Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Thanks to everyone who left a comment! Vickie Dailey and Barbara Hopkins are the winners! 


Happy New Year! I’m very glad to be back after taking the last two weeks of December off for vacation. Mr. B and I took the kids to Los Angeles. We skipped Disney, but had all sorts of other excellent adventures. My oldest is really into art, so we hauled over to the new Getty, and let him sketch to his heart’s content. Of course the little two followed suit, so I have a ton of photos of all three of them spread out in every single gallery, sketching away in their pads. We also visited the Peterson Automobile Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits (huge hit!), the beach, the Griffith Observatory, the Santa Monica Pier, and on our way back north, the Mission at Santa Barbara. Did I mention we drove? Oh, yes. We drove–our longest road trip to date, and all in all, I’d say it went really well. It was a really nice way to close out a very busy year.

Writing-wise, things were very busy. I had three releases in 2013 . . . the third and fourth Star Harbor books, Long Simmering Spring and Slow Summer Burn, as well as a holiday novella, Christmas in TahoeAlthough I only have one release currently slated for 2014 (an omnibus of the Star Harbor series containing all four Star Harbor books, which is on sale January 27th), there may be others, so stay tuned for news! Releases aside, I have an ambitious writing schedule ahead, including the first two books of my Connecticut contemporary series, as well as another novella! And I have a few speaking engagements and appearances scheduled so far, including later this month at Silicon Valley RWA, and at the Redwood Writers Conference up in Sonoma in April. I’ll also definitely be at the big national RWA conference in San Antonio in July.

I didn’t make goals for 2014, per se. I just did a detailed analysis of my work schedule, built the writing into it, and am going to hope for the best! We’ll just have to see whether I get it all done when I check in next January, but I’m optimistic. After all, most of the talks I give are on organizing time to write, so I’d better be good at organizing my own time!

One thing I absolutely must do is give away my huge pile of books/swag. I know I’ve said this before, but these books are taking up most of the available space on my dresser, and I think Mr. B is getting rather annoyed by the clutter. So let me welcome in the new year by giving away two (2) copies of Emily March’s excellent Reflection Point. Love this series, love this woman, and contemporary small town romance is the perfect way to start off 2014! Leave a comment letting me know if you have made any resolutions this year (or if you believe resolutions are simply made to be broken!). Contest ends Thursday, January 9 at 9pm Pacific and winners will be announced on Friday. U.S. only, please, since these are paperbacks!


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Thanks for all your comments! gds is the winner! Next week I’m going to post an excerpt from the book, so stay tuned for that, plus more!


Sorry for the radio silence. I promised I’d be back on October 14th with a giveaway, and I didn’t quite make that deadline because not only was I on vacation two weekends in a row (shocker, I know!), but a lot of writing-related stuff was going on behind the scenes. And now, I have some huge news to share with you:

So remember that Tahoe novel I wrote earlier this year? The one with the two lonely people who find and heal each other over Christmas? Well . . . drum roll, please . . . I’m thrilled to announce that Christmas in Tahoe will be released on November 11th, just in time for the holiday season! I will be revealing my cover soon, but have the blurb now. Ready? Here we go:

Silicon Valley actuary Ann Smith is an expert at calculating probabilities, but lately the odds haven’t been in her favor. Two years ago her fiancé died a week before their planned Christmas wedding, leaving Ann heartbroken and alone. When a friend suggests heading up to Lake Tahoe for a long Christmas weekend of skiing, wine, and relaxation, Ann thinks it might be just the thing to help get her life back on track. But Ann’s plans go awry when her friend cancels at the last minute, and Ann ends up driving to Tahoe with Chase Deckert, a sexy snowboarder who pushes all her buttons.

Chase Deckert is a man who lives by his own rules. A few years ago his business partner betrayed him by selling out their biomedical research for a quick profit. Chase left science far behind, and now spends his days snowboarding in Tahoe, wanting nothing to do with the dog-eat-dog world of Silicon Valley. Chase has closed his mind and his heart and only believes in one thing: fate. But fate seems to be in a giving mood, because joining him for Christmas is a brave, beautiful woman who shows him the true meaning of the season and helps him rediscover a part of himself he’d long forgotten.

Fueled by the mountain scenery, the season, and their unbelievable chemistry, Ann and Chase end up learning more about each other—and themselves—than they ever imagined possible. Can one long, steamy Christmas help them realize they’re meant to be together? Or when the holiday is over will they be right back where they started?

This was a very emotional write for me. Annie and Chase are real people with deep issues, who connect during what is supposed to be the happiest time of year. Unfortunately, the season has sad memories for both of them, and they’re none too thrilled to be celebrating, least of all with each other. To put it in perspective for you, the first time I cried while writing (and rewriting) a scene was for this book.

But don’t worry: there are also moments of absolute joy, and true to form, it is a very sexy read!

Stay tuned for more updates, including the cover reveal, giveaways, blog tour listings, and more, more, more! All this will be happening very fast, given that release day is in a few short weeks, so keep your eye on this page (and my newsletter, which always goes out first as an exclusive)!

