Crying for the Moon is available again on Amazon

I’m so pleased to share this announcement with you! Crying for the Moon has received a new cover and is now back on Amazon for just $2.99! Don’t you just love this cover??

 

Also, looking for a little light holiday read? Holiday House Swap is also just $2.99 for a limited time. Enjoy!

Holiday Tales from Fairyland by Joe Cosentino

Hello! Please welcome Joe Cosentino to the site, as he shares an interview with with Cavalier, a character in Holiday Tales from Fairyland, the second Tales from Fairyland e-book novella and Tales from Fairyland Anthology paperback. You’re in for a treat!

Since the readers can’t see you, what do you look like,Cavalier? 

I’m tall, and very muscular from spending all that time lifting the Sugar Plum Fairy. My hair and eyes are exotic sienna, skin olive-colored, and my bulge has caused lots of guys to do a demi-plea. At thirty-one, I’m loyal, honest, and a good private investigator. I’m also tired of doing leaps and spins with guys, and I’m looking for my one true love.

Where do you live?

In my cottage in Dance Village, Fairyland.

How does it feel to be out (no pun intended) of the new novella, Holiday Tales from Fairyland, by Joe Cosentino?

I can do a pirouette and not hit my head on the book.

Were you in Joe Cosentino’s popular The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland published by Dreamspinner Press? And how did the new stories come about?

No, mine is The Nutcracker Ballet story. That first novella was Joe’s comic gay take on Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Pinocchio, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, and The Snow Queen. I, and the readers who loved The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, kept whispering in Joe’s ear, and Holiday Tales from Fairyland was born. Also, Joe told me he missed Fairyland and couldn’t wait to come back. I don’t blame him. My home is a wonderful place. LGBT people aren’t represented in traditional fairytales. Joe changed all that in his tales from Fairyland. 

Your story takes place on Christmas. What is it that you love about that holiday?

I like watching Santa cavorting with his favorite Elf, Scrooge and Marley carrying on, and Rudolph and Prancer falling more and more in love each December. I also like the beautifully decorated Christmas tree in my office. It actually grows, like the bulge in my tights when Fritz enters and hires me as a private investigator to find out who killed his sister, Clara.

Tell us about your story in Holiday Tales from Fairyland?

It’s loosely based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman. At Christmastime, Fritz finds his sister, Clara, strangled with the ribbons of her pink toe shoes. He’s the Dance Captain’s chief suspect. So he hires me to get me off (no pun intended). The suspects are Clara’s husband the Nutcracker, Fritz’s sister Louise, my  old dance partner the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Fritz’s Godpapa, Drosselmeyer.

Tell us about Fritz.

He’s the man of my dreams. When I see him, I want to jump in second position to the cotton candy clouds. Fritz is twenty-one, tall and lean, with blond wavy hair and gorgeous violet eyes. He’s sweet, sensitive, and so in need of love and protection. 

Who are the other characters in your story?

Fritz’s brother-in-law the Nutcracker who is quite vain. Fritz’s sister Louise and the diva Sugar Plum Fairy seem to have a sweet tooth for each other. And Fritz’s Godpapa Drosselmeyer is a leather queen. I interrogate all the suspects and finally uncover who killed Clara. But not before Fritz and I fall in love.

What are the other stories in the novella?

The first story takes place on Halloween. It’s based on The Headless Horseman by Washington Irving. In Joe’s version, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over sexy and muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of the homophobic Sleepy Hollow aren’t happy about it, the headless horseman rides into town. Will Ichabod fall off his horse into Brom’s strong, rescuing arms, teaching the town folk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget? You’ll see! Finally, is a Winter Solstice story: Vasillisa, the Beautiful. Young Vasily falls in love with a mysterious, handsome man who rides by his orphanage each morning, noon, and night. Upon following him, Vasily discovers the man is a prince under the powers of Baba Yaga. Can Vasily rescue his tortured Prince Anton from the witch’s conversion therapy and dance around his pole on May Day? Story three spills the winter beans.

Fairyland is a very gay place. 

The gayest. It’s Fairyland after all! 

Tell us about the heroes in the other two stories.

Ichabod Crane is a young schoolteacher whose heart has been stolen by the town hunk, Brom Bones. Ichabod not only needs to win over the man he loves, but also win over the hearts and minds of the bigoted residents of Sleepy Hollow. Orphan Vasily gazes out his window watching a gorgeous man ride by on his horse three times a day. He follows the man and discovers he is a prince bewitched by the witch, Baba Yaga. Vasily has to use his smarts, creativity, and heart to save himself and his loving Prince Anton. Vasily is in for an incredible surprise at Baba Yaga’s cottage.

Any chance you’ll be pairing in the future with Ichabod or Vasily?

No. I’m a one-man man. And that man is Fritz. 

Are you excited about the paperback of the entire Tales from Fairyland Collection?

Totally! What I hope is that everyone reads and these funny, sexy, heartwarming, romantic, fairytales. They will no doubt bring you back to better, joyous times. I also hope the movie studio producing those amazing animated fairytales finally realizes that fairytales should include everyone—including me in my nutcracker story!

What other stories has Joe published?

I’m not in them, but they are still terrific. For Dreamspinner Press, In My Heart: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) are loosely based on Joe’s high school and college years. His popular, heartwarming Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories are A Home for the Holidays (which takes place on the gorgeous and romantic island of Capri), The Perfect Gift, and The First Noel (releasing 12/7). There Joe goes again writing about the holidays!

And Joe has two award-winning mystery series with other publishers.

