* LAURA SPINELLA, Author and giveaway

happy_holidays_colorful

GREETINGS TO ALL “THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘n THAT” BLOG FOLLOWERS!

The HOLIDAYS are here and we’ve decided to do something a little different. Over the next few weeks, we’re featuring some of our favorite authors and finding out what they like best about the HOLIDAYS. We’ll also find out what their latest project is.

lspinella

Laura Spinella is an East Coast author, originally from Long Island, New York. She is a two-time RITA finalist, RT Book Reviews finalist. The first novel in her highly successful paranormal trilogy, GHOST GIFTS is a Audie winner for Best Paranormal Audio Recording. Amazon Editors named her sequel, FORETOLD one of their Best Books of October!

ghost

All Aubrey Ellis wants is a normal life, one that doesn’t include desperate pleas from the dead. Her remarkable gift may help others rest in peace, but it also makes for an unsettling childhood that might end up destroying her marriage. Finally content as the real estate writer for a local newspaper, Aubrey keeps her extraordinary ability hidden—until she is unexpectedly assigned the story of a decades-old murder.

Rocked by the discovery of a young woman’s skeletal remains, the New England town of Surrey wants answers. Hard-nosed investigative reporter Levi St John is determined to get them. Aubrey has no choice but to get involved, even at the terrifying risk of stirring spirits connected to a dead woman’s demise and piquing her new reporting partner’s suspicions.

As Aubrey and Levi delve further into the mystery, secrets are revealed and passion ignites. It seems that Aubrey’s ghost gifts are poised to deliver everything but a normal life.fore

The Ghost Gifts trilogy continues as Aubrey’s otherworldly talents—and a visit from a former lover—threaten to tear apart her family.

A mysterious death in a muddy swamp, missing children in different states… psychic Aubrey Ellis and her partner, investigative reporter Levi St John, have their hands full. The added strain of raising their son, Pete—who struggles with his own psychic gift—pushes life to the brink of collapse.

Enter Zeke Dublin—Aubrey’s first love from her carnival past. Tensions escalate when it’s clear that an old attraction is alive and well. But as Levi discovers disturbing clues about the body pulled from the swamp, he begins to suspect Zeke’s sudden presence is more than coincidence.

As Aubrey’s uncanny abilities take an unsettling turn, she fears that this time her own child is in danger. Who can Aubrey trust to help solve the unknowns surrounding her life—the father of her son, or a man who’s always understood the deepest secrets of her psychic gift?

COMING IN MAY. PART THREE of the TRILOGY!

echomoon

Aubrey Ellis’s son thinks a lot about murder. In fact, it’s an obsession.

When Peter St John returns home after a two-year absence, the life he’s been running from catches up. For years, his psychic gift has triggered visits to 1917, where he fought in the Great War. Far more disturbing, Pete relives a violent scene in which he kills Esme—a turn-of-the-century songstress who he loves, both then and now.

A startling encounter with Esme’s spirit finally forces Pete to confront her murder. The tale unfolds as ghost gifts materialize, mementoes from the life he once lived—things Pete recalls, proof that appears to validate his crime.

Tensions build when he meets quirky fledgling actress, Ailish Montague. The two clash in every way but one, and Pete is stunned when Ailish offers evidence that she connects to his past life. Dark prophecies multiply when they learn Esme’s fate and Ailish’s may be one and the same. Will the hourglass run out before Pete can unravel a mystery, or is his murderous past destined to repeat in the present?

*****

“Thoughts on This ‘n That” has declared Laura Spinella, The Queen of Paranormal. Lucky us. She gave us some insight into her writing process and the genre.

CR: How did you get into writing paranormal?

LS: Ooo, how much time you got? That’s a multifaceted question. I’ll go with the one that’s most intriguing. I live in a 130-year old house outside Boston. I always felt the house has a “good ghostly vibe.” But it wasn’t until after the first GHOST GIFTS novel was published that I discovered that the house was originally owned by a woman who was an artist and writer. How I found this out is a little mind-boggling – an author acquaintance, who’s also known to have a psychic gift, called one day. (This was very odd, in that we’d never spoken on the phone.) She said a spirit had been hammering at her for days, and that “Anna” wanted me to know how happy she was someone was doing something creative in the house. She (Anna) went on to say I “wasn’t supposed to find the photos until  now.” What photos?