Finally, for those of you who live in the Bay Area, I’ll be reading and signing at The Village Book Shop in Los Gatos this Thursday, October 24, from 7-9pm for their Grand Opening week. Check out my appearances page for more info.

And if you’ve made it this far, I have a giveaway for you: an audiobook of your choice (swag from RWA and there are some J.D. Robb stories in my pile!). Just leave a comment letting me know how you feel about getting Christmas catalogs this early, because ye gads, I already have a stack a foot high of my own!

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I’ve got my jigsaw puzzle, my hot cocoa, and my Jane Austen, so I’m good through New Year’s! I’ll be taking a break from blogging until January to spend time with my family, but before I go, I figured I’d reflect a bit on the events of this year (which isn’t quite over).

For me, 2012 was a big year. My oldest child started kindergarten, I gained significant experience as a writing coach, and generally kept a household of five up and running. Oh, yes, and I debuted as a romance author!

I was thrilled to have Random House publish my first two books as part of its Loveswept line. Deep Autumn Heat kicked off the Star Harbor series, featuring the sexy-as-sin Grayson brothers, and Blaze of Winter followed a few months later. Folks had a lot of wonderful things to say about these books, and I was grateful for all the positive reviews and comments.

I also attended my first conference—Romance Writers of America’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California—where I had a chance to spend quality time with my fabulous editor and equally fabulous fellow Loveswept authors! Through RWA, I also participated in my first book signing (sensing a pattern of firsts here?) and throughout the year, I was honored to speak on several panels covering topics such as writing, editing, and my path to becoming a published author.

There’s a lot more in the pipeline for 2013, as two more Star Harbor books will give the other Grayson brothers ample opportunities for romance. Long Simmering Spring (Cole’s story) is due out in May, and is now available for pre-order on Amazon and B&N. Slow Summer Burn (Val’s story) will be released in August. I love both of these books, and I adore both of these heroes.

I’m also hard at work on a new series. Intimate relationships, secondary characters that pop off the pages, a fabulous Connecticut setting—I’m really psyched about how it’s developing and hope to have more to report next year.

Finally, thanks to the friendships I made at RWA and throughout the romance community, I plan to do more collaborative blogging next year. Stay tuned for more information on this front, as things will start heating up in January.

I also want to thank you all for your support! It is through word-of-mouth (i.e. you telling your friends) that my writing continues to be discovered, and I truly appreciate all the encouragement you’ve given me. Please keep up with all my goings-on through my website, Facebook, Twitter, and of course, right here.

I hope your holiday season is happy, healthy and safe.

All my best,

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The winner has been chosen, and it is Kris! Thanks everyone for leaving a comment!!


Prepare yourselves for something a little different. Today, I am taking over Jennifer Probst’s blog and she is taking over mine. Who is Jennifer Probst, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you: Jennifer Probst is the New York Times, USA Today  and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Marriage to a Billionaire series, which includes The Marriage Bargain, The Marriage Trap, and The Marraige Mistake. She is also a Mets fan (something that Mr. B is super happy about), a mom of two, and all-around funny lady. For our swap, we decided to tell tales of motherhood and do a giveaway! Without further ado, please let me present: the Blog Swap!


Jennifer Probst 3 with watermarkHoliday Breakdown by Jennifer Probst

Ah, motherhood.

Aint’ it grand? Most of the time. There are special times around the holidays that I savor and make me feel incredibly lucky to be a mom. My two young boys adore the festive season of Thanksgiving through Christmas. They love feasting on turkey and spending time with their cousins. Look forward to putting up the tree, scrambling through boxes and re-discovering their handmade ornaments and favorite decorations. Adore marking up the huge Toys R Us catalogue with their lists for Santa. Long lists. Really, really long lists.

But let’s be honest. The holidays are also a time for major breakdowns. Can’t even blame the poor kids – there’s too much going on and their poor little brains misfire. Sparkling lights, endless commercials toting the latest gadgets, desserts cramming space in their bellies. The result?


The other day, I had to drag my kids into the store – which I try not to do around this time of year – and sure enough my older son caught sight of a large box with a glittery sign screaming Slushie Magic.

Oh. My. God.

“Slushie Magic!” he screamed at the top of his lungs. He hugged the box and lifted his beautiful face to mine. I looked into the melty brown eyes. “Mommy, please! I NEED to have this.”

“OK, I’ll get it for you.” He shook like in a convulsion. “For Christmas,” I said firmly.

NOT the right answer.

He dragged in a tearful breath. “No! I can’t wait for Christmas – that’s years away!”

I wheeled the cart  past the box and tried to jolly him along. “Let’s go, sweetie. Christmas is only a few weeks away and I promise you will have it under the tree.”

He didn’t budge. Pulled himself to full height. And said: “I want it NOW.”

My head scissored like the Exorcist. My kids know one thing about me. I am a huge pushover and get them way too much stuff. But the moment they act like a spoiled brat, I lose it. “Enough,” I snapped. “I told you before – no gifts till Christmas. Now stop acting badly or Santa won’t come at all.”