I’m not in those either. Reviewers called his Nicky and Noah mysteries “the funniest books ever written,” captivating mysteries,” and “The Hardy Boys meets Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart.” Adorable couple, college theatre professors Nicky and Noah, solve murder mysteries on their Treemeadow College (named about gay couple Tree and Meadow) campus and on tour in Drama Queen, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle (releasing 2/1/19). His popular Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press) feature an ex-child movie star making a movie comeback and solving murder mysteries on set. Jana has a gay agent and gay best friend who provide lots of gay humor. The five novels are Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll.

Joe also wrote the Cozzi Cove series published by NineStar Press.

I’m not in those either! Cal Cozzi runs a gay resort on the New Jersey Shore. We get his story and the sexy, entertaining, and often surprising stories of his gay residents each summer. The novels are Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings.

How does Joe, a college professor/department chair, find the time to write all these books? 

Characters like me tell him what to write.

You have a hot love scene with Fritz, who is much younger than you. How did you handle that?

I’ve spun with the Twelve Dancing Princes, but no guy has ever turned my head like Fritz. The expression of our love was beautiful and magical. We are a true Fairyland love story.

Who is your ideal reader of your story?

My ideal reader craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the story. He/she relishes in beautiful locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of the story. And he/she loves sweet romance and has a great sense of humor!

How can your readers contact you?

Through Joe. He loves hearing from readers. They can contact us at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

HOLIDAY TALES FROM FAIRYLAND

the second Tales from Fairyland e-book novella

by JOE COSENTINO

$3.99

http://mybook.to/HolidayTales

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/886272

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/holiday-tales-from-fairyland-joe-cosentino/1129229032?ean=2940155760795

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/holiday-tales-from-fairyland

 

It’s holiday time in Fairyland. On Halloween, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over sexy and muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of the homophobic Sleepy Hollow aren’t happy about it, the headless horseman rides into town. Will Ichabod fall off his horse into Brom’s strong, rescuing arms, teaching the townsfolk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget? On Christmas, hunky Cavalier P.I. receives a visit from a new client, handsome young Fritz. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. But he seems more interested in the bulge in Cavalier’s tights than in getting himself off the hook. When Cavalier turns sweet on Fritz, it’s time for the private investigator to question his old dance partner the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara’s husband the Nutcracker, Fritz’s other sister Louise, and Fritz’s Godpapa Drosselmeyer to save his intended and find out: Who Killed Clara? At Winter Solstice, young Vasily falls in love with a mysterious, handsome man who rides by his orphanage each morning, noon, and night. Upon following him, Vasily discovers the man is a prince under the powers of Baba Yaga. Can Vasily rescue his tortured Prince Anton from the witch’s conversion therapy and dance around his pole on May Day?

and

 THE TALES FROM FAIRYLAND ANTHOLOGY

The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and Holiday Tales from Fairyland paperback

by JOE COSENTINO

$12.99

http://mybook.to/FairylandAnthology

 

Welcome to Fairyland, a magical place where your favorite fairytale characters come out on the other side of the rainbow. Poor and beautiful Cinder offers his clothes to a naked prince in the woods in a twist on the classic Cinderella tale. Eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three irresistibly burly men on Bear Mountain. Romance ensues between that stringy guy with a growing appendage and the character with a thing for giants. A handsome but cold-hearted prince bewitches young Kieran into being his captive. Can Gaelen thaw the ice palace and save his love?

Then it’s holiday time in Fairyland. On Halloween, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of Sleepy Hollow balk, the headless horseman rides into town teaching the townsfolk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. When hunky Cavalier turns sweet on sweet Fritz, it’s time for the dancing private investigator to question everyone involved with Clara and the Nutcracker to find out who killed Clara? At Winter Solstice, can orphan Vasily rescue a tortured prince from Baba Yaga, releasing him from the witch’s conversion therapy, and dance around the prince’s pole on May Day?

 

Praise for The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, the first Tales from Fairyland novella, published by Dreamspinner Press:

“This is a brilliant work, filled with imaginative twists and sly asides. This is adult literature, overflowing with sometimes gentle but often biting humor, and these fairy tales take on a new edginess without ever losing the morality underpinning each story. The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland gets my highest recommendation! If I could give it more than 5 Stars I would. Bravo, sir, bravo!” GGR Reviews

“Sometimes you are lucky enough to find an author that ticks every box you want as a reader, today I’m that lucky reader….a great saucy, fun collection and highly recommended.” Three Books over the Rainbow

“the stories are all well done and smart, engaging, funny and sweet.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

The Naked Prince and Other tales from Fairyland is a fun, hilarious collection of stories. Joe outdid himself taking old favorites from our childhood and putting a grown-up spin on them….If you like gay princes, sexy bears, giants, reporters, fairy tales, comedy, suspense, and, sweet, fun man-sex, this is for you.” Cathy Brockman Romance

“If you haven’t read anything by Cosentino, you don’t know what you are missing. His humor and penchant for drama bring these old favorites a new life as he ventures deep into Fairyland….If you love fairytales, you’ve got to read the naughty versions – they are even better!” Joyfully Jay Reviews

“I was most surprised by the author’s sense of humor and his ability to get me to not only laugh out loud, but actually to “belly laugh.” I highly recommend this to audiobook lovers, and especially to those who loved fairy tales in their childhood.” Hearts on Fire Reviews

