Aspen

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By The Fire is set in Aspen, Colorado.

I thought I’d share ten fun things to do in Aspen in December.

1. Ski. Obviously.

2. Take a sleigh ride.

3. Enjoy the festivities of Aspen’s 12 Days of Christmas celebration.

4. Have a burger at The White House Tavern.

5. Check out the John Denver Sanctuary.

6. Enjoy the view from the Silver Queen Gondola ride.

7. Snowshoe through some of the trails.

8. Visit the Wheeler Opera House.

9. See the exhibits at the Aspen Art Museum.

10. Have a drink at the Aspen Brewing Company.

 

 

(Image by skeeze from Pixabay)

Deck The Halls.

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When I start a story, nine times out of ten, I’ve already figured out the title. Every once in a while, I end up having to change it midway through. (Forged in Flood, for example, was The Blacksmith even after I’d finished it then I had to change the title. The Misguided Confession also went through a name change midway.)

My latest holiday short story definitely fit into the one time out of ten.

It went through several different titles.

First, it was Screw You Santa Clause, but the story changed enough the title didn’t fit.

Then came a few different ideas I bounced around with my beta readers: Dim The Lights, Broken Baubles, Holiday Heartbreak. None of those fit the story that was developing. I find it really difficult to write without a title. Almost every time, I have a title beforehand.

So, three chapters into By The Fire, I just hated Broken Baubles as a holiday title. It wasn’t working. Every time I pulled up the word document, the title annoyed me so much.

So much.

I spent an entire day looking through holiday phrases, listening to songs, etc.

And then, By The Fire hit me.

It was perfect.

It said what I wanted to say. I wanted this holiday novella to be about romance and comfort. What’s more comforting than sitting beside a fireplace?

If you’re an author, do you start your story with or without a title already decided?

 

 

Top Five Holiday Movies

Well, it’s December. Officially. That means I can watch holiday movies and listen to holiday music without getting side eyes from people.

So, here are my top five holiday-themed movies, in no particular order:

– Love Actually (Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson kill me every time.)

– A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart version)

– A Christmas Carol (Animated version with Jim Carrey

– Last Holiday

– The Holiday

Bonus: A White Christmas

And honestly, you can add A Christmas Carol with George C Scott as well lol. Oh, and I always watch at least one of the Harry Potter movies in December.

Do you have a favourite holiday movie?

Happy Holidays!

Whatever you celebrate during December, I hope you have a happy, safe, and peaceful holidays. May you connect with people who love and cherish you.

I thought I’d share some of my personal holiday traditions with you, ones that I’ve developed over the years since I left home by myself and with my husband. I grew up in an abusive home, so Christmas for me, as an adult, is about finding joy and comfort with those who actually care about me–not those who should’ve but don’t.

  • We always do appetizers and board games on Dec 24th.
  • A new holiday movie every year–one we haven’t seen.
  • I watch Little Women in December (at least once).
  • We always have one carton of eggnog (the good kind, not the weird kind in the tin).
  • Christmas dinner is one that I usually experiment with new recipes.

Do you have holiday traditions? Anything special you do?

How to Celebrate the Holidays…

…when you hate them.

Or, in other words, how Scottie celebrates Christmas.

Scottie Monk loathes the holidays. It’s the worst time of the year in his opinion. Here are a few suggestions he has for how to make it through December holiday parties and celebrations:

  1. Don’t.
  2. Seriously. Just fucking don’t.
  3. Have a drink.
  4. Repeat Step 3.
  5. Start over at 1.

As to why, here’s a list of what he hates about them:

  1. Everything.
  2. See above.

Do you love celebrating the holidays? Or, like Scottie, do you prefer to hide until all the fun is over?

 

Happy Holidays!

Find the Blackbird Anthology exclusively on Amazon for $2.99. starting December 19th until December 22nd  when it will return to the regular price of $4.99.

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When a group of lonely shifters came together during their service with the Royal marines, they never imagined the strong pack that would develop between them.  Channeling their special operative training, they built a security firm with two alpha wolves at the head of a motley crew of shifters not known for playing well-together.

They’ve lived their lives as outcasts from their own individual species of shifters choosing to form a family with each other instead.  Until Now.  Follow the Blackbird pack as they fall victim to love one by one.

Can they guard their own hearts?

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Merry Christmas!

Blueand White Christmas Still Life

 

In Masquerade, Ivy attends a ball with Alicia, Alim and Dane. In the first draft of the story, I had Steve and Gareth show up at the dance, but it ended up not quite working right. The final version has them showing up, but not in the ballroom. I thought perhaps as a little Christmas pressie, I’d give you a little bit of Steve, Gareth and Ivy.

                “What are we doing?” Ivy asked finally, exasperated with the silently mysterious Gareth sitting in the driver’s seat of Steve’s Aston Martin. “Gareth. I got all dolled up for this, I’d like to know where I’m being taken.”

                “Patience.”

                “That’s rich coming from you.” She glanced out at window as they flew by the people walking down pavement. “And we had to do this the day before Christmas?”

                “Yes.”

                “Git.”

                “Don’t speak ill of Steve when he’s not here,” Gareth teased.

                With a roll of her eyes at his abysmal joke, Ivy went back to watching the scenery go by. She’d learned it pointless to attempt to argue with Gareth about his ridiculous love of driving well beyond any limits. She simply attempted not to appear as if she were clinging to her seat belt for dear life.

                Honestly.

                Git.

                It was how Gareth preferred to drive, not that Steve was much better. He simply didn’t seem to get as much pleasure out of it as the younger wolf did. She stretched her arm out until she could rest her hand on his thigh.

                “Gareth?” Ivy’s brow furrowed in confusion while he pulled into the parking garage across from the jazz club where he’d taken her on their first date. “It’s a little early for jazz, eh?”

                “Were you aware of the fact your good friend Dane knows the owner of the club?”

                “Dane knows everyone.” Ivy took his hand as he helped her out of the vehicle. She adjusted the full skirt on her dress. “So why are we here and what does my prat of a friend have to do with anything?”

                “You danced with Alim.” Gareth glared at her petulantly which made her laugh at him. “Ivy.”

                It wasn’t until they stepped inside the club that Ivy realized he must have booked out the entire place for the night. There was no other reason for the place to be quite so deserted. She was slightly dazed as he took her hand to lead her through the tables towards the open space set aside for dancing.

                “Gareth Richardson.” Ivy gasped when his fingers tightened on hers. Gareth used his hold to guide her away from him then spin her back into his arms. “Did you set this up just for a dance? You sweet, absurd git.”

                “Merry Christmas, love.”

                “Jealous git.” She smiled while they moved in slow circles to the soft jazz playing in the background. She rested her head on his chest and looped her arms around him. “Thank you.”

                She hadn’t thought Gareth had this suave dancer in him. He confidently led her around the room, pausing occasionally to dip her low or tilt her head up for a kiss. It was everything she’d hoped for at the masquerade, but never gotten. She almost wished Steve had been there to dance with her as well.

                “May I cut in?”

                “You gits planned this.” Ivy’s eyes narrowed on the wolf in front of her and then the one behind her.

                “The appropriate response to romantic gestures is thank you, love.” Steve stepped up to her. His hand rested on her waist while his other reached up to cover the hand Gareth had rested on her shoulder. “Think we can dance together?”

                “And not fall on our arses?” Ivy’s words proved true a moment later when Gareth attempted to twist the three of them around only to land on the floor in a pile. “I stand by my initial thought—gits.”