Sunday, December 20, 2015

Author Barb Caffrey Talks About Romance... Not Just For Adults Anymore?

I'm thrilled to write a guest blog for my fellow writer Gemma Juliana on the subject of romance. She and I both write stories with a goodly amount of romance to them, as is on display right now with the Exquisite Christmas anthology. (I am partial to her two stories about widows finding true love, myself. But all three are excellent, heart-warming stories.)

Anyway, I am known more for my young adult novels comprising the Elfy duology – AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE – than writing for the adult market. My two stories in the Exquisite Christmas anthology feature two of my favorite characters ever, Marja the shapeshifter, and Tomas, a telepathic mountain Troll. They are partners in business and pleasure and enjoy living life with gusto and spirit, but they are not young, nor are they conventionally attractive in the usual senses.

Then again, who said that romance was just for pretty people? Because if it were, most of us would not qualify, nor could we lose ourselves in a good, old fashioned romance – or, in the case of my Elfy duology, a good, old fashioned young adult comedy/mystery/fantasy/romance. (Say that five times fast, if you'd like. It's not easy.)
I like Marja and Tomas because they feel like real people. They may have unusual gifts, but who they are to the bottom of their souls feels honest, because they've both had to overcome various obstacles to get to this point in their lives.
In fact, about the only thing Marja and Tomas have in common with my young Elfy protagonist Bruno and his mostly human teenage girlfriend, Sarah, is that despite the somewhat exotic subject matter, their romances feel genuine. We can empathize with them, because they have quirks and flaws, just as we all do. 
Now, when you're talking about teenagers and their first forays into romance, there obviously are some differences from writing about two settled adults such as Marja and Tomas. Bruno and Sarah are experiencing everything for the very first time – the first time they hold hands, the first time they kiss, is special. They don't know what they're doing, but they know they want to be doing it…and they know they're going to do it "come the seventeen Hells or water over the levees," as Bruno would say.
But perhaps it would be better to show you what I'm talking about instead.

Bruno pulled back from Sarah, and looked into her eyes. “You’re beautiful,”
he said hoarsely. “Did I ever tell you that before?”
“Um, no,” she said.
He leaned forward slowly, and started to kiss her on the cheek. She turned
her head at the last second, so his lips met hers instead. For a moment, he
thought he saw stars, then comets, then…what were all those fireworks in the
sky doing inside this room, and why was he even thinking about it? He drew
back for a moment. She didn’t protest—she didn’t say anything. He took this as a
good sign, and kissed her again.
At last, he drew back.
“What was that for?” she asked, dazed.
“You kissed me before, so I wanted to return the favor,” he said, trying for
a nonchalant tone.
(End excerpt)
As you can see, Bruno and Sarah are experiencing things that feel new and strange to them. But that is not about to stop them…oh, no. And while theirs is an innocent, age-appropriate romance for the most part, that doesn't at all mean their feelings aren't as deep and complex as a pair of older lovers.
Now, Marja and Tomas are a long-settled pair. They're bounty hunters, as well as detectives of a certain type, and they've been in love for a long time. But that doesn't mean they take their relationship for granted…again, maybe it's best if I show you?
From the second of my two stories in Exquisite Christmas, "To Hunt the Hunter:"
Tomas gestured at the quiet, peaceful countryside. "I had plans for today, big ones." He looked me up and down. "Private ones."
I smiled demurely.
"Why must a summons always come when we're on holiday?" His voice, to my gratification, sounded annoyed.
"I don't know, dearest." I squeezed his hand consolingly, making sure my hands didn't shift without warning. That was the one problem with being a shapeshifter, sometimes. "But I think we'd best go get our stuff and start up the trail. Whatever the Magistrate wants, it can't be good."
(End Excerpt)
Now, notice the differences between the two excerpts? While Bruno and Sarah's story is about how they feel, Marja and Tomas already know what they have – but aren't taking it for granted in the slightest. At the start of "To Hunt the Hunter," they're on vacation and were looking forward to being left blissfully alone…but when a summons comes that they can't ignore, off they go.
That said, solving the mystery behind why they were summoned is only half the story, here. The other half is this: Will Tomas finally find a way to coax Marja, the love of his life, down the altar? (Hint, hint: Tomas is not above a teensy bit of trickery in order to get his way…)
What I've found, as a writer, is that when I write about two adult characters like Marja and Tomas, I have a certain amount of flexibility in how I portray them. While I don't have to hide the fact that Marja and Tomas have had sex, I concentrate on how they feel when they're around each other – because that's what's most important.
And when I write about young adults like Bruno the Elfy and his girlfriend Sarah, I concentrate as much on what they're feeling as what they're doing. Because it's all new to them, I have a different way of looking at things in order to best share their story in a way that reads well and feels emotionally true-to-life.
But at heart, it's the emotions that matter both for teen and adult protagonists. Without those emotions, without those characters feeling those emotions, it would be a mighty poor romance indeed.