Not long after this, via a different friend, a photo album from the Boston museum was brought to my attention. It featured early 20th Century photos of my house. From there it took only a little Google search to come up with the original owner’s name, Anna Rathbun.  True story. So, I think that Anna has certainly influenced my affinity for the paranormal.

holly

We asked Laura about the holidays and here’s what she shared.

CR: Favorite Holiday?

LS: Oh, I didn’t know we’d start with such a toughie – it’s a tossup between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ultimately, I think Thanksgiving though, because, aside from the food, it’s less pressure than Christmas with all the gifts and décor. It’s also more about my family just being in one place, and I like that.

CR: Favorite present you’ve given?

LS: It’s a big one. My dad passed away last year. About three years before that he’d bought himself a yellow Volkswagen Bug – not exactly what you’d expect a man in his eighties to be driving. But the car amused my dad, and he’d never owned anything like it. My father had a pretty close relationship with my son, Grant. In fact, they have a lot of similar personality traits. For Christmas last year, we were able to give my son the car as a gift. That morning, Grant and I took a ride around the block in the bug. I opened the console between the seats. There was tube of Poligrip. I’m pretty certain that tube of denture adhesive will remain there as long as my son owns the car.

CR: Favorite gift you’ve received?

LS: Tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a night at the Eliot Hotel. My eldest daughter is a very thoughtful gift giver. This gift combined my need the do some symphony research, plus my husband loves the orchestra and that particular hotel, so the Boston trip was a win-win.

bso

CR: Favorite Holiday music?

LS: Trans Siberian Orchestra, Christmas Canon and Carol of the Bells. Or Straight No Chaser, Twelve Days of Christmas Mash Up.

CR: Favorite holiday meal and/or dessert?

LS: Sorry, it’s such a non-health conscious, carnivorous choice! But it’s the holidays, right? Bring me a medium rare prime rib on a leash with a side of the Pioneer Woman’s heart attack inspired, cream cheese laden mashed potatoes! If you have a nice dry Bordeaux to go with it, so much the better.

CR: Message/wishes for 2018?

LS: Wishing everyone a spectacular 2018 with nothing but good things for all.

Thanks Laura. We can’t wait to read ECHO MOON in May.  www.lauraspinella.net

We’re giving away a few journals to some of our blog followers for the holidays. Just tell us what your message/wishes are for 2018! We’ll announce winners in a couple of weeks.

presents

Advertisements

LAUREL DAVIS HUBER, Author and GIVEAWAY

happy_holidays_colorful

GREETINGS TO ALL “THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘n THAT” BLOG FOLLOWERS!

The HOLIDAYS have arrived and we’re doing something a little different. Over the next few weeks, we’re featuring some of our favorite authors and finding out what they like best about the HOLIDAYS. We’re also finding out what their latest book project is.

velveteen

Laurel Davis Huber’s, THE VELVETEEN DAUGHTER (SheWritesPress) is one of the most original novels I’ve read this year. It focuses on the author of the VELVETEEN RABBIT,  Margery Williams’, daughter, Pamela. Pamela’s genius as a painter was overshadowed by her mother. Pamela’s star rose until she reached her teens, and then she was dismissed by the art world. THE VELVETEEN RABBIT is my absolute favorite book. It’s all about the journey of becoming real. I was naturally interested in reading Huber’s novel.

Laurel was at the Miami Book Fair last month and at the last-minute I couldn’t make it. Such a disappointment … But I did meet her in Chicago at BookExpo in May, lovely lady. Hopefully we’ll catch up at the next BookExpo.

laureldavis

Laurel Davis Huber grew up in Rhode Island and Oklahoma. She is a graduate of Smith College. She has worked as a corporate newsletter editor, communications director for a botanical garden, high school English teacher, and senior development officer for both New Canaan Country School and Amherst College. She has studied with the novelist and short-story writer Leslie Pietrzyk (the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize winner for This Angel on My Chest) and has participated in several writing residencies at the Vermont Studio Center. She and her husband split their time between New Jersey and Maine.

holly

We asked Laurel some questions about the holidays and here are her answers.

