SMJ’s Christmas Countdown Day 7

Decorating the Christmas tree. Yippee!

Sorry, everyone but I have to interrupt the tree decorating post for a special announcement.

I met SANTA CLAUSE!

Sock and Santa at Christmas Party

Remember I told you about Henderson Management donating a bunch of goodies for our Christmas packages? Well, they also host a Christmas party for children of their tenants every year and I attended. My mom works for them. Anyway, she asked if I could get my picture taken with Santa and they said yes! I was SOOOO happy.

Okay, SMJ and Christmas Lightsback to decorating the Christmas tree.

Like everyone else, I started with the lights. Obviously, that didn’t go so well. I was trying to untangle them when someone plugged them in. It startled me and I ended up in the middle of the tangled string of lights. It took quite a while for mom to get me untangled. By the time they freed me and we got the lights on the tree, I needed a break. So, mom fixed me some hot cocoa.Sock with Hot Cocoa in Sandra's favorite mug.

Mom’s the best. She even gave me extra marshmallows! Can you read the mug? We borrowed it from Sandra. It’s her favorite mug. My mom gave it to her as a gift one year because Sandra always says her characters talk to her until she writes their stories down. I like to use it once in a while in the hopes that characters will start talking to me and I can become a writer like Sandra.

Okay, if you haIMG_20151116_093513ve been following the countdown, you know I really decorated my tree earlier. You remember the picture with me hanging the shoes from the Mastering the Brides book on the tree? No? Here’s a picture of me with the shoes and other ornaments I wanted to put on the tree. It took some time to talk mom into puttiIMG_20151116_094218ng shoes on the tree, but I pleaded my case (and maybe whined just a little) and she gave in.

Of course, she wasn’t thrilled when I climbed up the tree to hang them. She told me I was supposed to use a step stool or some such thing. Personally, I thought climbing was fine, but then, I AM a monkey. 🙂

Next post I’ll show you some of the Christmas treats I made.

So, do you have characters talking inside your head? Or, have you silenced them by writing their stories? Any Christmas stories?

Until next time, this is SMJ signing off.

Reconstructing Roman is Released!

Have you been waiting to get your hands on Roman?

Well, he’s available now.

Want a peek?

ReconstRoman5_600x900Peace is a gift you sometimes have to walk

through fire to receive.

Roman Smirnosky wants nothing more than to work and be left alone. After years of being on his own and building a business, he thinks he’s finally found peace. All that changes with a single phone call informing him his brother is in the hospital and his parents are dead, murdered. Returning to the town he left behind sixteen years ago, he soon realizes, helping his brother is the easy part of returning. Someone has moved into the old Beecher place. A female someone. He figures if nothing else, offering to help with repairs on the Beecher house while he attends to his brother’s farm during his recovery will provide a welcome distraction from the nightmarish memories that haunt him since his return home. He quickly realizes he couldn’t be more wrong when accidents and threatening phone calls start to plague the young woman. He’s definitely no hero, but walking away from a fight isn’t his way either. It doesn’t hurt that her determination and strength tempt him to distraction and his quiet, solitary life is about to be thrown into chaos.

Kaia Beecher’s inheritance is a mixed blessing. It means the parents she adored are gone and she’s heartbroken. However, it also gives her the opportunity to change the direction of her life. After breaking off her engagement and losing a job her heart wasn’t really into, she decides to return to the one place she can where she has happy memories, her grandparents’ farm in Colorado. The farm couldn’t be more different from the high-pressure life of her criminal defense career in New York. Packing the few things she wants to keep and her dog Copernicus, she heads west in search of peace.

What she finds instead is fear, distrust, and threats. Even the handsome man offering to help her repair the farmhouse tells her she should leave. If people hate her family so much, why didn’t her father sell the farm? Why is everyone determined to run her off her property?  She’s determined to find out why someone wants her gone and she won’t leave until she has the answers. She’s also determined to break down the walls Roman has built around his heart and help him stop living in the past. She only hopes that her inquisitive nature along with pure stubbornness will help her find the answers. How can she give love a chance when the caller threatens Roman’s life if she doesn’t do what he wants?

GOODREADS REVIEW LINK: http://bit.ly/1QNEtHN

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 Continue reading for a chance to win one of 2 Amazon gift cards.

Want a little more of a peek into Roman’s head? Read on.

The Beecher place looked the same when he’d driven by on his way to the Bury Patch this morning as it had every other time since he’d returned to Beechbrook. Deserted. Abandoned. Lonely.

