Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Happy Family Christmas? Guest Author, Barbara White Daille

I'm happy to introduce author Barbara White Daille and her yummy Christmas romance, The Lawman's Christmas Proposal! She and I are trading places today - while she's here, I'm visiting her blog!
Thank you to Patricia for inviting me to share part of your holiday week with you!

When I was growing up, we always had lots of family at our house for the holidays. Along with my parents and sisters, we had one set of grandparents, an aunt and uncle, great-aunts and great-uncles, and a handful of cousins.

Sure, sometimes an ornament or a new toy got broken during the festivities, or someone came down sick the night before and had to spend the day in bed. But other than incidents like those, we had a wonderful time with all that family around, plenty of noise and laughter, and very crowded dinner tables (not one, but two).

In the years since then, some family members have left us and many new ones have come along. But I’ll never forget those early holidays and always look back at them with love.

When I was working on one of the books in my latest series, The Hitching Post Hotel, I was asked to make it a Christmas story. I was thrilled by the request! And challenged by the request. lol

I write romance—and you know the course to true love can never go smoothly. When writing Mitch and Andi’s story, I had to build in conflict and tensions and problems much more serious than a broken tree ornament.

Jed Garland, who is Andi’s grandfather and the patriarch of the Garland family, has turned matchmaker and intends to marry off his three granddaughters. In The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal, Andi is next in line. Jed also wants his family near him at Christmastime and beyond. This makes him go above and beyond to bring together the couple that could be his biggest challenge of all. In this story, I gathered Jed’s family at Hitching Post to give him a wonderful family Christmas…and to relive my fun-filled holidays, too.

Unfortunately, even at their first meeting, former teenaged sweethearts Mitch and Andi don’t seem destined for the happiest of Christmas reunions....

The sudden faraway look in Andi’s eyes prompted Mitch into speech. “Jed tells me you’re staying at the hotel.”

“Temporarily,” she shot back.

He winced at the echo of his response when Jed had mentioned his coming home. Hopefully, he hadn’t sounded as defensive. Looked like Andi didn’t plan to stay around Cowboy Creek. Neither did he.

“I’m only here through the holidays,” she added.

“This is just a short visit for me, too.”

“And then you’ll go back to Los Angeles.”

She sounded as if what he did concerned her. He couldn’t trust that he’d read her right. But he would bet good money she hadn’t forgotten their summer.

He would never forget that day he’d looked across the barn to find the hottest girl he’d ever seen standing in the doorway, a blonde angel in a T-shirt, jeans and riding boots. He’d fallen head over heels and would have sworn she’d done the same.

Every day, once his work at the ranch was done, they had spent as much time together as they could. Until that one day she had just up and left without saying a word.

But here they were… 

And he had the feeling she was about to repeat history and walk off again.


Hope you enjoyed the clip.

I would love to have you share a Christmas memory, too!

About the Author:
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom.
Barbara’s new series, The Hitching Post Hotel, features a matchmaking grandpa determined to see his three granddaughters wed. The series began with The Cowboy’s Little Surprise and A Rancher of Her Own, and The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal has just debuted. Additional books in the series will be coming up next year.

The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal:
Find Barbara online:
Website ~ Blog  ~  Newsletter  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  AmazonAuthor Page 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Character Interview: Nick Palzetti from The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé

I invited my friend Diane Burton back to Creative Hodgepodge. Unfortunately, Diane is busy promoting her newest release, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé, so she sent Nick Palzetti to talk with us. He is Alex O’Hara’s main squeeze, so you’ll find him in all her stories.

Welcome, Nick. Please introduce yourself for those who haven’t met you in your author’s other books.
Nick Palzetti. I work in DC, but I came home to Far Haven, Michigan last fall when Lexie—I mean, Alex—got in over her head on a case. I’d never tell her that. She’s very capable, but she didn’t know what or who she was dealing with. My boss ordered me to mislead her.

How did that go over once she knew?
She threw me out. Can’t say I blame her. I never lied to her, just didn’t tell her the truth. She didn’t see it that way.

Tell us about your family. 
Typical Midwest, Italian. Only child. Mama doted, Pop kept me on the straight-and-narrow.

How did your upbringing influence who you are today?
Pop and Alex’s father—collectively known as The Pops—owned an investigation agency. Mama and Alex’s mother managed the business. They brought us to work from the time we were babies. I learned the ethics of hard work, fair play, and justice. And the importance of family.

What was your first thought when you met Alex? 
I never really “met” her. Since our families were so close, she was always around. She was my kid sister . . . until she grew up. I must have looked at her a certain way because The Pops sat me down and explained the facts of life. Not those facts. The ones that meant she was hands-off and the consequences (don’t ask) if I tried anything with her. See, I had this reputation back in high school of playing the field. Besides, she was jailbait.

Why did you fall for him/her?
She’s beautiful, even though she doesn’t think she is. Gorgeous red hair, eyes as blue as Lake Michigan, long legs. Well, at 5’10” what do you expect? That all sounds superficial, doesn’t it? She’s earnest, hard-working, and married to the agency. When The Pops retired, they turned the business over to her, and she’s been trying ever since to prove she’s worthy. Not that she needs to. She’s an excellent investigator. She just needs to take it easy, have fun once in a while.

Why did you choose your occupation?
*eyes harden* What do you know about my occupation? I’m a pencil-pusher (Alex’s words) for the State Department.

Hang on. I heard you worked for some super-secret government agency that doesn’t exist.
You heard wrong. Next question.

