Friday, December 2, 2011

Crafting the Holidays

My apologies for the late posting. Blogger was having technical difficulties with loading pictures last night and this morning. I finally used a different browser and it worked. Yay!

My guest is romance author, Tawny Weber.
Tawny has a new trilogy with Blaze, Undercover Ops, and I’m enjoying the shenanigans of Tobias Black, former con man, who is determined to bring his three strong willed children home. They’re not inclined to oblige and so Tobias gets creative.
Tawny shares some of her crafting ideas for the holidays with us. Hope you enjoy her creativity—both with the craft projects and her new story.  

One of my favorite things about the holidays is finding craft ideas to make as gifts and decorations. 

I hope I pass this love of crafting gifts on to my children.  Neither are quite as crafty and into making things as I am, but they’ve been known to put together a scrapbook, painting or ceramic figurine from time to time.  If nothing else, they know that Christmas time means giving from the heart. 

For my crafting fun this year, I’m doing few gift projects.  One is an advent calendar.  I used my oldest daughter’s new puppy for the photo on the first one, and a picture of my youngest daughter and our shepherd mix when she was a pup for the other.  Keeping with the pet theme, the other gifty project I’m doing are pet ornaments.  I made one last year for myself and figured it’d be a great present for the pet-loving people on my list (at least, if I have pictures of their pets, it will *g*)  I used an old CD, covered with paper and punched holes all around.  Super simple and quick, and a gift I’m hoping my youngest daughter will help with J 

I don’t think there were a lot of crafty sort of gifts in the Black home when my hero, Caleb was growing up.  But even deprived of glitter and paste, this is a family that embraces traditions.  Of course, their traditions fall more toward ways to con people (especially each other) but still... ya gotta love a family that keeps tradition alive, right?   Caleb didn’t celebrate the holidays much after he left his hometown.  Instead, he entered the dark, dreary world of undercover DEA work.  So coming home at the holidays is more than just a demand to deal with his past, it’s also a chance to reconnect with the joy of the holidays.  And small, eccentric towns like Black Oak do the holidays up right! 

  • So how about you? 
Are you a fan of holiday crafts? If not, what traditions do you tend to follow? 
And I have a question... what kind of goodies and treats would you suggest I fill the advent calendars with?  I can only give my kids a certain amount of candy before I start seeing visions of dental bills dancing in my head :-D 
  • Share your thoughts, and I’ll draw a random name from the comments to win their very own signed copy of Caleb’s story, SEX, LIES AND MISTLETOE!

SEX LIES AND MISTLETOE—available in stores and online

He sees her when she's sleeping... 

Undercover DEA agent Caleb Black is home for the holidays—possibly to bust his own father. But maybe Caleb's con man dad isn't the one running drugs through the small town of Black Oak. Maybe it's the green eyed goddess who runs the New Age shop and has Caleb under her sultry spell.
Pandora Easton saved the family store with two words: sex sells. And her delectable aphrodisiacs really work, as she's proven with notorious bad boy Caleb again and again and again.
Little does she guess that, in the end, her most potent potion will be the truth...EXCERPT

Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy stories for Harlequin Blaze since her first book hit the shelves in 2007.  When not obsessing over deadlines, she’s shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking or hanging out on Facebook and Twitter.  Come by and visit her on the web at  

In December of 2011 Tawny launched her Undercover Ops series with SEX, LIES AND MISTLETOE.  The second book in the series, SEX, LIES & MIDNIGHT is on shelves in January 2012, quickly followed in February by SEX, LIES & VALENTINES.  Be sure to follow Tawny on her Holiday Survival Tour as she celebrates these three books with contests, giveaways and lots of fun.  You can read the first chapter of SEX, LIES & MISTLETOE on her website, all you have to do is join the Reader LoveFest!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Joanne Kennedy is my guest and she's brought her Hooligans, a bit of small town Americana, and some fun conversations. Oh, let's not forget the tall dark cowboy!

Actually, like the song says, he's not that easy to forget...*contented sigh.

I love hearing from readers. But recently, I received an e-mail that gave me a stab of remorse.

“Your books make me want to move to a small town,” it said. “One where I can find a cowboy who will really love me and my three kids.”

I write about ranch life and small towns, celebrating old-fashioned values like community and caring. But was I raising readers’ expectations too high? There aren’t many storybook places in the real world—are there?

I’ve been living in the city for too long. It was time for a road trip—one that would confirm that the world I was writing about really existed. Loading my husband and the Hooligans into my trusty Subaru, I headed for the closest cluster of small towns.

The first town was proof that reality doesn’t always match the wishful world of fiction. It was November, so the bright sky of summer had changed to solid, wintry gray. The wind was cold and biting. A string of battered buildings huddled together in a crooked row beside a street pockmarked with holes and patched asphalt. There were no sounds except wind rattling dry sagebrush, and the harsh, lonely cry of a crow.

And I was encouraging people to believe this was some kind of romantic paradise.

Worse yet, I was hungry, and the only place to eat in the next town was the Longhorn Grocery and Cafe. You can usually judge a small-town eatery by the number of trucks parked outside—and there wasn’t a single one.

But it was early in the day. When noon struck, the place filled up quickly. And as the townspeople filed in, my world—the world of my novels—bloomed right before my eyes.
“Oh, you brought the boys!” the cook crowed as a middle-aged lady walked in. I turned, expecting to see a couple of kids, but instead two fragile elderly gentlemen stumped in, canes tapping. The crowd grew, and sure enough, everybody knew everybody else. Gossip and greetings filled the air. It was just like one of my books—except the dialogue was even better. Here’s a sample:

Lady #1: “What happened to you?”

Lady with Arm in Sling: “I fell downstairs. But at least I didn’t run over myself like Bob did.”

 Run over yourself? I thought. How do you do that?

 Gentleman #1: “He never learns. He left that pickup running while he went in the post office the other day. Says he puts it in park now, though.”

Gentleman #2: “That’s not as bad as Ed Simmons. He got hit by the school bus. Didn’t hurt him much, but he yelled at the driver. He said, ‘What’d ya hit me for? You know I turn here every day!’” 

By the time I finished my cheeseburger, my conscience was cleared along with my plate. These towns might look bleak from the street, but once you took the time to step inside, they’re full of life and love.

And I realized that it’s the bleakness, the hardship, and the challenge of living in this part of the world that brings these people together. Community is created by common interests and shared enemies like the weather and the wind.

So when you’re driving through small-town America, keep in mind that even in a place that looks hopeless on the outside, there’s life and love and family behind the lighted windows—just like in a romance novel.

Tall, Dark and Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy—In Stores November 2011
She’s looking for an old friend…

 In the wake of a nasty divorce, Lacey Bradford heads for Wyoming where she’s sure her old friend will take her in. But her high school pal Chase Caldwell is no longer the gangly boy who would follow her anywhere. For one thing, he’s now incredibly buff and handsome, but that’s not all that’s changed… 

What she finds is one hot cowboy…

 Chase has been through tough times and is less than thrilled to see the girl who once broke his heart. But try as he might to resist her, while Lacey’s putting her life back together, he’s finding new ways to be part of it. Excerpt

Joanne Kennedy is the author of three previous contemporary Western romances for Sourcebooks. She brings a wide variety of experience, ranging from chicken farming to horse training, to her sexy, spicy cowboy stories. She is a 2011 finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of American RITA© Awards, for One Fine Cowboy. Joanne lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she is working on her next book, Cowboy Crazy (June 2012). 

For more information, please visit