Thank goodness for threats of the big guy. But this time it didn’t work. My poor son just lost it.

He burst into tears and started screaming: “I want Slushie Magic! I want Slushie Magic.”

And so it began. I ended up dragging him down the aisle, while he cried with snot dripping from his nose. My little one stuck up for him and began crying too. I pushed the frikkin cart back down the aisle to the checkout, ignoring him completely while other moms shook their head in judgment AND sympathy. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing like a bratty kid that’s not ours to make us feel like a hell of a better mother. The cashier eyeballed us in horror, and I did the walk of shame to the parking lot while my usually sweet boy demanded his damn slushy.TheHolidayHoax_w7038_300

So, let me pose the question to you my dear fellow mothers. What is YOUR breakdown story this holiday season? Hell, if you don’t have one for this year, I’ll let you comment on a previous one to be fair.

I’m giving away a free ebook of my holiday short romance, The Holiday Hoax.

Enjoy your season of presents, family, and tantrums!


Jennifer, it has been awesome having you here! Thanks for joining me!

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The contest is over, and Allison Anderson is the lucky winner of the Loveswept gift card! Congratulations, Allison. Please email me ejbarrett15 [at] gmail [dot] com so I can get you your prize! Also, for everyone else, please be sure to check the R@R site to see if you’ve won any prizes there.


Holiday Blog Hop?

I know what you’re thinking. Man, it is way too early to be thinking about the holidays. Well, you’re right (unless you’re talking about Halloween, which is next week). But seriously, it always freaks me out when I get catalogues for Christmas stuff in August (right after the Halloween stuff that comes in July), so I feel you. But there’s something to celebrate, here. Namely Naughty & Nice, a compilation of holiday stories from three of my favorite authors, Ruthie Knox, Molly O’Keefe and Stefanie Sloane, which is to be released on November 5th.

$1.99 for all this goodness? You heard that right! In fact, the cover alone should make it an auto-buy! See for yourself (and if you click on the image, it takes you to Romance @ Random’s main site for the hop:

And of course, this being a blog hop and all, R@R is giving away a ton of goodies:

· 15 Net Galley Preview copy winners of Naughty & Nice

· 5 ABOUT LAST NIGHT paper giveaways (US only)

· Grand Prize of $15 Gift Certificate to eRetailer of choice!!

Note that you must be 18 or older to participate

There are so many other awesome bloggers participating:

1. Ruthie Knox 2. Stefanie Sloane
3. Reading Reality 4. acting balanced
5. From the TBR Pile 6. Coffee Beans & Love Scenes
7. Manic Readers Guest Blog 8. Manga Maniac Cafe
9. Musings from an Addicted reader 10. Shawntelle Madison
11. The Book Reading GAls 12. Seduced By A Book
13. The Book Tart 14. herding cats & burning soup
15. Bea’s Book Nook 16. Romance Around the Corner
17. The Bunny’s Review 18. Books Books and More Books
19. Lori’s Book Blog 20. Molly O’Keefe
21. Full Moon Bites 22. Delighted Reader
23. Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews 24. Eye On Romance
25. eBookGirl.com 26. Liz Maverick
27. Harlie’s Books 28. BookHounds
29. Sascha’s Secrets 30. Romantic Reading Escapes Book Blog
31. Ramblings From This Chick 32. Book Lovin’ Mamas
33. Saucy & Sinful Blog 34. Book Flame
35. cupcake’s book cupboard 36. Storm Goddess Book Reviews & More
37. Sharon Cullen 38. Ex Libris
39. Ahhhhhhhromance 40. Darkest Addictions Book Reviews
41. Confessions From Romaholics 42. What’s On the Bookshelf
43. StuckInBooks 44. Blogging by Liza
45. Read Your Writes Book Reviews 46. Victoria’s Titallating Tidbits
47. Guilty Pleasures 48. Ravishing Romances
49. Cassandra Carr 50. The Lucky Ladybug
51. Romantic Book Affairs 52. Simply Ali
53. Elisabeth Barrett 54. Book Lovers Inc.
55. SOS Aloha 56. Socrates’ Book Review Blog
57. Book-A-Holic Anon 58. Love To Read For Fun
59. Romance Junkies 60. Romancing the Darkside
61. The Book Nympho 62. Romantic Reads and Such
63. GraveTells 64. Fic Fare
65. Romance Book Craze 66. Me and Reading
67. Blackraven’s Erotic Cafe 68. Blackraven’s Reviews
69. AJ’s Readng Nook 70. The Readers Roundtable
71. Dark Divas Reviews 72. HEA Romances with a Little Kick

And you should know by now that I can never get the Rafflecopter thingy to appear on my site, so please click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! I’m also giving away one Loveswept gift card, good for one free e-book! All you have to do is to leave a comment below. Here’s a topic for discussion: Christmas catalogues in August: love ’em or hate ’em?

One random commenter will be selected. U.S. only, please. Contest ends 10/30 at 9pm PDT.

Happy hopping, and good luck!

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