Amazon Author Page:

Amazon link:
Amazon link:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Author Beverley Bateman Visits And Gifts Us A Recipe!

Exquisite Christmas: 21 Romance Authors Share Stories and Recipes

I am so proud to be part of the wonderful anthology. Rose Anderson, a great author, suggested it to one of my groups. She handled everything for us. The authors wrote a holiday story, sometimes two stories along with a recipe. They’ve all been edited and Rose did our beautiful cover, which I love.
I also love the stories in the book. Each is so different. They’re romantic and positive. And trust me, the recipes are yummy. I’ve read all of them and tried several. This book would make a great Christmas gift. 

Get one or yourself and maybe a couple for gifts. Here are the buy links. 

I’m a Canadian author and live in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia. I write romantic suspense. 

For the anthology I wrote two stories. 

Christmas Traditions is about a young couple who move to a small town just before Christmas. She left family, friends and their Christmas traditions behind and is feeling lonely. I included a recipe for my rum balls.

The second story is The Christmas Risk. A small town doctor in Montana is doing Christmas Eve home visits and gets caught in a blizzard. With the possibility she might not make it home she realizes the important things in her life.

Here’s my recipe for Christmas Quick Bread

2 ½ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup salad oil
1 egg
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup maraschino cherries (cut in quarters)
1/3 cup blanched slivered almonds
Additional almonds and cherries for topping.

You will need a large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, a 9”x5” loaf pan, and a cooling rack. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease and flour loaf pan.
  3. Blend dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  4. Combine milk, oil, and egg in a small bowl. Beat slightly.
  5. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until moistened.
  6. Stir in pineapple, cherries, and almonds.
  7. Pour batter in a greased 9” x 5” x 3” loaf pan.
  8. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  9. Bake 65-70 minutes. When golden and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom, turn out on cooling rack.
  10. To decorate top, pierce a cherry with an almond and press into cake. Continue with the remaining cherries and almonds.
Makes 12-14 1/2-inch slices.

Find Beverley:
Twitter @kelownawriter

Merry Christmas and enjoy the book.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Meet Exquisite Christmas Author Linda McLaughlin

A Kiss and a Promise

Sleighing and Mistletoe for an Exquisite Christmas 

My story in the Exquisite Christmas anthology, A Kiss and a Promise, takes place on a wintry Yule afternoon in Victorian times. The year is 1887 and the winter was cold and snowy, a perfect setting for a sleighing party to collect holly and mistletoe to decorate the house. And provide a chance for a kiss under the mistletoe… 


Sophia gave directions to the best spot for gathering holly and mistletoe, and Harry steered the horses in that direction, bells attached to the harness jingling with each step. The weather had been beastly for the last month, but it had turned the estate into a winter fairyland. Silent snow-covered fields stretched as far as she could see, and each tree sported a layer of white, softening the stark look of the winter scene. The sky was overcast, and she suspected Harry was right to rush them along.

As soon as the sleigh stopped, Reggie jumped out, made a snowball and threw it at Cora as she exited the sleigh. She yelped and chased Reggie, Phoebe on her heels squealing with excitement. Sophia watched them with amusement. Oh, to be a child again.

But she was long past that sort of behavior. She’d had a season in London, after all. She glanced at Harry and caught a gleam in his eye. “Do not even think of joining those hooligans.”

A Kiss and a Promise is a prequel to How To Woo... a Reluctant Bride. You get a glimpse of Lydia and her brother Harry when they were young and carefree. The story also introduces two sisters, Sophia and Cora, who will have their own stories in the How To Woo series.  

The Exquisite Christmas e-book is now available at:

Barnes & Noble,
and coming soon to  iBooks and other retailers.

Here’s a bonus recipe that doesn’t appear in the anthology.

Lyndi's Cranberry-Blueberry Delight

1 14 oz. can of Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
1 package of fresh small blueberries (about 4 oz.)
1 cup of golden raisins

Mix, chill and serve. That's it!

The recipe serves 8-10 ladies. (The attached photo doesn't reflect the full recipe. It's what is left over after a couple of days of snacking on it.) I’ve also spread it on turkey sandwiches in lieu of regular cranberry sauce.

Since it's so simple, it's easy to experiment. Add nuts for crunch or sweeten to taste, if it's too tart. I'm thinking about adding some of those little marshmallows next time for color and sweetness.

Author bio:

Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.

You can find more about the author and her works here:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Meet Exquisite Christmas Author Victoria Adams

Hi, I’m Victoria Adams and I’m excited to be here with the newly released anthology of Christmas stories -Exquisite Christmas.

In my story – Christmas Knight – Tamara is a belly dancer who is performing on a cruise ship.
Why did I pick a belly dancer? Because I’m a belly dancer. I’ve taken dance since I was in grade 3, but it was ballet way back then. After university, I taught dance in a Performing Arts school for many – many – MANY years.
A friend of mine visited Egypt and fell in love with Egypt and belly dance. She trained, studied and performed and eventually began to teach. I took classes and fell in love with the dance.