“In this wickedly entertaining take on classic fairy tales, Joe Cosentino gives us four short stories full of all the characters you remember from storybooks – Cinderella, Pinocchio, Goldilocks, Captain Hook, Jack and the Beanstalk, Prince Charming and many more – but fair warning: This ain’t your childhood Cinderella. Welcome to a world where it isn’t Pinocchio’s nose that grows when he tells a lie. Goldilocks discovers three sexy daddy bears in the woods and ‘someone’s been sleeping in my bed’ takes on a whole other connotation. Jack is ‘very nimble’ but sadly also ‘amazingly quick’ and Prince Charming dons ‘palace protection’ for hot sex with Cinder. Extra bonus points for this wonderful quip: ‘I always suspected he had more down his throat than a frog.’” Gay Book Reviews

Joe Cosentino is the author of six novellas published by Dreamspinner Press: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Audiobook of the Month); the In My Heart series: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star; and the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, and The First Noel; the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Favorite LGBT Mystery), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity; the Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press): Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Book of the Month), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, and Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). As an actor, Joe appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College, Master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz, and is currently a happily married college professor/department chair residing in New York State. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

Excerpt from Holiday Tales from Fairyland/Tales from Fairyland Book 2:

 

Comfortable as always in my white tights and gold jacket, I leaned back in my chair and focused on my captivating young caller. He spoke in a velvety smooth voice. His eyes seemed to penetrate my soul. Believe me, the decorated Christmas tree next to my gold fireplace wasn’t the only thing rising. “I’m sorry about your sister.”

“Me too. The Dance Village Dance Captain thinks I did it.”

Did you?”

“I want you to prove my innocence.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

He sighed. “It doesn’t matter what I say. Nobody seems to believe me.”

I rested my elbows on the desk lined with figures of ballet dancers doing pirouettes. “I’d like to believe you.”

His handsome face softened. “And I’d like you to save me.”

I wanted to wrap my arms around him and protect Fritz from the world. “Then how about you tell me everything you know about this?”

“That may take some time.”

“I have nowhere else to go.”

“On Christmas Day?” He smirked. “Don’t you have anyone in your life, Cavalier?”

I met his gaze. “I could ask you the same question.”

“My parents are dead, and my sister has just been killed. What’s your excuse?”

“I pry into other people’s lives. It doesn’t leave me much time for a life of my own.”

“Lucky for me.” He smiled.

I’d never been that attracted to anyone before in my life. “How old are you?”

“Old enough to be tried in the Dance Village Square as an adult.”

“Meaning?”

His ruby lips parted, forming an intoxicating smile. “I’m legal, Cavalier. Twenty-one next month. And you?”

“I’m a decade older than you. So behave, or I’ll have to put you over my knee.”

“You’ll have to catch me first.” He winked. “And I’m not easily caught.”

The kid was driving me crazy. I wanted to assemblé over the desk and have my way with him. Trying to maintain my professional persona, I said, “Let’s start with you telling me about this from the beginning.” Readying a pad lined with dancing snowflakes, I wrote on top, “The Case of: Who Killed Clara?”

Fritz tented his long thin fingers—and I wanted to devour them. “As kids, my sisters and I lived in a mansion. My parents weren’t around much, so the three of us spent most of the time in the playroom with our toys.”

I couldn’t resist. “Which was your favorite toy?”

“My soldier doll. He was strong and courageous. I slept with him every night.”

I couldn’t believe I was jealous of a doll. “And your sisters?”

Louise fussed over her Madame Charette doll, obviously exhibiting early lesbian tendencies. Clara loved her Nutcracker doll. Our godfather, Judge Drosselmeyer, gave it to her.”

Writing, I asked, “Can your godfather, the judge, assist you with your case now?”

He shook his head, and golden shafts formed a halo around his face. “He thinks I did it too. The patch over Godpapa’s eye isn’t the only thing keeping him from seeing clearly.”

“Let’s go back to the playroom when you were kids. How did the Nutcracker come to life?”

He did a double take. “You know about that?”

“I ran into your sister and the Nutcracker Prince when they were on their honeymoon in the Land of Sweets.”

“How sweet.” His dimples were like craters of honey.

I wanted to lick them dry. “I’m waiting for an answer to my question.”

“It’s quite a story. If I tell you, I doubt you’ll believe me.”

“Try me.” I moved my legs into third position to conceal my obvious arousal.

Release Day Sale: Holiday House Swap by Sarah Madison

holidayhouseswapfs_v2It’s here at last! I’m so excited–Holiday House Swap is finally going live at all your favorite outlets today! I had so much fun with this story and I’m delighted to be able to share it with you at last. This is a fluffy, feel-good story that I hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I did writing it. 🙂

Best of all, today only, until 11:59 EST 12/21/16, Holiday House Swap is on sale at Dreamspinner Press!

Be sure to check out this delightful 5 star review from Bayou Book Junkie too!

Blurb:

Reclusive writer Noah Kinley is facing a dilemma: how to confess to the world he’s really the author of a best-selling romance series. For years, his friend Julie has been the face of his brand, but she wants her life back now. Fast running out of ideas for his popular series, Noah wants to break out into other genres. Not that he’s writing much of anything at the moment anyway, thanks to paralyzing writer’s block. With his publisher breathing down his neck for the next installment, he hopes a change of scene will get his writer’s juices flowing again. Desperate enough to try anything, during the holidays Noah swaps his isolated cabin in the woods for a gentrified horse farm.