CR: What is your favorite holiday?

LDH: Actually, my all-time favorite holidays as a child were summer holidays when we’d take family camping trips – tents, sleeping bags, gas lanterns – the whole deal. I had to find firewood, fetch water, clean tin dishes, and I thought it was the best fun in the whole world!

blackwoods

CR: Favorite present you’ve given?

LDH: The best I’ve given anonymously to someone I didn’t know. This person needed something very much and I was happy I could provide it.

CR: Favorite present you’ve received?

LDH: My favorite present of all time was the necklace my five-year old son made for me long ago at a fair. I watched as he spent hours choosing the exact right line-up of plastic beads until he was happy with his creation. I wore that necklace to his college graduation.

(added information: her son is all grown up and recently got married.)

CR: Favorite Holiday music?

LDH: During the Christmas season at me Quaker high-school we always sang “Jerusalem.” It was just a beautiful, moving song. “Bring me my bows of burning gold… – wow! I get the shivers just thinking of it.

CR: Favorite holiday meal and/or dessert?

LDH: Kiss pudding! I realize now I haven’t made it for ages, but my mother used to make it all the time. I think it’s an old, old dessert because I think my mother’s mother used to make it, too. If you haven’t had it, look it up.

(added information: well, we did. there are over 70,000 recipes for kiss pudding. just check http://www.myrecipes.com  )

pudding

kisspudding

CR: Message/wishes for 2018?

LDH: If only there could only be unity, more reasonable discourse, more generosity on this planet. If only …

If only… Thank you Laurel for answering our questions.

http://www.laureldavishuber.com

We’re giving away several journals for our blog followers so they can start the new year off on a fresh page. Just tell us what your message/wishes are for 2018. We’ll announce winners in several weeks.

cb music

 

 

 

** HAPPY HANUKKAH ** HAPPY HANUKKAH ** HAPPY HANUKKAH ** HAPPY HANUKKAH

Hanukkah begins tonight at sunset and ends next Wednesday, December 20th at sunset. What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is Hebrew for “Dedication.” It’s the festival of lights.

Hanukkah is an 8-day Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. It was then they found enough oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for eight days.

Did you know any of this? Some of you, yes, others no! I didn’t, but now I’m grateful I’m informed, so I can better celebrate with my Jewish friends.

Hanukkah is a time to light the memorah for eight nights, play with dreidels and eat special foods. Many people attend parties. It’s also a great time for parents to read books together with their children about Hanukkak. We found a few you might enjoy.

(Thanks to the publishers, authors, artists and librarians who made this post possible. I would not have produced this post without selections from http://www.amazon.com )

memwithfood

meorah with dreidel

 

han-2

Holiday House, June 1, 2012

No celebration of Hanukkah would be complete without recounting THE STORY of HANUKKAH, the events of more than two thousand years ago that the holiday commemorates. In a simple yet dramatic text with vibrant paintings, the story of the courageous Maccabees and the miracle that took place in the Temple in Jerusalem is retold. For readers who want to continue the festivities, a recipe for latkes and directions for playing dreidel are included.

*****

han-1

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Pub. Date Oct. 10, 2017

In QUEEN OF THE HANAKKAH DOSAS, being part of a Jewish and South Asian Indian family surely has delicious perks:

“Making Indian food that my mom ate as a kid for a Jewish holiday that my dad grew up with–that was a lucky combination.”

For the first-night-of-Hanukkah meal, a boy looks forward to making dosas–a crispy-on-the-edges, paper-thin South Asian-style crepe–with his mother. His one concern is his mischievous toddler sister, Sadie, who climbs up just about anything. Sharing his discomfort with his elders elicits little response, even as Sadie clambers on a table with a nearby full glass.

As the family goes to greet their guests, they manage to get locked out. The boy quickly realizes that Sadie’s climbing prowess might save the day–and the dosas–but only if he can finish his special song and convince Sadie to open the door.

In her back-flap bio, author Pamela Rosenberg confesses to locking her own family out of the house as a toddler, an experience she channels in Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas. Rosenberg enhances her toddler-tale by adding delicious diversity, substituting delectable dosas and sambar for traditional latkes and applesauce for this multicultural crew (recipes included at the book’s end). British artist Anjan Sarkar’s bright illustrations add a celebratory feel.