Now, standing in the cemetery with his brother under an umbrella, Roman half listened to the preacher, and looked toward the old farmhouse with a different perspective. The perspective of–

“We can take comfort in the fact that Sarah Smirnosky is at peace now.”

Roman’s eyebrow rose. Peace? He tried to imagine his mother being at peace with having her throat slit. Or with the fear that whoever killed her would soon kill her beloved bastard of a husband. The thought pulled his gaze to the far side of the cemetery. That’s where he’d buried their father earlier before picking Adam up for their mother’s funeral. He’d known Adam didn’t want anything to do with their father’s burial. He’d gone as far as saying he didn’t care if they threw Silas in a dumpster. While Roman agreed with the idea, he knew the authorities would never allow it so he’d arranged to take care of the burial himself.

Just thinking about the bastard sent his blood pressure skyrocketing. Roman admitted to himself that there were people he didn’t care for. Some that he disliked, detested, and even some he abhorred. There was only one for whom he reserved the strongest emotion he new, hate. That would be for the man who had taught him how to hate, Silas Smirnosky, his father. When the umbrella started to shake with his building anger, Roman forced his attention back to the grave he stood beside now.

His mother’s.

Staring at the small coffin, he tried to summon the grief he should feel. Pity was as close as he could come. His gaze strayed to the two older graves beyond hers. The Beecher’s, now there were two people he had grieved over. That pulled his gaze back across the plains to their property again.

When they’d driven to the cemetery for this funeral, he’d seen Kaia Beecher’s SUV and a trailer in the driveway. There’d also been a dull light in the window. The house looked much happier with the light on. He remembered the house always filled with love and laughter, like its owners had been. The Beecher’s were good people. They didn’t deserve . . .

He forced himself not to curse out loud. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t put it together. The Beecher’s had been killed exactly the same way as his parents. The murders may be almost twenty years apart, but otherwise the circumstances were the same.

Movement to his left pulled his attention to his brother. Adam stood with his head bowed. Roman’s realization about the similarities between the murders told him what Adam had seen when he found their mother’s body. The exact same thing I saw at the Beecher’s house.

Wrapping his arm around his brother’s shoulders, he hugged him. What else could he do? He might not feel grief himself, but he loved his brother, and Adam was grieving. Adam was the only reason he was here. His brother was hurting. The emotions caused by that were too many and too strong for Roman to name.

“And so we dedicate Sarah Smirnosky to you, Lord. Amen,” the preacher said and closed his bible.

“She’s not going to like it. It’ll be cold and damp,” Adam whispered to Roman as the coffin was lowered into the hole.

Roman hugged him tighter.

“I put in that old afghan she liked before they closed the casket. She’ll be okay.” Okay? She was dead. An afghan wouldn’t change that, but the nod and whispered thanks he got from Adam made Roman glad he’d followed through on the silly notion.

They both stepped forward and tossed daisies into the grave. Mom loved daisies. The memory caught him off guard. He hadn’t thought about what his mother liked in years. As a rule, he avoided thinking about his parents at all. Doing so only brought him pain. Putting a stop to the self-pity, he watched the preacher step up to them. Once the preacher shook their hands and mumbled the appropriate words of sympathy, he rushed from the cemetery. Roman wondered why he’d pontificated so long if he didn’t want to be here. Then again, who did want to be in a cemetery?

The rhetorical question pulled him back to the past. Some of the best times of his childhood had been here in the Bury Patch with his mother. They would come here and sit under the old tree and she would tell him stories about the people buried here. Having lived in Beechbrook all her life, she knew all the families and their histories. He’d loved listening to her tell him about all the hard-working people buried here. Yeah, he enjoyed her stories. They were a welcome respite from the pain of reality. His gaze again found his father’s grave.

Pain, that was his father’s area of expertise. Shaking off the memories, he returned his focus to the present.

The men he’d paid to take care of the burial started shoveling dirt on top of the casket. Adam raised his hand as if to tell them to stop, but Roman turned him away. He guided his brother down the path toward where he’d parked and helped him climb into the truck. Shutting the door, he walked around to the driver’s side, and closed the umbrella before climbing in the cab. Soaked after just a moment in the rain, he slicked his hair back then glanced at Adam.

His brother stared out the window toward the cemetery, his body shivering. Even though he knew that the chill in Adam’s body had nothing to do with the temperature, Roman flipped the heater to full. Heat poured out of the vents. Heat wouldn’t touch the cold in his brother’s bones caused by the fear and undeserved guilt. No, that chill would only end when Roman proved to him that his presence at the house wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

Okay, it would have changed it, but only for the worse. If Adam had been at the house that night, he would have died too. Roman shivered with the thought.