USAF Major Connor Harrison has chosen forced retirement over facing charges for an unauthorized mission to rescue a buddy from behind enemy lines. No one expects him home for the holidays, and he certainly didn’t anticipate finding a stranger in his house, much less Noah Kinley with his acid tongue and a wry sense of humor that pierces all of Connor’s defenses.

Both men need to figure out what the next chapter in their lives will be—and whether it will include each other.

winter-horseExcerpt: “Kinley. You gonna get up or what?”

Noah had a moment of extreme disorientation as he tried to recall how the guy with the sexy drawl happened to be standing in his room. It came to him all at once: the decision to leave the cabin, the intense drive from the airport, and then meeting the owner of the house, who turned out to be a Captain America freak when everyone knew Iron Man was the coolest superhero. The pounding headache suggested perhaps finishing off the second bottle of wine hadn’t been wise, considering how seldom he drank. Only then did he realize the worst.

“If you’d rather not go to the barn, that’s cool.” Harrison spoke in that oh-so-causal manner that by this time in their short acquaintance meant this was really kind of a big deal to him.

“It’s not that,” Noah croaked, wincing at his sore throat. “I’m sick.”

“Holy shit, you weren’t joking when you said you were coming down with something. You okay? You sound terrible.” Concern was written clearly on Harrison’s face as he stepped closer to Noah’s bed.

Damn if he wasn’t wearing cream-colored breeches and tall boots too. No burgundy jacket, however, to complete the Beau Brummell look from Noah’s fantasy the night before.

“I don’t own a burgundy jacket. Are you sure you’re okay? You’re not making much sense.”

“I can’t be sick.” Noah groaned. He hadn’t meant to say anything about the Regency clothing out loud. “No, no, no. This isn’t fair. I never get sick! The one time I leave the cabin in years and I catch a cold? This is so not fair.” He shivered and hunkered down under the blankets. “It’s freezing in here. Can you turn up the heat or something?”

Harrison placed the back of his hand on Noah’s brow. “Jeezus. You’re burning up. Wait here. I’m going to get a thermometer.”

Not Harrison, though. Connor. You couldn’t drink a man’s wine and stay up half the night arguing the finer points of science fiction, or picture the hottie dressed in Regency costuming, and still call him by his last name. Connor. Such a sexy name. It suited him.

Noah must have dozed off again, because he started when Connor touched him on the shoulder. “Here. Put this in your mouth.”

Noah opened his mouth obediently, thinking surely there had to be a sexual innuendo in there somewhere, if he could only think of it. He closed his lips on the digital thermometer.

Connor snorted suddenly, making Noah look up at him.

“What?” Noah mumbled around the thermometer.

“Do you always say whatever’s on your mind when you’re running a fever?” Connor’s smile made Noah feel accepted in a way he hadn’t felt in a long time. Fortunately the beeping of the thermometer kept him from having to answer. “One-oh-three degrees. That’s pretty hot, Kinley.”

Available at the following retailers:

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2gT2a1o

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2gOUf6c

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2gOVv9w

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2gGsV9P

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2gfbQDo

Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/2gIcJ8B

All Romance: http://bit.ly/2fS1JDy

Fool'sGold-400x600This is also the last day you can snag a copy of Fool’s Gold at the sale price of only 99 cents! Fool’s Gold came in as a Runner Up in the 2016 Rainbow Awards and is available at Amazon and All Romance ebooks.

 

HL Holston and AJ Burke: New Stories in the Eternal Series!

Hey there! Some business before I introduce our guest for today! First, if you’re looking for my post in Divine Promotions 2016 Christmas Blog Hop, you should go here.

Second, I’m still celebrating the fact that Fool’s Gold was a Runner Up in the 2016 Rainbow Awards: it’s currently on sale for a limited time at Amazon and All Romance Ebooks for only 99 cents–but hurry, the sale won’t last much longer!

Third, today’s the last day of the Holiday House Swap Book Tour! There’s still time to check out an excerpt, pre-order the book, and enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway! I just found out that you can pre-order Holiday House Swap for the next 48 hours from Dreamspinner Press for 30% off!

Now, please welcome H.L. Holston, who has come to share not only links for new stories, but a lively party game you’re sure to want to try!

Take it away, H.L.!

eternally-bright-e-book-coverI grew up in a unique household; one side of the family is Jewish, the other Christian. So, this time of the year, I celebrate pretty much anything. This holiday season, my writing partner, A.J. Burke and I have two Christmas-themed stories out!

I’m a history teacher by trade and I’ve always wanted to write a story set during World War One. I finally got to do that with Eternally Timeless (Eternal #1). You can go to Smashwords and download it for free HERE.

The second story in the series, Eternally Bright, is a contemporary M/M romance set in Paris on Christmas Eve and is available only on Amazon. The two books are intertwined, but can be read as standalones.

And while I’m promoting my books, I also wanted to give everyone a new game to play on Christmas. In my family, we call it: The Pan Game. We played it every Christmas Eve before we opened our ‘regular’ presents.

 

pie-panFirst, here’s what you will need for the game.

 

Supplies:

 

  • Pie Pan
  • A set of dice
  • 20 or so cheesy “gifts” ( we got ours at the Dollar Store)
  • Wrapping paper (to wrap presents)
  • A timer

 

We’d gather in a circle, bring folding chairs if necessary! My mother would set the timer for 15-20 minutes. Then, you take the dice and put them in the pie pan. You toss the dice in the pan and if you get doubles, you take a gift from the pile in the middle. You get TWO chances to roll doubles, and then you pass the pan/dice to the person next to you.

Being quick is key, as you don’t want the timer to run out and you not have any presents.