*****

han-3

Transcontinental Music Publishing, Pub. Date, Nov. 2017

BRAND NEW – US RETAIL VERSION

THE COMPLETE HANUKKAH SONGBOOK, is a unique collection of Chanukah songs from many traditions. Featuring over 80 pieces in piano/vocal/guitar format, the contents include songs from Jewish folk traditions, all the Chanukah standards, and many new songs by today’s best Jewish songwriters. A wonderful resource for schools, synagogues or for fun at home!

Series: Transcontinental Music Folios
Instrument: Piano and Vocal
Skill Level: Early Intermediate
Media: Book

Composer: Various
Publisher: Transcontinental Music Publications

*****

han-5

Kar-Ben, Pub. Date, Aug. 2014

LATKE (is) THE LUCKY DOG. A family rescues a golden brown dog from the animal shelter and names it Latke in honor of the beginning of Hanukkah. Each successive night, he gets in a bit of trouble, eating a platter of sufganiyot (fried donuts), tearing open presents, chewing up candles, and drooling on the Hanukkah gelt, and each night the family gets a little mad and then forgives him.

A new pet is a growing experience for both the family and the pup, and the narration focuses on Latke’s gratitude for being taken in (“I am one lucky dog!”), even as he hopes not to lose the family’s affection while learning to function in their home.

1st grade, 24 pages, 2-7

*****

Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish blog followers!

7-han

CRYSTAL KING, Author & Giveaway

happy_holidays_colorful

GREETINGS TO ALL “THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘n THAT” BLOG FOLLOWERS!

The HOLIDAYS have arrived and we’re doing something a little different on our blog. Over the next few weeks, we’re featuring some of our favorite authors and finding out what they like best about the HOLIDAYS. We’ll also learn all about their latest projects.crystalCRYSTAL KING, author of the culinary masterpiece, FEAST of SORROW.

We fell in love with Crystal last year when she was one the Debs, class of 2017

The DebutanteBall  

Unlike the debutantes that parade around New York City and Paris for their “coming out to society” party. The Deb Ball is for first time authors. There’s a group of five writers and Crystal had one day a week to write about everything – getting an agent, getting published, the craft of writing, the importance of being in touch with fellow writers. I learned so much from her. And then I got the opportunity to read her debut novel, FEAST of SORROW (Touchstone).

FEAST of SORROW is the FOOD NETWORK meets HBO’s, ROME!
Debut author, Crystal King ushers us into another time in history in her novel, FEAST of SORROW: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Touchstone). Taking nearly a decade to research and write, it’s a four-hundred plus page journey through Ancient Rome highlighting the opulence, shrewd political maneuvering, fabulous food and relationships from the powerful ruling class to the slaves.

Feast+Randy

And who is Crystal? She made it very easy for us to find out by sharing her bio.

I am a novelist, editor, professor, social media professional, and critical & creative thinker. My work as a writer is the thread that ties my broad experience together.

My debut novel, FEAST OF SORROW, is about Marcus Gavius Apicius, the man whose name is on the world’s oldest known cookbook. It was published by Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, on April 25, 2017. My work is represented by Amaryah Orenstein at GO Literary.

I am also writing my second novel, THE SECRET CHEF, about a famous Italian Renaissance chef, Bartolomeo Scappi, who was the cuoco segreto (private cook) to several Popes.

UPDATE: THE SECRET CHEF has been purchased and will be published by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster in 2019.

I have taught writing, creativity and social media at UMass BostonBoston UniversityMass College of Art, and Harvard Extension School. I often teach classes on social media for authors at Grub Street, one of the most amazing writing communities in the country.

hollySo we sent some questions to Crystal about the holidays and this is what she sent back.

CR: What is your favorite holiday?

CK: Christmas. I’m not particularly a religious person but I love all the trappings of the holidays. I have a huge party ever year (this will be our 18th) when all of our old and new friends come together. It’s my second favorite day of the year. My first favorite day is when we get the tree. I put the lights on while my husband makes dinner, which is usually pheasant. With two of us, it’s smaller, but my husband, Joe used to sell wine, so it’s one of those rare days we break into the good bottles. After dinner, we have champagne and extra good chocolates and we watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” while we decorate the tree. I look forward to both days every year.

treebubbly

 

 

CR: Favorite present you’ve given?

