Category Archives: Blog Hop

Christmas in July Blog Hop

Christmas-in-July-Giveaway-Hop

Happy July, Friends!! And welcome to Christmas in July! (I’m reminded of the years I lived in the Caribbean, and Christmas was always hot. Santa came in on a jet ski! Ha!)

Our blog hop fun this month is to feature and give away a Christmas book. I’m delighted to offer Seeking Christmas as my giveaway. I’ll be giving a copy to TWO winners. To enter, simply leave a comment below and be sure to include your email address.

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Here’s the blurb:  

The Christmas season has eighteen-year-old Courtney crossing the state line with her little brother Dennis to rendezvous with the man who deserted them years ago. Courtney remembers him only as the tall man who ran away. Dennis doesn’t remember him at all.

Courtney is furious, but Denny is curious. Will their meeting result in a happy Christmas memory or another miserable disappointment?

And a little taste:

My phone buzzed against my leg. I pulled it from my pocket and checked the screen.

Doyle.

Such a stupid name.

For such a stupid man.

My gaze darted to where my mom lay slumped on the couch, her mouth hanging open and a gentle snore escaping her saggy lips. My brother Denny sat hunched over his math workbook at the kitchen table, a death grip on his pencil. His short, scrawny legs swung to and fro.

I pressed the phone to my chest and took the stairs two at a time to my room.

“What do you want?” My voice was tense, short. With a steel hold on the phone, I strode to the window and stared out. Across the street, strings of Christmas lights drooped over a fir tree, winking at me in all their sparkling glory.

I turned away.

“You know what I want. Please, Courtney.” The pleading in his voice rankled like a cat scratching at the back door.

“No.”

“But it’s been over seven years. It’s time.”

“And whose fault is that?” My words cut.

“You don’t need to remind me.” A heaving sigh came across the line.

I stood ramrod straight beside my single bed and gazed around the empty expanse of the master bedroom. I attempted to shove down the lump of anger in my throat.

“Dad, the answer is no.”

“I would meet you way more than halfway. I’ve got it all arranged. There’s a motel room for you. Your own. No sharing.”

“Mom would come unglued.” I sank onto the mussed flannel sheets and impatiently kicked aside a stray slipper. It struck my dresser and lay over like a dead animal.

“Your mother won’t talk to me.”

I went quiet and listened to his raspy breath. Despite my objections, despite my bitterness, curiosity pulled. I attempted to stifle it, knowing that giving in would mean wading into quicksand.

“Court? Come on, for old time’s sake?”

Resentment ripped through me. “Old time’s sake? Are you freakin’ kidding me?”

“How’s Tiffany?” he asked, changing the subject to my sister.

“Horrid, as usual. Seeing you last year didn’t help her any.”

“I tried. I wanted her to stay.”

“Yeah, well, you had a weird way of showing it.” I grew tired of the conversation. Such a pathetic waste of time.

I threw my cell onto the covers and moved to the walk-in closet. My gray hoodie sagged on a row of pegs running above an unused shoe rack. My four pairs of shoes lay scattered across the floor, resembling lonely children in a deserted playground. Like the massive room, the closet was wasted on me. My meager collection of clothes barely took one third of the space.

I pulled on my hoodie, adjusted my glasses, and went back downstairs. Bending over, I plugged in the lights on the waist-high Christmas tree perching on the coffee table.

Denny looked up, and his face relaxed into a grin. “Thanks, Court. I forgot to plug ‘em in.”

“Finished with your math yet?”

“One more problem.”

“There are some chips in the cupboard if you’re hungry.”

Denny jumped off his chair and scrambled into the kitchen. The cupboard door slammed shut, and he returned with his arm elbow-deep in the foil bag.

I chuckled. “I’m going for a walk. And no more banging around. Let Mom sleep.”

I grabbed my heavy wool jacket and carefully opened the condo door, clicking it shut behind me. The cold December air lent a crisp clarity to the stars. They seemed near enough to gather in my pocket. I headed west toward the ocean. A biting breeze brought the sour smell of seaweed and blew my dark, feathered hair against my cheeks. I checked the time on my phone. Keegan should intercept me any minute.

For those of you that like to escape to the beach during the summer months, you’d probably enjoy Buried Truth, PlayerCornered, and The Return. (See the covers above and right.) If you’re like me, you’re always in the mood for a good beach read!  😀

Remember to leave a comment below (with your email) to be entered in the drawing!

To visit other blogs in the hop, click here. I wish you all a super day!

And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Brenda

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Giveaway Hop

Freedom-to-Read-Hop

Greetings, Friends! Welcome to our Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop! I hope you have a great time “hopping” around between all of the participating blogs. Remember that there are free books or prizes at each stop, so you won’t want to miss any blogs!