You continue to do this with every person until all the gifts are gone. Once everyone has a gift and there is no more left in the pile, then the fun begins. You get to steal gifts!

Yep, the next time you roll a double, you get to steal a wrapped gift from a family member. This action has caused many a wrestling match in my household over the years. My father is famous for “hiding” gifts about his person, sometimes we had to frisk him to make sure he wasn’t hiding anything!

When the timer goes off, whatever gifts you have are yours to keep. (I don’t suggest allowing small children under the age of ten or so to play this game, as they sometimes get upset when Aunt Holly steals their presents. So we always made them the “fetch” person. Example: “Jessica, go grab that green gift from your grandfather and bring it to me!”)

We played this game every year and it bought our family much joy and laughter. If you try it, I hope it becomes a family tradition for yours too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all.

Blurb:

Ever since Gabriel Foster started working at Demerchant Industries, he’d been fighting his attraction to his enigmatic boss, Sébastien Demerchant.

During a Christmas party at Sébastien’s mansion, Gabriel discovers his feelings might be returned. But everything is not as it appears, and Gabriel’s world will be turned upside down in the process.  

Buy Link: http://amzn.to/2hKyqbq (Free for Kindle Unlimited)

Biography:

H.L. Holston is a teacher by day, and sometimes writer by night. She admits she is a horrible blogger, even worse in keeping up on Facebook, but tries anyway. However, all bets are off if Bruce Springsteen is on tour! You can find her at:

Web site: http://hlholston.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sue.holston

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sueholston

More Stellar Reviews for Holiday House Swap: Book Tour & Giveaway!

Are you guys ready for the holidays yet? I’m nowhere close to being ready! I’ve still got some shopping to do, and some holiday prep as well.

blog-hop-graphicIf you’re here looking for the link to Divine Promotions Christmas Blog Hop–click on the link. Great memories, tasty recipes, and some fantastic prizes–go check them out!

Looking for that list of holiday stories past and present I compiled? The link is here. If you’re an author with a holiday story, feel free to leave your link in the comments there!

Fool'sGold-400x600Did you hear that Fool’s Gold and Truth & Consequences both came in as Runners Up in their categories in the 2016 Rainbow Awards? To celebrate, for a limited time you can grab a copy of Fool’s Gold for only 99 cents on Amazon and All Romance ebooks.

I’m also up for Author of the Year over at Gay Book Reviews! I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, but it’s a great honor just to be on the same page with the greats in this genre. If you’d like to vote for me, the link is here. Authors are listed in alphabetical order by first name and you can vote once a day until the polls close.

holidayhouseswapfs_v2But if you’re here because the title of the post drew you in, yes, I have received some very nice reviews for Holiday House Swap! Do check them out and enter the Rafflecopter giveway as part of the tour!

REVIEWS

Have at it–and have fun!

Divine Promotions Christmas 2016 Blog Hop & Giveaway!

blog-hop-graphicWelcome to Divine Promotions 2016 Christmas Blog Hop! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post and go back to the main page to hop to the next blog on the list! If you’d like to be entered in an individual giveaway here on this site, leave a comment below after reading this post. 🙂

The holidays were always a special time when I was growing up. My parents worked hard, and though we decorated the house and tree, we weren’t big on parties or celebrations. The one thing we always did was pile into the car after breakfast and drive to my grandmother’s house. There the entire family clan would gather from all over the country. My grandmother would have been cooking and baking for days, and the aroma of our favorite dishes greeted us on entering the house, as much a part of the decorations as the handmade ornaments on the tree or the small panoramas that came out of storage to sit on the mantle or the end tables.

Growing up in a house of utilitarian cooking, where food was considered mere fuel for the body, we loved going to Granny’s house for the holidays! Turkey roasted to perfection, pots of mashed potatoes and green beans (cooked in the true Southern style, until they were limp and had given up), candied yams, dressing and gravy made from the turkey, yeast rolls brushed with butter, tiny ham biscuits, and bite-sized sausage balls. And then the desserts! Pumpkin, pecan, and chocolate silk pies, applesauce cake, pound cake and coconut cake. Something for every preference and plenty to take home afterward. We ate until we could hold no more, opened presents, and watched a movie while the grownups talked. Bliss.

After my grandparents passed, much of the magic went out of the holidays. Work schedules and tight finances frequently prevented us from gathering as a clan, and truth be told, without the love and warmth of my Granny’s house, it was hard to make the trip. The old recipes were lost, as well as the experience as to how to make it just right.

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I think that’s one of the reasons I adore holiday stories and movies. I love the unabashed sentimentality of the tales, the possibility of magic, and the promise of true love. I compiled a list of holiday reads past and present earlier this month–if you’re an author with a holiday story, feel free to leave a link in the comments! If you’re a reader, enjoy this great compilation of holiday stories! I also have a holiday story coming out on Dec 21–the Holiday House Swap Book Tour is ongoing until 12/16 and you can pre-order it now from your favorite outlets.