CK: I’ve started to give Joe a different Berni Knife  every year. They are gorgeous, exquisitely handcrafted Italian kitchen knives.

knives

CR: Favorite present you’ve received?

CK: Joe gave me a rare plum ruby ring for our first Christmas. I still wear it every day.

CR: Favorite Holiday music?

CK: I’m a freak for holiday music! I think I own about 1,800 songs, mostly classic crooner tunes or indie holiday songs. I particularly love the alternative Christmas songs that tell different stories, like Vanessa Peters “The Christmas We Hoped For,” “The Wedding Present,” “Holly Jolly Hollywood” and Ingo Star Cruiser, “It’s Just Like Christmas.” My favorite holiday song is The Pogues, “Fairytale of New York,” which is in truth super depressing, but I love it to pieces. I try not to listen to holiday songs until after Halloween, but at that point, I’ll pull out all the stops. I don’t subject Joe to it till after Thanksgiving though, to preserve his sanity and out marriage.    

CR: What is your favorite holiday meal and/or dessert?  

CK: I described the pheasant dinner earlier. Joe makes an insane mac & cheese and clam chowder for our party. But I also make cookies every year and some of those are treats I only make this time. I think my fav would be mayonnaise sugar cookies which is an old family recipe. Omg, so delicious.

CR: What are your wishes and/or message for 2018?

CK: I hope that 2018 is a year of peace – but it can only be so if we are kind to one another and if we try to put ourselves in the shoes of others. One small way to do so is by reading outside our comfort zones. Read broadly, read widely and pick up books in translation, in genres you don’t usually read, by people of color, of other countries, of opposite views and other experiences. Reading is one of the best ways that we can learn empathy and in doing so we can find new ways to change the world.

books

CR: That is such a compelling message – for people to read more outside of their comfort zone. So, I learned about mayonnaise sugar cookies and I’m hoping to be invited to Crystal’s amazing party. Sounds smashing! (FYI: I bring great hostess gifts.)

Our thanks to Crystal King. Feel free to contact Crystal at http://www.crystalking.com or on social media.

Remember, we’re giving away some journals to our blog followers at the beginning of the new year. Just tell us your wishes for 2018!

 

HEATHER BURCH, Author … Giveaway

happy_holidays_colorful

GREETINGS TO ALL “THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘n THAT” BLOG FOLLOWERS!

The HOLIDAYS are here and we’re doing something a little different. Over the next few weeks, we’re featuring some of our favorite authors and finding out what they like best about the HOLIDAYS. We’ll also find out what their latest book project is.

heather burch

Heather Burch, Author

Heather Burch has always been drawn to epic tales about love and loss. “If I can make you laugh, cry, feel something deeply, if you want to hug those you love … I’ve done my job.”
Heather is a bestselling author of contemporary fiction. A quote from her novel, One Lavender Ribbon can be seen at the John’s Creek Veteran’s Memorial Walk near Atlanta where her words are required reading for those who enter the memorial park.
Heather lives in Florida where she writes full-time.

holly

family

SOMETHING LIKE FAMILY (LakeUnionPublishing) is her latest novel. Abandoned by his mother when he was young, twenty-two-year-old, Rave Wayne knows all about loss. That doesn’t mean he’s used to it. After he’s dumped by the girlfriend he assumed he’d spend his life with, Rave is longing more than ever to connect.

Then, as if by miracle, he receives an invitation from his grandfather, a man he thought was long gone, to come for a visit in rural Tennessee. Loyal, honest, and loving, dear old Tuck is everything Rave could have hoped for. He’s family. Soon, Rave finds himself falling for a down-to-earth local girl, and he thinks his life is finally coming together.
But the past isn’t through with Rave.

When his mother returns after many long years, looking to reconcile the terrible mistakes that once defined her, Rave struggles to put together the unsettled pieces of his heart. Will this once-estranged family be able to come together to understand the meaning of unconditional love, the fragile bonds of family, and the healing power of letting go?

gardenIN THE LIGHT of the GARDEN is a novel about unearthed family secrets, the enchantment of past loves and the indelible power of forgiveness.