I’m delighted that you’ve stopped by my blog. Here, you will find many contemporary teen reads. (I have adult fans, too! Personally, I love reading YA.) Please give a glance at the books in the side margin. I hope you’ll find one or two that intrigue you. Some of them are bargain-priced!

As we’re focusing on freedom for this blog hop, I’d like to share some quotes with you:

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.  Nelson Mandela

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.   Jim Morrison

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.   George Washington

I thought these quotes were especially thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy them, too.

For this blog hop, I am giving away a copy of Cornered and Player. To be entered in the drawing, simply click on the link below!!

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To find the other blog hop participants, click here.

Good luck! I’d love to hear from you. What does freedom mean to you?

Thank you, again!

And as always, thanks for stopping by,

Brenda

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Writing Process

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Greetings, Friends! Thanks for joining me as I ruminate about writing. I’ve been tagged by my good friend, Jim Cangany. (By the way, he has two dynamite sweet romance books out, plus a Christmas story. Visit him here!) So here are my answers to the assigned questions!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My genre is contemporary young adult. I think one thing that sets my books apart is my effort to keep things PG rated. I’ve found that there is quite a large contingent of readers who like books without any embarrassment factor.

Why do I write what I do?

I’m lucky to spend massive time around teens, so I get an inside look into their world. These resilient young adults inspire me. I get to see the challenges they face. I see their tears of both joy and anguish. These wonderful teens are often my inspiration.

The biggest compliment to me is when my students read and enjoy my books. Sometimes, a teen will walk into class steaming about one of my characters. I love that! If I’ve brought a character to life enough that my students want to strangle him, I’ve accomplished my dream!

How does my writing process work?

My first drafts can be quite messy. I just want to get the story down. Then, my inner critic takes over and I start cleaning them up. I also find that reading my stories out loud to be unbelievably helpful. The things I hear — well, sometimes I can’t believe I didn’t see the mistakes the first three or four or five times through! Ha!

I sneak in writing time whenever I can. Early morning is best for me. I get my quota finished and then I feel a sense of accomplishment! It can get hectic, and writers (including me) often push ourselves too hard. Recently, I took a few weeks off to concentrate on other aspects of the writing business. It made me realize that breaks can be valuable!

How about you, dear readers. I know some of you are writers, too. Any thoughts to share?  I’d love to hear from you.

And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Brenda

P.S. Join my Newsletter Gang! It’s fun and free.  Click here!

P.P.S.  Read about the latest characters my students want to strangle:

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Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

Greetings, Friends!  The very thought of spring turns my thoughts toward fresh garden food. I remember when I used to live on the West Coast; we could start planting in April. But as I’ve mentioned in this blog before, sometimes planting in May can get you in trouble here in Indiana!

However, in the spirit and hope of fresh garden veggies, I’d like to share a simple recipe with you:

Strawberry and Arugula Salad

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 4 cups baby arugula (other light spring greens can be substituted
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

To Prepare:

  1. Toast walnuts or almonds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. You’ll need to stir frequently. When slightly browned (3 to 5 minutes), transfer to a salad bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Add arugula (or other greens), strawberries, pepper and salt. Toss with vinegar and oil. Serve at once.

Enjoy!!

Take time to visit the other authors participating in this blog hop! (Link below.) To be entered in the GRAND PRIZE  — we are giving away a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a $25 gift card for the same — visit every blog and be sure to leave a comment which includes your email address.

The PRIZE at this website is a $5 Gift Card from Amazon! A winner will be randomly chosen from the commenters.

I hope you’ll want to check out my latest release from the Ocean Mist Series:

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For a limited time, it is merely 99 cents on Amazon. Click here and buy!

For those of you with young children, check out Lynda Raymond Books. Each book comes with a FREE video book for your child or grandchild. CLICK HERE! 

I’m eager to hear from you. Do any of you have favorite spring recipes?

HERE is the link to visit all participating blogs!!

And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Brenda

 

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A Spring in Your Step Blog Hop

Greetings, Friends! I write this with sincere hope that we are truly moving into spring! New beginnings are always a thrill, and spring is full of new beginnings!

To celebrate the new season, here are some beautiful quotes of spring:

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”  Rainier Maria Rilke

“I glanced out the window at the signs of spring. The sky was almost blue, the trees were almost budding, the sun was almost bright.”   Millard Kaufman

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. (Sonnet XCVIII)”   William Shakespeare

“The deep roots never doubt spring will come.”  Marty Rubin

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”  John Muir

And perhaps my favorite:

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”   Margaret Atwood

Of course, this is my favorite because I simply adore digging in the dirt. In Indiana, that is pretty much an impossibility during the winter. I could break a shovel trying! But when the ground thaws, you’ll find me out ankle deep in the mud. I love it! Ever optimistic, I often plant too soon. I’ve been known to run around at night putting blankets over my fragile new plants.

