Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Promo: A VERY COWBOY CHRISTMAS by KIM REDFORD

A note from Kim Redford

As a holiday tradition, imagine a big, roaring bonfire with red and orange flames leaping upward along with spirals of pale smoke. I’ll be in my chair beside the fire, along with family and friends, in an open meadow surrounded by the sight and scent of evergreen trees. Bright stars twinkle in the canopy of dark sky above us. Dogs and cats lounge here and there. Guitar and flute and voice serenade us with favorite Christmas carols and old-time country songs that stir fond memories of our close community of loved ones, as well as those who are no longer with us or who are too far away to be there. We drink hot apple cider, roast marshmallows, cook hotdogs, and make s’mores as we sing and visit while making plans for another wonderful year.
And just so you know, there’s always room for one more at our bonfire.


An Excerpt from A Very Cowboy Christmas by Kim Redford

Sydney felt the heat of Dune’s gaze and glanced up at him. He’d moved closer. She inched toward Celeste, her 1959 pink Cadillac, but if she backed up any farther, she’d be impaled on the tinsel-wrapped longhorns. Drat that gleam in his blue eyes. He had it whenever he was around her, and it had a tendency to strike sparks in her.
“You want me to look under the hood?” He leaned forward with a little quirk of his sensual lips.
So kissable. She squashed that thought and immediately was swamped with another one that had him looking under her skirt instead of the hood. What was wrong with her? She definitely did not want him looking anywhere but at her convertible. She had to get her mind back on business.
“Are you in a hurry?”
“Yes!” She was in a hurry to get away from him, or she’d be wearing tank tops instead of sweaters this Christmas.
“You want to step away from Celeste?”
How could she when he was right in front of her? If she made a single move, she’d be right up against his body. If she could’ve, she would’ve looked into the distance to try to clear her mind of unacceptable thoughts, but she couldn’t see over his broad shoulders. He totally filled her world with his presence.
“Guess you’ve got a lot on your mind.”
She rolled her eyes. He didn’t know the half of it. She caught her lower lip with her upper teeth in frustration.
He reached out, tugged her lip free with the pad of his thumb, and gently rubbed back and forth as if to soothe a hurt. “No need to worry. I’m here to help you now.”
She felt chills run up her spine at his gentleness and concern. She didn’t mean to do it—and wouldn’t have been so bold if he hadn’t short-circuited her brain—but she flicked the tip of her tongue over the edge of his thumb and tasted the essence of him. All male.
“Now, why’d you go and do something I can’t resist?” He eased his thumb across her lower lip, down her jaw, and captured the back of her neck with his fingers to hold her head in place as he lowered his face toward her.
She knew a kiss was coming—right on the side of Wildcat Road in front of the whole county—and she knew she should say something or do something to stop him, but she wanted his kiss more than anything else she could imagine at that moment. It’d been so long since a man had held her or kissed her that she wasn’t sure she even knew how to respond anymore.
When his lips finally touched hers—just a gentle brush really, as if he was gauging her response—she felt swept up in a blazing wildfire.
And yet she sought to keep her wits about her. She should focus on business, not her own sudden need. She put her hands flat against his broad chest to push him back, but she quickly realized she couldn’t budge him because he was so much bigger and stronger. She felt a little shock. She was five ten—although she’d claimed to be six feet tall since her high school basketball days when height was critical—and sported enough muscle to work a ranch, but he made her feel almost petite.
She intended to push him away—absolutely, no doubt about it. Instead, she found her hands slowly sliding up his chest, making her hyperaware of the soft cotton of his shirt as his muscles hardened under her touch. All her senses came shockingly alive. She heard a mockingbird’s song, caught the tangy scent of cedar trees, and Dune’s taste still lingered on her tongue. He didn’t move a millimeter, as if he’d waited a lifetime for her to touch him.
When she reached his shoulders, he gave her another feather-light kiss that promised more than it gave. Not nearly enough, not now that her mind had given way to her body. She sighed against his soft lips and clasped his shoulders to pull him closer. He groaned—as if the ragged sound was torn from his gut—at her response to him. She returned his kiss, teasing his lips with the tip of her tongue until she tore another groan from him, and he plunged inside while he crushed her against him, holding her head in one hand and her waist in the other as if he’d never let her go.
She moaned as she thrust her fingers into his thick hair, shivering with heat as he plundered her mouth and made her weak in the knees. She quickly realized that she had an answer to her question. No, indeed, she hadn’t forgotten how to give or receive a kiss, particularly one of this magnitude.
Finally, when she was putty in his hands, he raised his head and looked at her with eyes the color of midnight. She simply blinked in response, unable to articulate a single word.
“If you let me into your life—even a little bit—I promise not to disappoint you.”


Title: A Very Cowboy Christmas
Author: Kim Redford
Series: Smokin’ Hot Cowboys, #3
Pub Date: October 3, 2017

Third in a spicy contemporary cowboy series from acclaimed author Kim Redford. Sydney Steele needs to wrangle cowboy firefighters to model for her charity Christmas calendar, and Dune Barrett—who she has in mind for Mr. December—is just the man for the job.

There’s nothing like a firefighting cowboy to keep you toasty warm this Christmas…

Christmas is coming up, and single mom Sydney Steele is determined to make this a holiday to remember for Wildcat Bluff County. She still has to get those pesky, reluctant—and deliciously attractive—firefighting cowboys to pose for her charity calendar. They claim they’re too busy pursuing an unknown arsonist to take a break.

Dune Barrett has been flirting with Sydney for months, so he jumps at the chance to give her a hand. And when he agrees to pose as Mr. December, she couldn’t be happier. But to really win her over, Dune will have to convince eleven other guys from his crew to exploit their good looks for charity…a task much easier said than done.

KIM REDFORD is an acclaimed author of Western romance. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at kimredford.com.

Find Kim Online:

To Buy: http://www.kimredford.com/smokin--hot-cowboys.html

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Promo: With this Christmas Ring by Manda Collins







Jacket Summary:
A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins. 

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget. 

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever--on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can't let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

Author Bio:
Manda Collins is the author of the Studies in Scandal series, The Lords of Anarchy series, The Ugly Duckling series and the Wicked Widows series as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.




Manda Collins
When do the holidays official start for you?
The first frosty morning when there's a nip in the air and I can feel that winter is on the way. I love that feeling!
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Getting together with family and friends is the best. We don't necessarily see one another all that much during the year, but we all make time during the holidays.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
I listen to carols sung by the King's College Choir every year and spend at least one day boiling cloves and spices on the stove to get the house smelling like Christmas.
What's your favorite holiday movie?
The Thin Man starring Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora Charles. (Of course MY favorite holiday movie has witty repartee and murder in it!)
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
That would be Christmas Angel by Jo Beverley. It's one of her early Company of Rogues books and I love the way Lucien and Beth and her children become a family over the course of the story.
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
The Holly and the Ivy.
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
I'm not really the outdoor type (though I have been known to go outdoors) so I like to snuggle up inside with a cup of hot chocolate and read. Or knit.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
My grandmother gave me the gift of the love of reading. It's the best thing I've ever been given.
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
I'm at an age now where the things I wish for aren't material (though obviously there are some that I'd like--a new car, for instance) but stuff like health and for my family to be safe and happy. I wouldn't turn down a pretty scarf, though!
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
Just to keep writing books that my audience enjoys reading!


Promo: The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant







Jacket Summary:
New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant returns to Texas, where a small-town legend just might find the greatest gift of all. . .

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays—even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything. 

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wits’ end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby—and the inescapable longing in his heart—off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along? 

Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. She’s written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance including the bestselling Dark King stories, Dark Craving, Night’s Awakening, and Dawn’s Desire. Her acclaimed series, Dark Warriors, feature a thrilling combination of Druids, primeval gods, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.



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Donna Grant
When do the holidays official start for you?
I'd say October 1st, because I get ready for Halloween. Then November 1st to get ready for Thanksgiving, but it day after Thanksgiving, it's all Christmas!
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
The decorations. I love to see it all!
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
We spend Christmas Eve at my parents where there is a bunch of finger foods. Then Christmas Day everyone comes to my house where we have gumbo (Cajun tradition). Then we head to the movies about about 2.
What's your favorite holiday movie?
It's a toss up between White Christmas and Love Actually and Christmas Vacation. We watch them every year.
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
No. I'm an equal opportunist for holiday books. :)
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
White Christmas
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Around me we have the Texas Renaissance Festival, which is the largest in the US. It always begins at the end of September and runs until Thanksgiving weekend. It always signals the begin of fall for us.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
I received my long-haired Chihuahua for Christmas. She was unexpected, but so amazing!
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
Walls. The flood from Hurricane Harvey took everything, but I'd like walls and doors for privacy again. lol
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
I try to make some improvement each year. For 2017 it was balance. I'm not sure what 2018 will be yet. I might still need to work on balancing everything.

Promo: HOPE AT CHRISTMAS by Nancy Naigle



HOPE AT CHRISTMAS
By Nancy Naigle
St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-10867-8
Price: $15.99


 
 

Jacket Summary:
Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, RayAnne, head for tiny Hopewell, North Carolina to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.

Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born.

When a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.

Author Bio:
USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Nancy is the author of Christmas Joy.




Buy Link:

Nancy Naigle
When do the holidays official start for you?
I used to believe I was an "after Thanksgiving" gal when it came to gearing up for the holidays, however, the last two years I've had Christmas books come out in October so I'm totally amped up extra early. Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas starts in late October too, and I’ll be tuned into those movies no matter when they start. So, Merry Christmas with a pumpkin and turkey feather on top!
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
The smell of pine from a fresh cut tree throughout the house, and getting more intense every time I vacuum up the needles. Warm aromatic afternoons of baking. Crafting homemade gifts. Fellowship. Christmas movies and cocoa. Glossy gift wrap, and wire ribbon that makes a simple shoelace bow look pretty on a package.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Baking cookies. Old family favorites, and a few new recipes which always results in at least one complete #fail.
What's your favorite holiday movie?
My favorite all-time holiday movie is the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is still my very, very favorite. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I still tear up when the Abominable Snowman bonks poor Rudolph on the head. Thank goodness for good ol’ Hermie the wanna-be dentist!       
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
I love all those special sized hardcover holiday books. I have a shelf dedicated to them. One that I really love is by Debbie Macomber -- THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS. The beautiful gold cover perfectly envelopes the warm story inside.
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Silent Night.
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Bundling up and stargazing on a chilly night.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
Homemade gifts. Always!  Among them, an old Singer sewing machine with the metal frame turned into a table, a handcrafted snack jar made out of wood with a mason jar, loop potholders, and homemade Christmas ornaments. A girl can never have too many ornaments, right?
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
I don't have any tangible items on my wish list. Making happy memories is all I wish for this year.
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
To live a healthier lifestyle, and figure out how to do that while integrating more book events into my schedule so I can meet more of the dear readers who’ve blessed me with spending their free time reading my books. Thanks, y’all.





Promo: Deck the Halls by Donna Alward




 

Jacket Summary:
Rectangle: Rounded Corners: DECK THE HALLS
By Donna Alward
Swerve
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-17933-3
Price: $3.99

With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.

In the last year, George's life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he's still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.

Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother's death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected.

With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?

Author Bio:
A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody's Baby, and Someone to Love.



