazine Subscriptions – Writer’s tend to read many magazines on writing or the subject of their writing. Some subscription lists could include Writer’s DigestMagazine, RT Book Reviews, The Writer Magazine, and Poets and Writers.  

6.      Office Supplies – There are several items on a writer’s list for her office. Notebooks, Folders, pens, pencils, markers, file cabinets, desks, office chairs, bookshelves, etc.

7.      Writer’s Conferences – A valuable source of knowledge, inspiration, networking, and shear camaraderie comes from attending writer’s conferences. Every writer should have the opportunity to attend at least one for the education it provides.

8.      CafĂ©Press items– This site has much to offer a writer who wants some items to make her simply smile. T-shirts, tote bags, mugs, magnets, posters, and other gifts with fun sayings for a writer.

9.      Music – Some writer’s use music for inspiration or soundtracks for the books they’re writing. Each writer has different tastes concerning their writing music, but those who know them well might be able to choose something unique and special for their writer friend to listen to as she crafts her next bestselling novel.

10.  Reviews – One of the best gifts a published writer might like to receive is a review of her book. Just remember to be kind. A good review is always welcome! :)

         I hope this list helps anyone looking for some last minute gift ideas for their writer friends. Writers, did I miss anything? If you are a writer please share! What's on your holiday wish list this year?
      
      About the author: Tricia Schneider is an author of paranormal and gothic romance. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked in a bookstore as Assistant Manager and bookseller. Now she writes full-time while raising her 3 children. She lives in the coal country of Pennsylvania with her WWII re-enactor husband. For more information about her books visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Holidays

When next we meet, 2011 will have been rung out and 2012 rung in. Between now and then, I wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

This year has been an exciting one for me with many new releases, though none in the Mates of the Guardian series, but look for Book 3: His Capture, Her Rescue in the new year!

Until next year, be safe, stay warm and enjoy the merriment!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! I celebrate Christmas, but whichever holiday you celebrate this month, I hope that you have a wonderful one! This is my favorite time of year. I really like driving around the neighborhood to look at lights. It brings back memories from childhood.

One of my favorite memories is of driving around looking at lights. About 10 miles or so from where I lived growing up, was a neighborhood that the homeowners association made every house decorate for Christmas. Flocks of families crammed into cars to drive up and down the streets, slowly of course seeing how most of the town was also driving up and down the streets. Some enterprising neighbors would sell hot cocoa and apple cider and some would take paying customers on boat rides (the neighborhood was built on a canal system). It was a lot of fun and good memories.

What are some of your favorite holiday memories?