Driving toward his family’s farm, he drove past the Beecher’s again. He couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to stay at that house knowing what had transpired there, but he was glad. It was as if the house itself knew that changes were coming. He thought the house looked happy. Dragging his hand over his jaw, he shook his head at the odd thought. It was a building not a living being. Then again, since he restored historical houses for a living, he knew how alive they could feel.

He started to say something about the Beecher farm to Adam, but glancing at him stopped the words before they formed. Houses filled with love were not going to mean anything to his brother right now. Neither one of them knew much about such things anyway.

“I think Miss Hattie brought over some of her potato soup this morning. That’ll warm you up,” he said, reaching over and squeezing Adam’s shoulder.

Adam didn’t respond. He continued to stare at the rain outside the passenger window. Roman knew that just as the warmth from the heater hadn’t helped thaw Adam, it was going to take more than soup. Death not only chilled the person buried in the coffin, but those left behind as well. It wound through those left behind like a bone-chilling cancer. For Adam it was worse than most.

Not only had he found their mother’s body, he’d fought with their father the night before. It was the first and last physical altercation between the two men.

Silas Smirnosky preferred psychological abuse for his wife and youngest son. He had always reserved his fists for Roman, the cause of all his problems. The mistake. The unwanted child. Roman only remembered meeting his grandfather on his mother’s side a few times. It had been obvious Silas was afraid of him. So afraid he never hit her. Mom was afraid of both of them and did what she was told. She never questioned anything either one of them said or did and her reward, on occasion, was Silas treating her well for a spell. It was during one of those times she’d conceived Adam. Silas had walked around as if he couldn’t be happier. That was when Roman had understood that Adam was planned, he wasn’t.

It had hurt at first, but then Roman realized it wasn’t Adam’s fault. Then, when his brother was born, he was too damned cute. There was no way Roman could blame him for their father’s twisted mind. As Adam grew, it was obvious Silas treated them differently. It wasn’t that he treated Adam better, though he never hit him, but he was raising him to be obedient. Except that he couldn’t break the bond between the brothers, he’d been successful. That was why Roman had felt it was safe to leave. Silas had never raised a hand to their mother or Adam.

Until the night before they died.

For some reason, that night he had hit their mother. When Adam found out, he had gone straight to the bar, called their father out, and made the biggest mistake of his life. He hit Silas.

Roman’s molars ground against each other hard, sending pain through his jaw.

From the accounts the sheriff and Miss Hattie had given him, Silas had made up for all the years of not hitting Adam. Like Roman before him, Adam managed to make his way to Miss Hattie’s house rather than go to the hospital. The old woman was well versed in tending battered bodies, though this time she took Adam to the clinic. Adam had spent the night there. Now he believed that if he had been home instead, he could have stopped the murders. Roman told him it wouldn’t have mattered. The only difference would be there would be three new graves instead of two.

He scrubbed a hand over his face again. Hell, he didn’t even want to think about that. His brother was the only family that had ever believed in him. Besides, if anyone were to blame it would be him. If he had killed the bastard sixteen years ago, whatever their father had gotten himself tangled up in now wouldn’t have happened. Adam and mom would be fine, and all would be well.

But it wasn’t.

Hiding the anger that failure brought had sweat breaking out on Roman’s forehead. He glanced over at Adam, glad to find him still staring out the window. Upsetting him more wouldn’t help anything. What he needed to concentrate on was taking care of the farm, the financial mess their father left behind, and finding out who killed them. He sure as hell wasn’t leaving it up to the sheriff. The law had never done anything for a Smirnosky. Roman didn’t expect that to change any time soon.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website:  https://sandrakerns.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SandraSKernsRomanceAuthor

Blog:  https://sandrakerns.com/ramblings-reviews/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sandraskerns

Linkedin:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sandra-kerns/54/2a1/827/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/sandrakerns96/

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1TFaTmz

Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Kernsy

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6479342.Sandra_S_Kerns

Rafflecopter Link for Amazon gift cards:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba3ffd55408

 

Review of Sea Breeze by Jennifer Senhaji

Sea Breeze Review by Sandra S. Kerns

First, let me introduce you to author Jennifer Senhaji in her own words.Jennifer's Author Photo

I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and have a husband and two children. Music is an addiction. I can often be found in the car, singing along at the top of my lungs to whatever is playing. I work full time, and I split my spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. I’m a habitual quoter. Lines from films and TV shows constantly pop into my head—my kids are the only ones that really get it. I’m an only child, and so of course I married a man who is one of ten children. Other than English, I speak Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. I love to travel, but don’t do enough of it. Reading has been a passion for most of my life and I now love writing. I’m a klutz, and in my own mind, I’m hilarious.