Buy link:


http://smpromance.com/contemporary/deck-the-halls/


Donna Alward
When do the holidays official start for you?
December 1 - or the weekend just preceding it. That's when we get out the decorations and go crazy.
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
THE MOVIES. I love sitting with my kids (who are of the nearly-adult variety) and watching holiday movies with a glass of wine or hot cocoa.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Tons! There are certain things we bake. We have a whole bunch of Christmas Eve traditions, including a barbecue (steak!), putting presents under the tree, going for a drive to see the lights, and watching The Polar Express. And even at their age, they still ask me to read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
What's your favorite holiday movie?
I have too many - my fave depends on my mood. Top contenders: Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, White Christmas, Love Actually, The Polar Express.
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
Hmmm. I don't tend to re-read holiday themed books, but I'll confess that I have a soft spot for any (all) of the Christmas books in the Chesapeake Shores series. Those O'Briens... :)
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Nat King Cole's version of The Christmas Song. Simplicity and nostalgia all rolled into one smooth voice.
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Cozy nights with a glass of wine and a book. LOL! Seriously though, I miss living near the Rockies, because the skiing there spoiled me for anywhere else.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
One year my sister put together a recipe book with our mom's fave recipes over the years. She added some of her own, too, but if I want something that Mom used to make back in the eighties? It's in that book!
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
Yes! Yoga socks, books, and a kindle.
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
Do better. :)




Promo: Christmas in Kilts by Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Brownwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick



Rectangle: Rounded Corners: CHRISTMAS IN KILTS
By Terri Brisbain, Lecia Cornwall, Brownwen Evans, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick
Swerve
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-17932-6
Price: $4.99
 







Jacket Summary:
Tis the season to fall in love! These five bestselling authors bring you great tiding of highlanders and romances this holiday season!

A HIGHLANDER'S HOPE by Terri Brisbin
A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander who visits for the holidays and brings with him an offer and hope.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall
When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She's ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he's trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family's wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent
What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas... maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick
An encounter between an English officer and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.

Buy Link:



Q&A

Bronwen Evans
When do the holidays official start for you?
Mid December
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Guilt free reading and being with my family. Even an author needs down time.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Besides putting up my Christmas tree? I always make a pavlova with kiwi fruit for our Christmas day dessert. Remember it's summer in New Zealand.
What's your favorite holiday movie?
I have three - Love Actually (one of my favourite movies of all time) and Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. I love action movies.
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
No, but I will say one Christmas a friend kept telling me to read JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood as I had never read it. So I decided to read book 1. Well, over the Christmas break I read all 12 in a row!
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Mary's Boy Child by Boney M
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Well, it's summer in New Zealand at Christmas, and I love simply getting out my Kindle, pulling up my lounger, and lying by my pool reading a great romance book.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
I love giving, who doesn't. So I usually give anonymous gifts to my friends children. I knew one child was saving for a present but would be short, so I sent him a card with money in it from Santa. Seeing his joy was priceless. My most memorable gift was when I was 7 and I got my first puppy. I'll never forget seeing his little nose poking over the edge of the box and hearing his little barks.
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
Not really. I have a book wish list and at least everyone knows I'm easy to buy for.
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
I haven't thought about it yet, but I usually just wish for my family to be happy and healthy.

Terri Brisbin
When do the holidays official start for you?
Thanksgiving!
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Family! And now watching the grandkids celebrating!
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Our traditions have changed a bit as my sons married and grandkids began arriving. The one thing we still do is gather to decorate the Christmas tree at our house.
What's your favorite holiday movie?
Christmas Vacation and Elf    
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
I just love reading holiday romance anthologies!
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
A Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
I love walking in my neighborhood after a new snow.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
My favorite gift was when I arranged a surprise family trip to Disney World for Christmas! It was hard but I succeed!
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
None yet but there will be!
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
It's been a really difficult 2017 so my resolution for 2018 is to make sure my loved ones know they are...loved.

