Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I'm lucky I'm scheduled to post on holidays -- so easy!

Hope you're having a great holiday or vacation or Christmas or whatever you celebrate. See you in 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Spider -- Dawn Marie Hamilton

Here is a little Christmas story I hope will make you smile…

When I was young, my mother gave me an ornament each Christmas for my hope chest. Remember those? When I moved out of the family home and into an apartment, she made this ornament for my first Christmas tree. Along with the delicate spider ornament came a story:

Once upon a time, far to the north, snowflakes drifted past frosted windows. Inside, a good mother busily cleaned the house, for 'twas Christmas eve. On the morrow, Christmas day, the most wonderful day of the year, the little Christ child would come to bless the house. When she finished, not a speck of dust remained. Even the spiders had fled their cozy corner on the ceiling to hide in the attic.

Beautiful ornaments adorned the Christmas tree. The children gathered round, clasped hands and sang blessed songs. While the family enjoyed the evening festivities, the spiders became frantic, for they couldn't see the tree, nor be present for the Christ child's visit. The oldest and wisest among them suggested they wait until the family slept then sneak below stairs.

At midnight, the house darkened and fell silent. The spiders crept from their hiding place, crept down the stairs, crept to the tree. Delighted with its beauty, they scurried all over the tree, up and down, over and under braches, viewing all the precious decorations.

The spiders loved the Christmas tree. For the remainder of the night, they danced amongst the branches, leaving the needles covered with webs. When the Christ child arrived in the morning to bless the house, he was amazed yet disturbed. He loved the little spiders, for they were God's creatures, but the mother worked hard to make everything perfect and would be disheartened when she saw what the spiders had done.

With love in his heart and a smile on his lips, the Christ child touched the spider webs. The webs sparkled and shined, turning a shimmering silver, like tinsel.

Thus a legend was born: A spider among the Christmas tree decorations brings good fortune.


Do you have a favorite Christmas ornament? A favorite Christmas tale?


Here is another Christmas tale dear to my heart...

Available at Amazon for Kindle
and in trade paperback.
 FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
Can a determined brownie craft a perfect match in time for Christmas?

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas--a Scottish historical time travel romance with Highlanders, scheming faeries, a mischievous brownie, magic, adventure, and romance set in 16th century Scotland and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

When the Chief of Clan MacLachlan travels to the stronghold of his feuding neighbors to fetch his betrothed, she is gone. A year later, she is still missing. Making life more vexing, a band of reivers are stealing clan cattle, leaving behind destruction. Archibald MacLachlan determines to capture them and administer harsh punishment.

Though once in love with the man, Isobell Lamont refuses to wed her clan's enemy. After running away, she joins the band of reivers set on revenge.

Can Archibald forgive the raven-haired beauty? Will a journey through time bring them together for a Highland Christmas?


Merry Christmas!

~Dawn Marie

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Love Christmas

I love Christmas. I mean I know other people love the holiday too, but I REALLY love Christmas time. I always have, from the time I was a little girl, right up to the present. I love the lights, the music, the smells, the food, and the excitement. I love presents, making them, shopping for them, giving them and getting them.

I even enjoy wrapping presents if I have enough paper, tape, and something fun to watch on TV when I’m doing it.

This love I have for this holiday transfers into the stories I write. In fact, of the thirty plus titles I’ve written, five take place during the holidays. Two are contemporary romances, two more are paranormal, and I even have a Christmas on Mars story called "Reflecting The Future" with Ellora's Cave. But I'm going to focus on three of the stories that I have available this season.

includes "Just A Little Christmas"
The first is “Just A Little Christmas”, a short story I put into two anthologies, The Lizard’s Tail and Candy Cane Kisses and EnchantedEmbraces, the cover of which I'm showing here. This is the story of a job-less woman on a budget fixing up her neighbor’s discarded artificial tree so her children can have a nice holiday this year. The result is a new job and a blooming romance with the guy across the street.

Ghosts Of Christmas Past is a paranormal story, part of my Hollywood After Dark series with vampires and werewolves and humans with psychic abilities. In this case, the psychic doesn’t know she has mental powers until the vampire hero literally snatches her from mid-air after she falls off a roof. Both characters have "ghosts", bad memories that spoil the holiday for them, but together they work out a way to banish those ghosts forever. The story is sexier than some of my other work, but it has a nice message to it and is one of my favorites.

The second contemporary story is Christmas With Sarah. This is a full novel I wrote a few years ago set mostly in the Silicon Valley. At the start the Molly is an artist living Big Sur and working as a waitress to make ends meet since her art isn’t selling. She doesn't want anything to do with worthless men with no purpose in their lives, but there is this motorcycle rider, Greg, with a little girl in his sidecar, and while Molly isn't sure she wants to get close to the Greg, she’s fallen in love with Sarah, his daughter. Molly gets persuaded to come back to Greg’s home to take care of his daughter and ends up creating a wonderful holiday for all three of them.

All of my stories have a little humor and a lot of warmth. As my gift to you, all three of the stories will be at the bargain price of 99 cents during the holidays, even the full novel. 

So happy holidays everyone!

Cheers, Janet Miller/Cricket Starr

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Serendipity, A Friend to My Suspense Novels by Rolynn Anderson

Why do fiction authors strain to be authentic?  Seems paradoxical, doesn’t it…but true.  Made up stories laced with accuracy?  You bet.  My brother writes non-fiction books, built brick by brick with carefully researched facts, but I’ll bet I do as much research to authenticate my fiction novels as he does.  We both yearn to have our readers believe that what we say is the truth.

Archives are our bread and butter, but serendipity makes our research exciting, especially to this writer, who composes from the seat of her pants.  Heck, I never know what I’m going to write until I sit down at my computer!

Here’s an example.  I’m surprised to be writing about people caught in a forest fire, an experience I’ve gladly never suffered.  I learn from Google sources that caught in a forest fire, my characters must stay low and head downhill to water.  The thing is, I’d sent my characters to a specific local area that may or may not be a place where a forest fire might happen.   Have I written myself into a corner?  Will I have to change the setting of the whole book, requiring hours of rewriting?

So I check the local fire department records for past fires.  Two years ago, a brushfire swept the exact area I’d chosen for my nail-biting scene to take place-two years ago.  The conflagration burnt more than a thousand acres, with hundreds of firefighters, fire trucks, a helicopter and a fixed wing plane helping to put it out.  Camping grounds had to be evacuated and roads closed as the forest service controlled the fire.

Can you believe my luck? I’d already inserted a helicopter in my scene, but newspaper articles about the event gave me names of roads (I didn’t have to make up), numbers of acres burned, and other details I could use verbatim!

How I love being an author when serendipity sits with me in my desk chair.  Have you got a lucky story to tell about when your made-up facts and reality aligned in such a magical way?

Speaking of magic, my third book in the boutique funeral planner series, will come out early in 2015.  Catch up on the suspense by reading FADEOUT, the first book in the series:

More on my website:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Time to start thinking about those New Year's resolutions

Mine are going to be pretty much the same as they've always been: keep up the exercise, watch what I eat, write as much as I can, and enjoy myself daily.

Hmm. A self-improvement resolution? Let's see. Okay, I'm going to tackle something I don't enjoy and learn to enjoy it. Promotion, the P word. I'm going to tackle that in 2015 and see where it takes me. With 25 books out, you'd think I'd have some good ideas about that, but no, I really don't.

So there you have it. 2015 resolutions. I'll update you in mid-year and see where we're at. Or not, as the case may be!