 

Sea Breeze

Want a fast, fun, exciting read? Check out Jennifer Senhaji’s Sea Breeze available now on Amazon just click the book cover to buy it.

I read this book through in one sitting because I was enjoying myself so much. To me this is a story of metamorphosis. Jordan has lived her entire life responsibly because there was no other choice she could see. When an unexpected chance to spread her wings drops in her lap after an emotional life event, she grabs hold and never looks back. Well, maybe once or twice, but she never turns back. She has decided to try new things and a cruise ship is just the place for that. (Have you seen the activities on the ships nowadays?) Anyway, the one thing she isn’t looking for is one of the first she finds, a HOT man. Not only hot, but fun and sweet without being syrupy. Their journey through the Caribbean was so much fun because the author made you feel like you were right there. You could feel the humidity and the ocean breezes. There is romance, a cruise, you visit Puerto Rico, and watch the characters’ voyage through self-discovery. A great read from every perspective.

That’s my take, actually there’s so much more but I don’t want to spoil the fun for you. I do have permission to give you a little excerpt to whet your appetite, but before that here’s a little more insight into the story. Be sure to read all the way through the post. At the end there’s a special prize!

ABOUT SEA BREEZE:

Jordan has never been in love, or been anywhere. Trapped in Vegas, she schleps drinks and dodges losers, while suffering under a burden only she can shoulder. Her life is an endless stretch of blah with no escape.

Until now.

Instead of looking back, she’s sailing forward.

Eric has left his family and friends in San Francisco to travel the world, tending bar on a cruise ship to fund his adventures. He can charm any coed who comes aboard, but Jordan sees right through him.

On the blue cobblestone streets of San Juan, everything changes. Food. Music. Exotic locations. Possibilities. Setting out to discover the world, will Jordan discover herself?

Sometimes, adventure can set you free…

An Excerpt from Sea Breeze

The ship is still in port, so the wind is minimal as I scoot out of my shorts and step into the pool. The water is warm and I dive to the bottom. Back at the surface, I float on my back and gaze up at the blue sky and white puffy clouds above me. My arms fan out around me and I sigh, content. No worries, no responsibilities. No rushing home. My time is finally mine now. Guilt tightens my chest and a tear forms in the corner of my eye. I dive back under the water to wash it away. I couldn’t stop it, no matter how hard I tried. Nothing I did was ever enough.

I swim around for a while, trying to clear my head, and stretching my leg muscles. After all the walking today, I’m bound to be sore tomorrow. After about thirty minutes, I step out of the pool and sink into the hot tub. I rest my head on the ledge and my eyes close on their own.

A while later, an older couple joins me in the steamy water. I smile at them in turn and lean back, taking in the evening sky. Hints of a beautiful sunset are on the horizon. I’ve been soaking for a while now, and my fingertips are all pruned. I smile again at the couple as they exchange a quick kiss, and take my leave. Drying off, I slip back into my shorts. I can’t help flashing back to the moment I shared with Eric. I really wanted him to kiss me, but it’s probably for the best that he didn’t.

Back in my room, I find Kim lounging on her bed, flipping through a magazine.

“Hey, where have you been all day?”

I take a seat on my bed opposite hers. “I went ashore and spent the day in San Juan. It was amazing. What did you do? Did you go ashore?”

“No. I nursed a horrible hangover until about two in the afternoon. By then, it was too late to consider going. I ended up meeting a couple of my friends for Bloody Marys by the pool, and then we went to dinner.”

“Did you have fun last night?”

“We had a blast. You have to come out tonight, Jordan.”

“What’s on the agenda tonight?”

“We’re all going to meet up at Allure around ten. It’s the nightclub here on the ship. Are you in?”

Allure… That’s where Eric works tonight. He said he’d buy me a drink.  “Yeah. I’m in.”

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Sea BreezeIf you would like to connect more with Jennifer here are links to her social media and a chance to win a cool prize.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website: www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jsenhaji13

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jsenhaji13

Blog: http://jennifersenhaji.blogspot.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jennifersenhaji

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Jsenhaji

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/jennifersenhaji

GIVEAWAY:

Win an eBook copy of Sea Breeze and a $5 Amazon gift card from PageCurl Publishing and Promotion. Leave a blog comment with your idea of a dream vacation to be entered to win. Winner will be announced on PageCurl’s Facebook page a week from today!

 

New Release & Series by Cynthia Woolf

I am thrilled to post about my friend Cynthia’s new release, Redeemed by a Rebel the first book in her new series, Destiny in Deadwood. Cynthia is an Amazon Bestselling Western Author among other genres. Please take a moment to check out her note below.Redeemed by a Rebel 300 dpi

I’m so pleased to announce the release of my new book, Redeemed by a Rebel. This is the first book in the Destiny in Deadwood series. Although I was inspired to write the book because I fell in love with the TV series Deadwood, that’s where the similarities end. I don’t have any of the language like they did in the miniseries or anywhere near the amount of sex, although there is some.  🙂 

Jake Anderson killed a man defending his fiancée from a brutal attack, but lost her and his freedom in the process.  Now he’s on the run, hunted by one of her murderers and tormented by the need for vengeance.

Becky Finnegan will do anything to escape her drunken father’s fists, including slave away at their mine.  Her only hope is to strike gold and make a new life for herself somewhere far, far away from Deadwood.  But then Jake arrives and does the unthinkable…forces her to feel, to hope…and to love.
Jake would give his life to protect Becky, but all he can offer her is a broken heart, a criminal’s life, and a past haunted by failure.  How can he save her when he’s already lost himself?  Will he destroy everything, or can the beautiful rebel redeem Jake’s lost soul?
 

Here is a link to Cynthia’s website for a quick excerpt:  Redeemed by a Rebel

Here are the buy links if you’re ready to take the plunge:

Amazon – http://amzn.com/B00I1GZAU0

Barnes & Noble – http://tinyurl.com/klf5546

Google Play –https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cynthia_Woolf_Redeemed_by_a_Rebel?id=OXGpAgAAQBAJ&hl=en

All Romance eBooks – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-redeemedbyarebel-1404938-158.html

The Butterfly has been released!

BC 1600x2400K+SM

 The Butterfly Connection was released today, 11/12/13!

Woohoo! Is that a lucky release date or what?

You can click the icons below if you want to order it now. Tomorrow afternoon, I want to give you time to read some of it, I will start posting clues to the code on the butterfly’s wings. Before we get too carried away with the contest, tell me what today’s consecutive date did for you.

Was it lucky or unlucky? Good or bad? Inspiring or scary? Come on, inquiring minds want to know. Besides, I’m sure someone somewhere is getting paid to do a study on this. Let’s give them some data.

 

 

   Smashwords  CreateSpace - An Amazon Company    Callaghan's Conundrum - Sandra S. Kerns

Sandra S. Kerns’ Blog – New Release!

Well, it’s finally here – RELEASE DAY!!!! Yay! Yippee!! Woohoo!!!

CallaghansConundrum-200x300

I know, you think I’m totally insane, but you have no idea how long I’ve waited for Sam and Rina to be available. But, Sam Callaghan slipped into town last night and is now available at your favorite online retailers. He will soon  be available in Paperback as well. There is a little teaser about this book – Callaghan’s Conundrum below.

First I want to let you know I may not be posting much this week as I am getting ready to go to the Crested Butte Writer’s Conference. My critique partner, Annette Elton and I are speaking at the conference, too. My mind is a bit full between tweaking the presentation and getting Callaghan out. Oh, I promise to post and let you know how Rehabilitating the Lion does in the Sandy contest at the conference. Cross your fingers for me. Theo is one hero I can’t wait to get out to you, but I will to make sure his story is as good as it can be for my favorite readers!

Here’s the promised teaser for Callaghan’s Conundrum. If you want to read more the purchase links are below, too.

3rd Installment in the Colorado Skies Series –Available Now!

The third book in the Colorado Dreams series, Romance and Suspense truly do collide when another Pinecrest, Colorado detective comes face to face with his past. Connor from Dream Stalker lends a hand with some research and moral support. Still, it’s a bumpy ride through Pinecrest and the foothills as Sam tries to make peace with the pain our heroine caused him.

~~~~~

Pinecrest, Colorado Detective Sam Callaghandoesn’t know it, but he’s walking into the weekend from hell. The sniper he stops while running an errand turns out to be the upside of the long Memorial weekend he faces. His past and present collide in a gut-wrenching crash when the only person injured by the sniper, turns out to be the last person he ever expected to see again. Even worse is the battle raging inside him; having despised her for so long, how can he still want her?

Nine years after Pinecrest’s princess on the hill, Katrina Stokes left without a trace; she’s back. Unable to deny a request from her estranged mother, she takes a chance to meet with her and explain why she disappeared. But the reunion is not to be. Instead, a sniper’s bullet finds Rina as she dives to rescue a child. Seeing Sam take out the sniper, Rina knows she has to disappear again before he or anyone else recognizes her. His life and that of their son depend on it.

   Smashwords