Inheriting her grandparents’ island estate on Florida’s Gulf coast is a special kind of homecoming for thirty-one-year-old Charity Baxter. Raised by a narcissistic single mother, Charity’s only sense of a loving home comes from childhood summers spent with Gramps and Grandma. But piercing her fondest memories is her sharpest grief—the death of her beloved grandmother, when Charity stopped believing in the magical healing power of the weeping willow that still casts a shadow on their property.

Now that Charity has returned, she’s full of longing and regret, until she befriends her neighbor Dalton Reynolds, who has come to Gaslamp Island carrying his own heartache. As other exiles arrive—a great uncle harboring secrets, a teenage runaway—Charity begins to reconsider what makes a family. When her own estranged mother shows up in crisis, Charity is challenged to search her heart for forgiveness. But forgiving herself may require a little magic from the last place she’d expect to find it.

holly

Heather has written several previous romance novels published by MONTLAKE ROMANCE, an imprint of Amazon.  Heather loves to hear from readers. Be sure to follow her on Amazon   http://www.Amazon.com/author/heatherburch and visit her website  http://www.heatherburchbooks.com where you can sign up for her twice a year newsletter, Heather’s Happenings, filled with fun facts and freebies.

Heather happily answered our holiday questionnaire.

CR: What is your favorite holiday?

HB: Definitely Christmas! I’m a big kid at heart and Christmas means family and food! One year, when I was a kid, Santa came walking over a freshly fallen snow into my aunt’s backyard on Christmas Eve. I will never forget the magic of him on that glistening snow. It was like he’d shown up out of nowhere! 

santa

CR: Favorite gift you’ve given?

HB: Before my mother passed away, I took her and her grandchildren to Disney  World for Christmas. It was a magical week!

disney

CR: Favorite present you’ve received?

HB: On our 25th anniversary, my husband gave me 25 gifts from 25 different countries around the world. It was overwhelming. But another of my favorite memories was one year on my birthday, I went and brought gifts for everyone who was coming to my birthday party that evening. You can’t imagine how faces lit up when they came in and I had a present for each of them. It is by far my favorite party memory.

CR: Favorite holiday music?

HB: Trans Siberian Orchestra.

CR: Favorite holiday meal and/or dessert?

HB: I love turkey and all the trimmings. I can eat it for days after Christmas.

2-yum

CR: Message/wishes for 2018?

HB: Joy! I’m a big believer in joy being the secret to a happy life. I wish joy for my family and friends! My message to all my readers, don’t let anyone else take the leading role of your life. Live joy!

present

Thanks, Heather. I love what you wrote about starring in the role of your own life. Something to really think about.

We’re giving away several journals to our blog followers to start 2018 on a fresh page. Just tell us what your message or wishes are for 2018. We’ll announce winners in the upcoming weeks.

SUSAN SANDS, Author … GIVEAWAYS

happy_holidays_colorful

GREETINGS TO ALL “THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘n THAT” BLOG FOLLOWERS!

The HOLIDAYS are here and we’ve decided to do something a little different. Over We’re going to feature some of our favorite authors and find out what they like best about the HOLIDAYS. We’ll also find out what their latest book project is.

susan

SUSAN SANDS, Author

Growing up in a small town in Louisiana, Susan’s passion for reading sparked her interest in writing. She now creates stories about the quirky characters and fascinating relationships that are uniquely Southern.

Susan holds a degree in elementary education, and has lived in the Johns Creek/Alpharetta suburb of Atlanta with her husband and three children for over twenty years.

Susan began writing on her fortieth birthday. Her first Southern women’s fiction title, AGAIN, ALABAMA was published a mere eight years later, with the second, LOVE, ALABAMA and FOREVER, ALABAMA following closely behind. Now just in time for the holidays, CHRISTMAS, ALABAMA has been published. 

alabama

Photographer, Rachel Prudhomme has finally settled in Ministry, Alabama. Sure, the pace is slower, and she’s had her heart blessed more times than she can count, but putting down her roots where her family is feels right, if only the town’s new doctor and now neighbor weren’t so hot and constantly igniting her dreams. How can she keep her vow to steer clear of men when he keeps sauntering across her path?