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2gT2a1o

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2gOUf6c

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2gOVv9w

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2gGsV9P

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2gfbQDo

Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/2gIcJ8B

All Romance: http://bit.ly/2fS1JDy

sausage-balls-resized-for-webIn the meantime, I’d like to share with you the recipe for my grandmother’s famous sausage balls–you can google this online and get all sorts of variations but the key is in choosing high quality ingredients, but also in the mixing.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Mix 3 cups Bisquick baking powder

1 lb of pork sausage (flavor of your choice)

10-16 oz of shredded Cheddar Cheese (the sharper the better–I prefer Vermont White)

1 TB of water (as needed to mix ingredients)

Now other recipes will tell you to add milk or additional seasonings, but this is the way we’ve always done it. I recommend placing the sausage (I prefer Jimmy Dean’s or Gunnoe’s in the original flavors, though the hot makes a nice change) in a large mixing bowl and adding the cheese and Bisquick a little at a time. MIXING THOROUGHLY IS CRUCIAL. Work that flour and cheese into the sausage, adding more until all the ingredients have been mixed. Most of the time, a small amount of water (1-2 TB) will be needed to work the flour into the meat.

The next key step is rolling the sausage/flour/cheese mix into tight little balls in the palm of your hand. This further mixes the ingredients–too big a ball and they won’t bake well. Too small and they will burn. It should be smaller than a golf ball, and fit nicely between your palms as you roll.

Bake for 20-25 minutes on a non-greased baking sheet or until golden brown on the outside and NOT PINK on the inside. These taste even better reheated the next day and are great for parties. They also freeze well, so we tend to make a big batch at Thanksgiving and have the rest at Christmas. Oh, what am I saying? They never last until Christmas–we have to make more!

Be sure to leave a comment here telling me what’s your favorite holiday food (and why), along with your email address if you’d like to enter to win a reader’s choice ebook from my backlist! And check out the Rafflecopter as well–some great prizes here!

3D fun face Charms Bracelet – 3 pieces (image attached)
18 K Gold Filled Crystal Pearls Heart Party Dress Jewelry Set (image attached)
$10 Amazon Gift Card from RAM PA Group
18k-gold-filled-crystal-pearls-heart-party-dress-jewelry-set
5 Days Promo Tour from Divine Promotions
Dreamspinner Press Vouchers
$5 gift voucher from Pride Publishing
Ebook of your choice from Author Grein Murray
Swag donated by Author Grein Murray (only available to those living in the USA)
Ebook of your choice from Author Sean Kerr (from his series Dead Camp)
Ebook – The Hard Boys: Alien Abduction (Case #1) from Ian Cadena

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are the blogs taking part: be sure to visit them all and enter the Rafflecopter along the way! And Happy Holidays to everyone!

Below you will find all the blogs taking part

🎅🏻 IrishdaisylovesRomance – https://dawn84blog.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/🎄-christmas-blog-hop-2016-🎄/
🎅🏻 Tempeste O’Riley – http://tempesteoriley.com/blog

Love Holiday Stories? Here’s a Holiday Story Link List!

Status

holidayhouseswap_fbbanner_dspI don’t know about you, but I love holiday stories and movies. Maybe it’s because my grandparents always made a big deal out of the holidays. We had special foods we didn’t have at any other time of year. We gathered together as one big family, sharing gifts, watching old movies, and visiting relatives we never saw at any other time. My grandmother’s house was decorated with ornaments made and purchased throughout the years, and seeing them again was like meeting up with old friends. I remember these days as being magical.

I don’t have as much time for the holidays any longer. Our families are scattered all over the country. We seldom get much time off. Money is frequently too tight for travel or buying much in the way of gifts. I almost never decorate, send cards out, or bake cookies any more.

christmas-1524357-1279x1705But I still love the magic of the holidays. I adore a good holiday story. I love watching the old holiday specials, like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I love the old movies, like It’s a Wonderful Life and Holiday Inn. It wouldn’t be the holidays to me without reading or watching A Christmas Carol in some form–personally, the Muppet version is my favorite!

And I love, love, LOVE holiday stories! I got hooked at an early age on those annual anthologies that would come out with Regency or Victorian settings. Or contemporary stories where the main characters were snowbound or somehow stranded for the holidays–and wound up falling in love. I’d starting buying them in October and eat them up with a spoon–still enjoying them in the cold, dreary days of January and February! So it’s little wonder I decided to write a holiday story myself this year–in fact, it’s more amazing I haven’t done it before!

To celebrate the release of Holiday House Swap (Dec 21, from Dreamspinner Press), I thought it would be fun to ask people to share their holiday stories with me, past or present. This is by no means a complete list, nor have I read everything on it myself–but I have to say, my wish list for Christmas just got much bigger! It seems as though this list is all M/M romance, but it’s open to all genres–just leave a link to your story in the comments! If your story doesn’t have a happy ending though, please warn for that–more than any other kind of romance, holiday stories beg for happy endings, don’t you think?

So here you go–enjoy! Be sure to share with others, and if you’re an author who has a holiday story out (no matter if recently or not), be sure to leave your story link in the comments! Here we are, listed by author surname in alphabetical order (covers chosen at random):

Wrapped Together (Portland Heat) by Annabeth Albert

If Only in My Dreams by Keira Andrews

on-wings-of-songOn Wings of Song by Anne Barwell

The Holiday Hoax by Skylar Cates

He’s Behind You by Rebecca Cohen

In From the Cold by Shae Connor

Of Holiday Spirits, Wake-Up Calls, and Happily Ever Afters By Shae Connor

Sharing Christmas by Shae Connor

The Half-Life of Pumpkin Pie (from Butt Babes in Boyland) by Shae Connor

glasstidings_500x750Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins

Santa Baby (Minnesota Christmas Book 4) by Heidi Cullinan

A Prairie Dog’s Love Song by Eli Easton

Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton

 

 

 

o-the-christmas-wagerThe Christmas Wager by Jamie Fessenden

When Love Flue In by Lillian Francis

A Christmas Kiss by Annabelle Jacobs

Tis the Season by Alex Jane

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

So This Is Christmas (Adrien English Mysteries) by Josh Lanyon

 

holidayhouseswapfs_v2Holiday House Swap by Sarah Madison (wait, that’s ME!)

The Wrong Kind of Angel by Ruby Moone

Lit Up by Devyn Morgan

Twinkle, Twinkle by Josephine Myles

A Family for Christmas by Jay Northcote

Cold Feet by Jay Northcote

What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote

Matches by Rick R. Reed

Analog to Digital by Posy Roberts (Advent Calendar)

Feathers from the Sky by Posy Roberts

Strawberries in the Snow by Kate Pavelle and Olivette Devaux

fox-caperDetective Fox and the Christmas Caper by Isobel Starling ON SALE DEC 1-2 FOR ONLY .99 CENTS!

Fred and Ginger by Isobel Starling

Christmas on Adelaide Road by Helena Stone (FREE)

Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

Teddy Bears (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by Brandon Witt

 

Woman riding horse on snowy path

Woman riding horse on snowy path

 

I’m sure there are more stories out there–I just haven’t found them yet. Be sure to rec your own holiday stories, past or present, in the comments below! Happy Holidays!

 

Holiday House Swap Now Available for Pre-order on Sale!

holidayhouseswap_fbbanner_dspWhoo-hoo! I am SO excited to be able to announce this: my Christmas story, Holiday House Swap, is now available for pre-order from Dreamspinner Press! Best of all, if you order it now until 11/28, you can snag a copy on sale! In fact, Dreamspinner‘s entire store is on sale until Monday, 11/28! That includes every DSP title I’ve written!

Seriously, I am such a sucker for holiday romances, it’s not funny. I love everything about them: the circumstances that force strangers or old acquaintances into closer interaction, the way the holiday spirit changes attitudes and heals past wounds. I love stories about people who find themselves by falling in love. I adore stories in which snow is softly falling outside and there is a blazing fire in the hearth, and you just know those two characters will be holding hands before the night is over.

It’s funny because we aren’t much on celebrating the holidays around here. Most of my family works in some sort of service profession that frequently has us on call. Celebrating Christmas or Thanksgiving often entails a delay while we wait to see if everyone can gather, and many times, the pressure of work has us deciding to forgo gift-giving or massive baking. Lord knows, it’s been years since I decorated. Perhaps that’s why I love holiday stories so much.

In my fantasy, there is time for families to come together and for past hurts to be resolved. The kitchen is magically stocked and every dish turned out just right. It always snows Christmas Eve, but not so much as to make travel dangerous (unless of course, you want to be snowed in with a loved one). And of course, you know exactly what to get every person on your list to make each and everyone of them smile.

This year, I’m determined to find my holiday spirit, the one that’s been sulking the past few years. I’m going to put up a few lights. I’m going to bake snickerdoodles, oatmeal butterscotch cookies, and sausage balls. I’m going to watch all my old favorite holiday movies: The Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Bishop’s Wife, and Christmas in Connecticut. And I want to read ALL the best holiday stories–any genre, you name it (though I crave Regencies at this time of year, so sue me).

So to celebrate the upcoming release, I’m asking you guys to leave me a comment telling me the ONE THING that says ‘holidays’ to you. Name that movie or book you always have to watch or read. Your favorite Christmas song. Your fondest memory. Include your email address if you want to be entered into the running for a free story from my backlist. Authors: if you want to pimp your own holiday story–have at it! I want to hear about it!

Speaking of free stories, if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get an exclusive epilogue to Fool’s Gold (sometime after the first of the year–I’m behind getting my newsletter out!), as well as other free stories from time to time.

If you’re not ready to place an order for Holiday House Swap, but you want to remember it for later, you can add it to your TBR list on Goodreads!

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Holiday House Swap: Reclusive writer Noah Kinley is facing a dilemma: how to confess to the world he’s really the author of a best-selling romance series. For years, his friend Julie has been the face of his brand, but she wants her life back now. Fast running out of ideas for his popular series, Noah wants to break out into other genres. Not that he’s writing much of anything at the moment anyway, thanks to paralyzing writer’s block. With his publisher breathing down his neck for the next installment, he hopes a change of scene will get his writer’s juices flowing again. Desperate enough to try anything, during the holidays Noah swaps his isolated cabin in the woods for a gentrified horse farm.

USAF Major Connor Harrison has chosen forced retirement over facing charges for an unauthorized mission to rescue a buddy from behind enemy lines. No one expects him home for the holidays, and he certainly didn’t anticipate finding a stranger in his house, much less Noah Kinley with his acid tongue and a wry sense of humor that pierces all of Connor’s defenses.

Both men need to figure out what the next chapter in their lives will be—and whether it will include each other.

 

The Year of Living Bravely

courageIn the past, I’ve gotten in the habit of picking a ‘theme’ at the beginning of the new year and holding it up as a kind of banner. Something to remind me of certain goals, but mostly to frame a desired mindset.

This has been more effective some years than others. Like all ‘resolutions’, I usually start out strong, but as the year wears on, my ability to hold onto the vision I’d created for myself becomes attenuated and stretched to the breaking point–or else it just fades away, entirely forgotten in the press of meeting obligations at work and at home.

I’ve had The Year of Living Passionately, and The Year of Living with Abundance (which was aimed at concentrating on what I had, rather than what I didn’t have), and the Year of Living without Fear. Today, I saw a blog post titled ‘The year of being brave’, which had nothing to do with picking a mantra for 2015, but the title resonated with me. “That’s it,” I thought. “This is the Year of Being Brave.”

One could argue that I’ve already done that, with my ‘year of living without fear’, but the truth of the matter is that living without fear and being brave are not the same thing. Living without fear is making a conscious decision not to let the things that frighten you control you. Being brave means going out and meeting your destiny.

2015On New Year’s Eve, I shared this graphic with several groups of online friends, along with the message that I planned to take 2015 by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. I was going to OWN 2015.

The vast majority of my friends were supportive of this sentiment, but a small number expressed concern at my hubris, and suggested caution. “You’re inviting the universe to smack you down,”  they said. “The universe has a twisted sense of humor.”

I have to tell you, I got a little bit pissed at this. Frankly, the universe has been using me as its punching bag for a while now. Oh, nothing earth-shattering or heartbreaking, but a slow, steady grind of worry and stress and diminishing resources. And while I appreciate where my well-meaning friends are coming from, they are not walking in my shoes. Furthermore, I have spent my entire life being the Good Girl. The one who did what she was told. I worked hard in school, graduated with honors, got an advanced degree, gave my life to my career. I played by the rules, and yet after a lifetime of doing everything I was told would guarantee ‘success’, I find I am not happy. The way I see it, part of playing by the rules for a single woman in this day and age means to continually be self-sacrificing and self-effacing. And I think it’s about time I stood up and did a little roaring for a change.

The Year of Living Without Deprivation…

christmas tree_stevep2008All things considered, Christmas wasn’t too bad this year. I spent a ridiculous amount of time baking, and since most of the gluten-free baked items turned out to be inedible, I reneged on my vow to stay gluten free over the holidays. I made dozens of cookies, I baked at least four batches of sausage balls. I cooked for the family gathering and got saddled with most of the leftovers. Today I gave away as much of the baked goods as possible, though it hurt a little to do so. Cheese straws that were crispy and flaky with just the right kick, shortbread and gingerbread cookies, a melt-in-your-mouth lemon pound cake, a whole tray of ham biscuits, too. The sausage balls, I’m keeping. I’m down to the last few and there is no point in giving them away. I’ll eat them and when they’re gone, they’re gone. I only make them once a year anyway–and I typically eat them until I can’t bear the thought of another one. By that time, they’re all gone, and when the holiday season rolls around again, I’ll be looking forward to them once more.

But for now, it’s back to being good. This week of indulgence reminded me of all the reasons I gave up wheat and dairy in the first place–not the least of which is the ever-present heartburn. So yeah, indulge once a year. I’m okay with that. And the lovely care package from my good friend, margec0, will help stave off temptation in the next few weeks–thank you,Marge! Thanks, too, to everyone who sent Christmas cards this year. My wall board is filled with them and they make me smile every time I pass it.

The day with the family passed almost scott-free. My mother did decide for some bizarre reason that the BF and I have been engaged for the last five years but that I have also turned him down for embarrassing reasons–none of which was true. That didn’t stop her from announcing this at the dinner table, however. Yay. However, aside from that, as family gatherings go, this one wasn’t too bad. My mother is becoming obviously more frail, and this particular delusion is a bit concerning. Given that she has always been as formidable as a tornado and as ferocious as a tiger, this is disconcerting to see. It also foreshadows my own future, which scares the crap out of me every time I think about it. Which leads me back to the realization that I can no longer put my own health on the back burner–it has to be a priority from now on.

A bit of good news: after fighting with the national health care website for over 10 weeks, I finally got health insurance today. After jumping through hoops and sending in proof of identity, and listening to dreadful hold music again and again and again, and dealing with a series of people who varied from the bored and inarticulate to the sympathetic but unable to help, today, I finally made a payment on my new health insurance. I’m getting better coverage for half of what I was paying before. Go me. 😉

The last few years, I’ve been in the habit of naming the coming year. The Year of Living Passionately. The Year of Living without Fear. Grandiose intentions that have been better as ideas than actual actions. I suspect I’d be better off not naming the year at all, but for some reason, I keep ‘hearing’ 2014 as The Year of Living without Deprivation, which is ludicrous, given my current situation. But maybe deprivation is more than doing without material things–maybe it is doing without things that feed your soul as well. One of the things that has become painfully aware to me in recent months is how stretched thin I’ve been for so long–long enough that the state of being in tensile traction feels normal. Long enough that I almost don’t know how to manage free time when I get it now.

Backyard H_snow_resizedChanges in my work schedule recently have significantly cut my hours. Not great when I was living on a tight budget to begin with. But one of the things I’ve discovered during all of this is how disconnected and out of touch I have become with so many important things in my life. Recently, when out on a walk with the dog, it dawned on me that I didn’t have to turn around at our ‘usual’ place–that I could continue walking all day if I wanted, that I had no where to be at a specific time. It was an incredibly liberating feeling. I want more of that in 2014. More joy in doing the things that I love. Reconnecting with the people and things that I love. For the first time in a very long time, I am not so exhausted that my creativity has been completely stymied. No, I can’t do it all. On any given day, I still have to pick and choose what I’m going to do, but for the first time in a very long time, work is not sucking the life out of me. Of course, I’m having to pick and choose which bills to pay at the moment, but overall, I count this as a plus. Life is more than just clawing out a bit of space on a ledge so you can survive the night. 2012 was so bad that I requested a do-over by March. 2013 was a test of endurance. I’m ready for 2014 to come. I’m ready for things to be better. Bring it on. 🙂