Lecia Cornwall
When do the holidays official start for you?
We officially call it Christmas the day of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which is in late November. We watch the parade on TV, have our first toast of eggnog, and enjoy the season's first batch of Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies. Then on the closest Saturday to December 13--that's my husband's birthday--we go out as a family to get our Christmas tree (we still have a real tree) and put it up.  
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Family and food.
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Christmas baking is a huge tradition for us. I make Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip cookies, Quiche for Christmas breakfast, and Kulach (Ukrainian Christmas bread).
What's your favorite holiday movie?
Hard Question! The Bishop's Wife, perhaps, though Love Actually, White Christmas, and Polar Express are very close seconds (or thirds and fourths).
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
I have a small collection of Christmas books that my mother used to put out as decorations every year. When I was little, I loved the one about old fashioned Victorian Christmases, and I adored the gorgeous illustrations in a children's book called Once In Royal David's City. My mother also had a book of poetry and stories called 1000 Beautiful Things, which includes a story called The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. I'm not sure if it's the memory of my mother reading that story to me or the story itself I loved, but I still have the battered book, and treasure it.
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Another tough question! "Merry Christmas, Darling" by The Carpenters,
"J-I-N-G-L-E Bells" by Frank Sinatra, and anything from Loreena McKennitt's album To Drive The Cold Winter Away.
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
I love planning for the holidays, and being outdoors, that includes walking with my dog through the fall colours along the Bow River, baking and cooking for Thanksgiving (in mid-October in Canada), decorating the front porch for Halloween, raking leaves and putting the garden to bed for the winter, and stringing up the outdoor Christmas lights on one of the last nice fall weekends before it gets too cold (we don't turn them on until December 1, which was one of my father's rules). My now-grown kids still make ice luminaria for Christmas and New Year's Eve whenever it's cold enough outside to freeze a bucket of water (Try this, readers, they're gorgeous, and a little bit of Christmas magic in the dark. Fill a bucket with water. It freezes overnight, but the centre of the ice block stays liquid. Take the ice block out of the bucket, chip a hole in the top, pour out the water, and set the luminaria outside with a tea light candle inside).
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
When I was first married, my in-laws gave us airline tickets so we could fly to Calgary to spend Christmas together as a family. Christmas with my own family growing up was usually very stressful, but my in-laws filled Christmas with love, laughter, warmth, and fun. Although my children are grown (aged 23 and 26), I've been fortunate enough to have them home for Christmas every year, and to me that's the best Christmas gift of all.  
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
New books are always welcome or maybe just an extra shelf for my massive (and ever growing) to-be-read pile! There's also the traditional Miss America answer to this question--a wish for world peace--but doesn't it just seem more important than ever this year?
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
I always set goals in categories: personal, career, home/family, and new things I want to try. I'm usually good about achieving the career and family goals, but not so good at the personal or new ones. I already know that next year will be full of huge new challenges and opportunities for me, so at the moment my goal is to find my way through whatever comes with as much grace and balance as possible.

May McGoldrick
When do the holidays official start for you?
The holiday season has no start or end in our house. We are a multi-cultural and multi-denominational family. One holiday hands off the fun to the next...and the next...and the next...And then we start again! Our full name is 'May Your Holidays be Endless McGoldrick'! (You can call us 'Festive' for short.)
What's your favorite thing about the holidays?
Family get-togethers
Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Before Christmas, we have a 'Gingerbread House Night.' I always think simple...graham crackers, candies, some frosting for the roof of a quaint little cottage. My competitive and mildly cutthroat family members, however, build the Golden Gate Bridge, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the White House...
What's your favorite holiday movie?
Love, Actually
Do you have a favorite holiday book?
The Night Before Christmas
What's your all-time favorite holiday song?
Christmas is All Around You (Bill Nighy via The Troggs)
What's your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Pick your own peaches. Pick your own apples. Pick your own pumpkin. Cut your own Christmas tree. And reading.
What's your favorite gift you've ever received or given?
For all the years our sons were young, we hid Christmas gifts all over the house. Assembly and wrapping took place after the boys were asleep on Christmas Eve. I remember the year when I used the last bit of wrapping paper while congratulating myself on my precision and planning. What I didn't know was that Jim had yet to wrap my gifts.
The next day, we all lined up on the stairs and then raced down to see what Santa left for everyone. The most charming gift was sitting under the tree. A large black trash bag containing Nikoo's gifts...tied up with a bow.
Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
A cottage on the beach in Southern California. Jim says, "Keep writing."
Any resolutions or goals for next year?
Smile every day.
Write every day.
Make others happy.