O-kay. *blows out a breath* What is the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
Lexie taking me seriously. I hurt her once. When she was fifteen, she threw herself at me. Eighteen-year-old boys aren’t known for their tact. I’d only thought about what The Pops threatened to do to certain appendages that I wanted to keep. Turning her down wasn’t my finest hour. Unfortunately, she’s got a memory that doesn’t quit. I had to convince her that I wanted her, that I loved her. I succeeded until I disappeared for almost three months. I’m not sure she will ever trust me again.

How would you spend a free day?
With Alex. She works too hard so I want to get her to lighten up. In winter, we’d got to the park and build a snowman, make snow angels, and have a snowball fight. In the summer, we’d go sailing. That’s the one thing I miss about living in DC. If I’m going to stick around, I’ll have to get that sailboat I’ve always wanted.

Where do you think your relationship with Alex is going?
I wish I knew. I want to marry her and make babies. She’s not so sure. I’ll have to bide my time while she builds the agency and learns to trust me.

Thanks for your candor, Nick. I hope you and Alex find a way to stay together.
From your lips to God’s ear. Listen, I gotta go.

She’s at it again. Alex O’Hara just can’t say no to a new investigation. What do a 45-year-old boyfriend, a deadbeat dad, and a teenage runaway have in common? All new cases. With no receptionist, phone and internet problems, and her own boyfriend in the wind, Alex has no idea how she’ll manage. But the question for the past three months is why did Nick disappear. Is this the end of O’Hara & Palzetti?

“Hello, gorgeous.”
My heart stopped. My lungs seized. My hand hovered over the yellow legal pad. Thank God, it didn’t shake. My hand, not the pad.
I wasn’t going to give Nick Palzetti the reaction he expected. I would be cool, confident, self-assured. As if his presence in my office were nothing unusual. As if he waltzed through locked doors every day to lounge casually against the mahogany door frame. As if he hadn’t strolled out of my life two months, two weeks, and one day ago. I wasn’t counting, mind you.
He’d called me ‘gorgeous’ in that husky baritone before he left, too. Hadn’t meant a thing then and didn’t mean a thing now. He probably expected me to yell at him. Wasn’t going to do it. Nope. Wasn’t going to ask him where he’d been. As if it didn’t matter to me. I would say ‘Hiya, Nick, How’s it hanging? C’mon in. Take a load off.’ As soon as I could speak again.
My brain finally told my lungs to breathe. Bad form to fall at his feet. With my luck, I’d slip off my chair and whack my chin on the desk, which would require twenty stitches and orthodontics. Been there, done that. Have the scar to prove it.
Be cool. Don’t show any emotion. Don’t let him know what his disappearance meant.
“How the hell did you get in?” someone yelled. I guess it was me since Nick’s mouth didn’t move, and the office was deserted. I slammed my fist on the desk. “Where the hell have you been?”

The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble.

Author Info:
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert HERE.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Kindle Giveaway

I'm participating in a Giveaway Facebook party tonight! I hope you'll join me and four other authors from 7 to 9 pm Eastern Time. One of the larger prizes we're combining to present is a Kindle Fire. Enter the rafflecopter, and join us at the Facebook Party by clicking on the picture below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Giveaway Blog Hop

Thanks to all who visited and entered the giveaway. Merry Christmas!

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, even though most of my extended family lives in Japan and don't celebrate it. But my parents always did their best to make it special. I love the sights, sounds, smells, and (other than the cold weather) the feel of the holiday.  Christmas time also inspires me as a romance author, so five of my books are set at Christmas time. Here are some quick looks at my holiday stories.

My very first Christmas novella was The Christmas Phoenix. Since I live in Michigan, we experience some rough winters. Snowplow drivers are our heroes when we need to get somewhere. Widow Jess Tate has taken over her husband’s snowplowing and landscaping business after his death, but with financial woes and a lazy teenage son it’s an uphill battle. Ice sculptor Jake Thompson has his own demons, but he can’t help being drawn to his pretty neighbor.

Christmas Wishes is a contemporary story set in West Michigan, near where I live. Sophie Gardner is a recent college graduate who’s ready to leave her small town of Zutphen and seek professional success as a scriptwriter in sunny LA. But handsome photographer Mitch Carson and his adorable daughter have her re-evaluating those goals.

Readers liked the characters in Zutphen so much they asked for a sequel, so Christmas Journey is a revisit to the largely Dutch population. This time widow Helen DeGroot is struggling with identity issues as well as financial worries. Mike Sikkema arrives to help care for his aging mother and is inspired to spend more time away from his professional life in Chicago.

I accepted a challenge to write a regency romance for a series of holiday books. The result was The Partridge and the Peartree, matching a lonely deaf duke and a feisty school mistress. It ended up being one of the toughest challenges I've ever taken on, since it involved a ton of research into the time period, but I think the result was worth it. This book was one of my best-selling stories. This fall I got a chance to revise the original manuscript and got a lovely new cover!

Continuing along the Christmas carol vein, I wrote a sequel this year called Two Tutor Doves. This time I focused on the people downstairs and featured valet Robert Townley and ladies maid Jeanne Brown. I was so pleased with the result, and hope readers are, too!

I also love giving things away. So when I was asked to participate in this giveaway blog hop I jumped on board! Up for grabs is the winner’s choice of two downloads, which will give you all five of my Christmas stories


OR a set of handmade Christmas cards (US only)! 

If you win and you live outside the US I’ll send you the ebooks. To win, enter the rafflecopter below. The winner will be selected at 10 AM EST on Wednesday, December 9. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other authors on this blog hop! Click on their links below: