Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I asked the wonderful and talented DEVIKA FERNANDO to tell us about Christmas in countries other than the United States. She compares two below, Germany and Sir Lanka. Read on for her insights :) THANK YOU Devika!

Christmas in Germany and Christmas in Sri Lanka

First of all, thanks a lot for letting me loose on your blog (again). Here’s my guest post on the differences between Christmas in Germany and Christmas in Sri Lanka. I’ve peppered the text with links so you can get a better picture of it all. J

Christmas in Germany

During my childhood in Germany, Christmas meant 5 things: yummy sweets, presents, holidays, snow, and getting to spend some time with my grandmother. Later on I learned all the songs, I tried to understand why Father Christmas / Santa Claus was accompanied by the very frightening-looking Krampus on December 6th when he visited school, and I even went to church a few times.

There’s something magical in the air during Christmas in Germany – especially in the south where snowy Christmas is all but guaranteed and where there’s a Christmas market at every corner. The so called Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas Markets) are very popular in Germany. You can find at least one in each town, and sometimes many more. In Munich alone, there are up to 25 of them. Of course each of them needs a huge, merrily decorated Christmas tree. Some are simply like huge fairs, where people walk around with a steaming mug of mulled wine and wander from stall to stall to gobble up traditional, home-made sweets like Plätzchen and Stollen, and to shop artsy-crafty gifts. Some are modern and commercial. Others resolve around a theme like the Middle Ages or reflect a village’s culture and customs. Even though I hardly ever bought anything, and even though I hate the cold with a vengeance, I will fondly remember walking through such Christmas Markets for the rest of my life. Aglow with lights and happy faces, awash with sweet and spicy and woodsy and waxy scents, and filled with things you only ever get too see around Christmas, they are a world of their own.

Christmas in Germany is inescapable. Not only because of the Markets and the Advent Calendars with 24 tiny gifts, but also because of the Sternsinger. A group of three (or more) children will wander from house to house, ring the bell and sing Christmas carols before drawing a blessing on the doorstep. They are dressed as the Three Wise Men from the Bible, and the money they receive for their songs is donated to charity for children.

Christmas in Sri Lanka

The majority of Sri Lankans is Buddhist, but at least 7% of the population are Christians. Around December, it feels like 70% though, because the media and public places are flooded with everything Christmassy you can image. It feels decidedly strange to have (artificial) Christmas Trees in shopping malls and hotels and restaurants – maybe because to me Christmas and snow are inseparable. And the temperature difference of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius sure makes itself known… Also, I can’t help laughing at Christmas carols sung in Sinhalese. I am used to German ones and I don’t mind English or Spanish ones either, but there’s something so incongruent about “Silent Night” sung in Sinhala that I can’t help but grin. Of course the food is different too, especially the Christmas Cakes and the traditional dinner (influenced by the English and Dutch colonialists).

Are there any similarities, you ask? Yes, the typical Christmas spirit of spreading joy. Christian Sri Lankans will throw lavish parties and invite friends from all religions to share the food and goodies. Children at international schools make decoration, and all the TV channels run kitsch stories about Baby Jesus, dubbed in Sinhala. Ultimately, it’s also about presents and togetherness and some moments of silent reverence among the shopping hullabaloo.

*Christmas Carols sung in Sinhalese https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EonrCveyAdc
*Christmas Cakes http://srilankafood.net/recipes/srilankanchristmascake/

DEVIKA FERNANDO writes incredible stories of romance, love, and real people in real situations. She can be found here and I HIGHLY recommend her books :)


Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Hi Everyone!
Are you ready for some fun? The WINTER WARM-UP Blog Hop is December 19-22! Over 140 Romance Authors/Bloggers signed up with prizes on EVERY blog PLUS ONE GRAND PRIZE! Click the links below to enter then get to hoppin'! Merry Christmas!

The Grand Prize will be a $75 Amazon Gift Card!
Here’s the RAFFLECOPTER link:

For THIS Blog Give Away….Make a Comment and be entered to win a copy of the JUST RELEASED e book


I admit it. I'm a hopeful romantic. I don't like the term 'hopeless romantic' because I think all romance is hopeful in some way. Besides, I don't want to be cured of my Romantic Nature. I like it. There's three movies I call my favorite romantic Christmas films, one a classic classic, one a classic, and one my new Christmas favorite. Each is, as of the posting of this blog, available on Netflix or Amazon Streaming. So grab a fluffy blanket, some tea, Christmas cookies, and a box of tissues. Then sit back and enjoy these movies with me. Happy Christmas to you and yours, I believe, and God Bless us, every one.

Rated R for sexual situations, nudity, and language (very free use of the 'f' word).

            This gem of a movie takes place in London during the five weeks leading to Christmas with a delightful countdown. It's not just one story and set of characters but at least ten in interweaving features of love, romance, and most of all, life. While I love the romance and love stories, I also love the 'realness' of them. This film tackles some heavy life subjects: death of a spouse, divorce, weddings, infidelity, family obligations, dating, career, child rearing, and many more with sensitivity, humor, and a bit of tear jerking. It boasts all star cast as well, including scene stealers from 'Mr. Bean' as a store clerk, the stoic Alan Rickman with the most comical facial expressions of any of his films combined and Martin Freeman (aka Sherlock's John Watson) as a film star, um, sex scene stand in. Be warned: Not all of the stories have a 'happy' or even a 'happily for now' ending, which while it breaks my heart, it's also 'real' to life. Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson are the strongest with a stellar performance from Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister and Colin Firth as a man I'd love to meet (plus he's a writer).

"I'm going somewhere exciting and brilliant and amazing! I'm going to Milwaukee!"
"This is so much more than a bag. You won't regret it Sir." "Want to bet?"
"You turn out to be the love of my life."
"If you can't say it at Christmas, when can you? I'm actually yours."
"Let's do it! Let's go get the s&*^ kicked outa us by love."
"I should have told her every day, because she was perfect every day."
"Yes, yes you have been a fool. But you've also made a fool out of me and made the life I lead foolish too."
"I've come here with a view of asking you to marriage me. Some will say I insane person cause I knows you no much but sometimes things are so transparency, they don't need evidential proof." (deliberate misuse of words spoken in another language)
"All I want for Christmas is you."
"I'm not usually this forward, it takes me ages to get the courage up to ask someone." (In context, the most hysterical line of the movie)
"Another thing about romance. People only get together right at the end."

Rated G, no bad language, nudity, or sexual situations
            This classic black and white movie from Hollywood's High Days of filming follows one man's fight to be taken seriously as the REAL Santa Claus. Hired by career minded single mom Doris Walker as a fill in Santa for the Macy's Christmas parade float, Kris Kringle (his real name, he claims) quickly becomes the department store Santa. Before long, he is directing customers to other stores for cheaper or 'better' products. This action scandalizes the store psychiatrist and at first shocks then delights the owner, who floods the world with Macy's 'Spirit of Sharing in the True Meaning of the Season' media campaign. Of course arch rival Gimbels must then do the same to compete for customers in a tight Christmas market. Kris even manages to bring the two competitors together in a 'cease fire', at least for Christmas. The romance comes in the form of Doris, who has been burned, and badly, by love in a past relationship. She refuses to allow her daughter Susan any sort of fantasy play or belief so she won't grow up "believing all that nonsense about a prince waiting to sweep you away". Nick's lawyer Fred Gailey helps show Doris love doesn't have to take you over, but can add to who and what you are. At the same time, Kris teaches a very lonely Susan how to play make believe and 'zoo' as a monkey. The romance is secondary to the Santa story but it is the glue that holds the whole story together. All star (for the time) cast, Maureen O'Hara rocks the Doris role, John Payne is adorable as Fred, Natalie Wood is charming as Susan, and Edmund Gwenn even had me convinced he's the REAL Santa.

"Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to."
"Didn't you, Daddy?"
"One day you're going to discover lovely intangibles are the only worthwhile things."
"When you believe…when you really believe…"
"I ask, which is worse: A lie that brings a smile or a truth which brings tears?"
"I believe. . . I believe. . . It's silly but I believe."

3. Scrooged
Rated PG 13 for language, mild violence, and sexual situations
                Many won't consider this cheesy screwball type comedy movie 'romantic' but I love the subplot story line of lovers who meet when she knocks him off his feet (literally), begin a relationship, and then separate when ambition takes one away. This re telling of the classic Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol" is a modern take on the grumpy, hateful Scrooge in the form of Bill Murray, an extremely mean TV executive named Frank, who hates Christmas, thinks only of money and position, and is rude to everyone around him. Three ghosts show him the past, present, and future, and are delightfully played by David Johansen and Carol Kane (who is hysterical as a manic angel with some serious anger management issues) and a hooded, unspeaking Chaz Conner. It's up to Frank to make the decision to change or not. When he does, during a live Christmas Eve broadcast televised in several different countries, you will stand up and dance with a wonderful rendition of 'Put a Little Love in Your Heart'.

"I'm ready for it! I am, I'm ready for the miracle to happen to me."
"She hit me with a toaster! I love a girl with spirit!" (double pun, in context)
"I've never liked a girl enough to give her twelve sharp knives."
"It says here there's a place you can touch on a woman that will make her bark like a dog."
"You don't know who you are, you don't know what you want, and you sure don't know where you are."
"It's Christmas Eve. It's not too late."
"It's the one night a year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more, and for a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be."

Monday, December 15, 2014


I have a NEW RELEASE from BREATHLESS PRESS this Friday (12.19). WHEN YOU BELIEVE is book 3 of the 'Weddings by C & C' series. See where your favorite characters (Anna & Robin) are now plus meet Abbeville's newest couple Monica and Dan. There's also a Stranger in town. Has he come to help or to harm them?

Dan and Monica's relationship gets a push from a handsome stranger, but will their love survive the test?
Monica has deep roots in the small town of Abbeville and manages the local coffee shop, which serves as the hub of town news. Deeply in love with Daniel, she still can't help but notice the gorgeous stranger, Micheal, who seemingly appears out of nowhere. When Dan begins to pull away from her, what's a girl to do? Tempted to sit home and cry, Monica is determined to push through the uncertainty. Does that mean exploring new options?

Daniel carries secrets he can't share with anyone, even Monica. He's a man with no past and no relatives, so he doesn't believe he deserves a bright future. He is certain pulling away from Monica, his love and the closest thing he has to a family, is the only way she can truly find happiness. But when tragedy strikes Abbeville, will the man with no roots become its savior? Or will he discover Micheal's true reason for appearing among them?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Honored to have the amazingly talented SHERI VELARDE back as a guest today with news and exciting blurbs on her new release LOST SOULS coming SOON.

First I want to give the lovely Mia a huge thanks for letting me stop by again! I promise to behave… well to behave as well as I can at least!

Today I thought that I would talk a little about the importance music plays in my writing process. I am a huge music lover (hello I just spent hours standing in line for Foo Fighters tickets) and music definitely plays a big part in my life and my writing. To me the type of music I listen to helps me set the mood for whatever story I am writing.

For Lost Souls, my main character is a fallen angel masquerading as a heavy metal maven here on earth, so it only made sense that I listened to a lot of female led heavy metal while writing this piece. Bands like Huntress, the Butcher Babies and Arch Enemy. All these bands embodied what I wanted Amy my heavy metal singing lady to be and I feel that the music helped Amy come into being. A minor character in the beginning of the story is even based off of metal legend Lemmy from Motorhead. To say that metal helped make this story come into being would be an understatement. And to me that is the power of music and writing when combined, one can serve to influence the other and that is why I love my music, metal or otherwise!


Amy is a fallen angel living life on earth as a rock star, embracing her bad behavior and becoming a heavy metal goddess. With the excesses of her new career she almost feels happy. Almost. However something her old friend Aphrodite once promised her is still missing, love.
Jade is a sweet and sexy woman, trying to make a place for herself in this lonely world. Lost in Los Angeles and just looking for a somewhere she belongs. As the holidays approach she only realizes how alone she truly is in the unforgiving city of Lost Souls.
One night these two meet seemingly out of the blue and sparks fly. It is as if something is drawing them towards each other. Now they both are learning what true happiness can feel like, if only some secrets don’t rip them apart before their love even has a chance to bloom.

Buy Links:

Author Links:


Suddenly she felt a warming sensation shooting through her body, something she had never felt before in her long life. She turned to see what had caused it, or she should say who. A beautiful woman with piercing green eyes and waist-length auburn hair stood in the doorway, casual jeans and black T-shirt hugging her body’s generous curves. She was the most alluring creature Amy had ever seen, and she was staring right at her with a look of intensity in her eyes, as if she had been searching for Amy all along and had finally found her. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity before the connection was broken, the pale beauty shaking her head and heading towards an empty seat on the other end of the bar and returning Amy’s senses to her.

With the spell suddenly broken, Amy once again could hear Len finishing up his story as if nothing special had just happened. What the hell was that? Was the woman at the other end of the bar some sort of demon? She had to be magical and otherworldly to cause such a reaction. She certainly had otherworldly looks. Even though her hips and breasts were more ample than most angels and the like, she had the body of a goddess that begged to be touched. Amy shook her head. Len had finished, so she ordered them another round of drinks. As soon as her martini arrived she downed it and immediately signaled for another. If only alcohol affected her like it did most humans she would probably be calming down by now and not worrying about the mystery woman. Instead she still felt strange, like something had come alive inside her for the first time. She risked a glance at the red-headed siren down the way. The subtle temptress was sipping a beer, chatting with a bartender on that side of the bar. Suddenly she laughed and her whole face lit up, causing Amy to at once be jealous of the bartender and to want to be next to this woman and be the one making her laugh.

She must have been staring, for Len interrupted her inner turmoil. “She’s a looker, all right. A woman with curves too, not one of those too-skinny Hollywood types. They’re a rarity out here nowadays. If I were younger I might try to fight you for her.” He laughed. “Of course, if she picks you I would be out of the running anyways; you know, that pesky penis and all.”

It was Amy’s turn to laugh. “You know some women like both men and women.”

Len winked knowingly at her. “So I have been told. But I’ve never taken you to be the sharing sort of gal. Now get over there and let one of us live the fantasy tonight. After all, we are rock stars, go act like one!”