Which of course, is why God created tulips and daffodils and narcissus.  🙂

Wherever you live, I wish you thawed gardens and sunny skies. If you feel like taking off for the Washington Coast to enjoy a coming-of-age romance, grab a copy of Cornered. Find out if Courtney is able to save her sister, capture the guy’s heart, and still care for her ill mom who has fibromyalgia.

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If you’d like to enter to win a FREE copy of Buried Truth (Ocean Mist Book One), ENTER our Rafflecopter giveaway!

To visit my fellow bloggers:

Click here!

If there are little ones in your life, you’ll enjoy visiting Lynda Raymond Books.  Click here: Lynda Raymond Books.

Tell me about your spring rituals. I love hearing from you!

And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Brenda

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Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

Leap into books hop

Greetings, Friends! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this has been quite a winter. So, although Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to leap into spring, we are ready to leap into books. (Always!) The weather doesn’t matter, right? In fact, books can help us escape any type of weather to all sorts of magical worlds.

If you’re in the mood to escape to the Washington Coast, you’ll enjoy my young adult Ocean Mist Series. In fact, the prize book bundle I’m giving away during this hop includes PDF copies of Player, Buried Truth, and Cornered. You can follow Courtney, Tiffany, Andrew, and Keegan as they struggle to overcome confusion, angst, and love gone wrong. To be eligible to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below!

Do you know any teen girls who are frustrated or struggling with the whole dating scene? I have a book for that! Grab a copy of Dating Advice for Girls from the Guys and give it as a gift. This book climbs inside a teen guy’s head and let’s you see what he’s thinking. A great group of guys freely shared their wants, needs, and even annoyances regarding the girls with me. And I’ve put it all in this book for you. No worries! It’s PG rated. So grab a copy for someone today!

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If you’d like to get in on contests for FREE Amazon gift cards and news of hot new releases, click here! That click gives you access to my free Newsletter Gang!

Here’s hoping for a warmer March! For a chance to win the book bundle, remember to leave a comment below!

And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Brenda

Click here to Visit  other Participating Blogs

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Warm Welcome to M.J. Stewart!

AuthorPicHello, Dear Friends! Today, I’m welcoming M.J. Stewart to my blog! We’re celebrating the release of her book, Two Degrees from Zero! Be sure to leave a comment as Stewart will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Also, I’d love to have you join my FREE Newsletter Gang! Be the first to get the news about my releases, contests, and opportunities for prizes. Get Access Here!

And now, some info about M.J. Stewart’s new book!

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Two Degrees from Zero is about friends who face danger in the cold Colorado mountains.

M.J. Stewart has written an entertaining adventure story featuring two young teens who are easy to like. Derek is struggling with very serious issues and his best friend Janae is right there with him the whole way. Even with terrible blizzards, abandonment, dangerous tough guys after Derek, and an almost-step-dad that he doesn’t like or trust, Derek, along with Janae, takes on the tough job of doing what needs to be done.

Here’s an excerpt for you!

“You know we’re missing an ultimate powder rush, because we have to ride in this goofy sleigh,” Derek said to Janae.

“Here you go,” Janae said. “Ruining this amazing experience because of your grumpiness.”

“Not grumpy on the slopes today,” Derek said. “Thomas spent lots of bucks on this trip, but I wish he’d stop acting like my dad, or really my Fake Dad.”

“Be nicer to your mom’s friend.”

“Easy for you to say,” Derek retorted. “Want to do the rails with me tomorrow?”

“Maybe. You were so full of yourself ripping through the pow,” Janae teased. “You’re a hucker, and you’ll try whatever trick you see another guy doing. You charge fast, fly through the air, and sometimes you even land upright.”

“I’m not a hucker. Wish I could lay down some cool tricks like the pros do,” Derek said.

“I saw you rolling down the windows a couple of times,” Janae said. “I’ll stick to the jumps.”

“Guess you’ll do anything to catch your balance. I like my cool Burton board I got at the rental shop. Except the left strap gave me trouble,” Derek complained.

“So that’s your excuse for not landing tricks,” Janae said.

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A bit about M.J. and her Links:

M.J. Stewart is a Colorado author and lives in Colorado Springs. Her love for the outdoors has provided many exciting adventures and include downhill skiing, biking, hiking, camping, and nature photography.

Facebook

Twitter

Buy her book on Amazon

Don’t forget to leave a comment and your email below to be entered in the drawing!

Have any of you had any great snow adventures lately! I’d love to hear about them.

And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Brenda

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