For Dr. Nicholas Sullivan to get his dream job in Atlanta, he must fill in at Ministry General, where they’re short-staffed for the holidays. He never expects to fall for his beautiful next door neighbor, Rachel.

Soon, Nick and Rachael make a deal. They’ll pretend to date so Rachael can avoid the scrutiny from her family to “find a good man” and Nick can avoid the single lovelies in town who take his short stay as a challenge. Amidst the carolers, Christmas lights, and an unlikely Alabama snowstorm, Nick and Rachel can’t help but notice the powerful emotional and physical attraction between them. Will a Christmas miracle be all it takes to make all of their dreams come true?

holly

Susan happily answered our holiday questionnaire.

CR: Favorite holiday?

SS: I love Christmas. When I was a kid, we always had our grandparents nearby to open presents with us on Christmas morning, then had a huge dinner and spent time with the family and friends. Of course, I love Christmas carols, decorations, giving presents and everything about the season.

6-candles

CR: Favorite gift you’ve given?

SS: We gave all our kids giant beanie bag chairs last year and they loved them.

CR: Favorite gift you’re received?

SS: My diamond earrings from my husband. They were a complete surprise. I still wear them every day.

CR: Favorite holiday music?

SS: Michael Buble and classic Nat King Cole.

nat

CR: Favorite holiday meal and/or dessert?

SS: I love turkey and cornbread dressing, mostly the dressing – oh, and deviled eggs.

deviled

CR: Message/wishes for 2018?

SS: I want what we all want – PEACE! I love my friends, neighbors, and even though we don’t agree on everything, we agree on that. 

holly

 

Thank you, Susan for sharing some holiday cheer.    http://www.susansands.com

We’re giving away some new journals for our blog followers to start 2018 on a fresh page.  All you need to do is tell us your message/wishes for 2018. We’ll announce winners in the upcoming weeks.

** FABULOUS FRIDAY FINDS ** JOURNALU ** Special price for our blog followers **

10journalThis week’s “Fabulous Friday Finds” are affordable elegant handmade Journals for the person who wants something unique and dazzling! And as a follower of THOUGHTS on THIS ‘n THAT, you get a special 10% discount, if you order any from    JOURNALU and type in THISNTHAT10 in the coupon section.

IMG_20170917_154854

I thought hilighting Kristen’s one of a kind journals would be perfect for followers of THOUGHTS on THIS ‘n THAT. If you belong to our blog, you have a special place in your heart for the written word. Whether you’re an author, would-be author or you love reading, journaling is probably part of your life. It has been mine for a while. I love to write, doodle, collect things – my journaling is kind of like “assemblage.”

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT KRISTEN

KRISTEN has been journaling since she was 5 years old, although back then it was called keeping a diary [that was 33 years ago]. She had a Holly Hobbie diary with the gilt-edged pages and lock and key. She wrote about what she had for dinner and what she did that day and locked it up and hid it so her brother wouldn’t read it. This was secret stuff!  She kept diaries until high school when it progressed to being called journaling, and she filled simple composition books with her teen angst. Soon she found that there was a world of beautiful journals just waiting for her words, and she filled them almost as quickly, as she could buy them.

What started at such a young age as just a simple itch to put pen to paper slowly grew into a process that soothes her soul. She writes about anything and everything wherever and whenever the mood strikes. Anything on her mind at the time, she sits down to write is fair game for her journal. It keeps all of her secrets.

1journal

They’re handmade sewn bound notebooks using decorative paper, embellishments, distressed ink stains, brads, clips, decorative lettering and all kinds of one of a kind details!

2journal

 

6journal

 

 

13journal

 

12journal

3journal

8journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20170507_173640

 

13journal

Here’s the best part: The journals start at $20, she takes all credit cards and you get a 10%-discount by being a follower of THOUGHTS on THIS ‘n THAT!

Just go to the ETSY site, choose a journal and when you check out, type THISNTHAT10   in the coupon area     JOURNALU

Time is winding down, but you still have time to order and get your journal before Christmas – hopefully! If you’re not in a hurry, she makes them to order – uniquely yours!

FYI: We’re giving away one of Kristen’s fabulously designed journals. Just tell us one secret you would put in your new journal.

11journals