Belly dance doesn’t care how tall, small, skinny, not-skinny, young or old you are. You don’t have to leap through the air or do full splits on the ground. Yes, you do get to shake your butt – that’s called a shimmy.

Here’s a YouTube link on how to Shimmy -

Every May, I and thousands of other belly dancers around the world participate in Shimmy Mob. The reason – to raise money for women and children’s shelters. It’s a fun day.
You don’t have to be a belly dancer to join in the day – here’s is the link if you want to check it out –

An excerpt from the short story Christmas Knight
Her body trembled. Tears tumbled from her eyes. Tamara plopped on the bench, lifted the handkerchief to her face and blew. "Oh!" She turned. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to use it. I'll...get it cleaned."
His mouth broke into a wide grin. His eyes sparkled like the stars above her. Tamara forgot her sadness and revelled in the joy of the moment.
"Question? Your hair was long and black this evening." He slid his hand over her short, red hair.
She shrugged. "Wig."
He lowered his gaze. "I was mesmerized by your dancing. The sensual way you moved. I felt it here." He lifted his head and rested his hand on his chest. "It felt like you were dancing just for me."
Tamara chuckled. "I almost was. The ship is only about a quarter full." She bit her bottom lip. "I saw you when I was first on stage, getting my bearings. When I dance I can't look at the audience. I pretend it's just dress rehearsal and there's no one watching me."
"I was watching you." He brushed his hand across her cheek. "And what do you mean, getting your bearings?"
Shifting in her seat, Tam leaned against the back and stretched out her legs. "I find the edges. You know, so I don't misstep and fall off. I don't want the audience to know how much of a klutz I really am."
"I would catch you." He stood, turned to face her, and held out his arms. "Let's practise. You fall off the bench and I will catch you."
Tammy slapped her hand against her mouth, giggled, and shook her head.
"No is the wrong answer." He crossed his arms. "I'm doing my best knight in shining armour impress—" He glanced down at his suit. "Change that to, I'm here in my best Hugo Boss suit doing by my Sir Lancelot impression of a brave and noble knight, willing to rescue a damsel in distress. You have to fall, so I can catch you." He thrust his arms out.
"Do it," a voice from somewhere in her head shouted.
Digging up a moment of courage, Tam stood, climbed onto the bench, and turned to face her gallant knight-wannabe. She bit back a tsunami of nervous giggles, raised her arms, and moved them in an undulating, snake-light movement. Swerving her hips in a slow figure eight pattern, she rippled the muscles up and down her belly. She took two steps to the right then slightly turned to the left. She raised the back of her hand to her forehead and squealed in a perfect drama-queen voice, "Ooh. Catch me." Then shifted her balance and allowed herself to fall.
His arms were strong as they pulled her close to his body. Inhaling the sensual aroma of his aftershave, she rested her head against his shoulder and let a wave of serenity wash over her.
His gaze met hers. "I feel at a moment such as this, we should be introduced. I'm S.C."
"Hello, Tamara. Lovely name."
"What does S.C. stand for? And are you going to put me down?"
"If I must."

Blurb – When romance writers give love stories to the world, we do more than entertain – we share our hope for something better. These imaginative moments of happy-ever-after warm the soul and ripple outward. The world needs more love, and every bit helps.

We hope you enjoy this collection of heartwarming seasonal tales and delicious recipes by twenty-one Bestselling, Award-winning, and Multi-Published Authors from the international Exquisite Quills community: Victoria Adams, Rose Anderson, E. Ayers, Beverley Bateman, Lily Bishop, Barb Caffrey, Helena Fairfax, J.D. Faver, Jennifer Garcia, Romy Gemmell, Vonnie Hughs, Susan Jaymes, Gemma Juliana, Jean Lamb, Lyndi Lamont, Zanna Mackenzie, Janis Susan May, Dee Ann Palmer, Jane Leopold Quinn, Kaye Spencer, and M. S. Spencer.

Happy Holidays!

Bio –
Author Bio – Victoria Adams, author of NA contemporary and contemporary romances was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. Victoria lives in the country where she takes long walks on her quiet country road and in the summer tends her flower gardens and vegetable patch and in the winter dreams about them, while they are buried under two feet of snow. Her large farm house now holds only her cat, herself, her husband and a ghost.
Victoria Adams is the alternate pen name to another author – secret identity. She is indie published.
Published works
Dancing In Circles  (Circles Trilogy book 1)
Circles Divided (Circles Trilogy book 2)
Circles Interlocked (Circles Trilogy book 3)
A Guy and A Girl
Red Tulip
Exquisite Christmas (anthology of Christmas Stories

Where to find me
Blog – Victoria’s Pages of Romance –
FaceBook page – Books by Victoria Adams -