Winter Blogfest: Debra St. John

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This post is part of Long and Short’s Review Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy (choice of format) of CHRISTMAS AT THE CORRAL, the first book in the Holidays at The Corral series...

New Year’s Eve: Is it Really a Holiday?

So often when we think about the “Holiday Season” we jump right to Christmas, forgetting all about Thanksgiving in the process. Once the merriment and joy of Christmas is over, New Year’s creeps up on us and is over and done in an instant.
It’s not a give and get holiday like Christmas. It’s not even a gather-with-your-family-and-count-your-blessings holiday like Thanksgiving. It’s seen as more of a get-drunk-and-party-with-your-friends-so-you’re-hungover-the-next-day-and-can’t-even-enjoy-the-Bowl-games type of holiday.

Which is kind of a shame. I mean, starting a new calendar year is so symbolic of many things. Aside from the traditional countdown, champagne and a kiss at midnight, and a (usually drunken) rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” my mom used to have a personal tradition of her own. She felt that whatever she did on New Year’s Day would be something that she did a lot of in the coming year. For her that meant doing a lot of sewing, one of her favorite hobbies.

I’ve tried adopting her tradition at various times, but I usually try to cram so much into the day in hopes of actually setting goals and accomplishing something in the year ahead, I usually just wind up even more tired than I would be from staying up late the night before. I’m not much of a resolution setter either.

I do have some fond memories of New Year’s past. (Nowadays it seems like I just want to get midnight over and done with so I can get to bed and get some sleep…) In fact, it was a fortuitous New Year’s Eve that set me on the path to becoming a published writer. A friend at the bar we were at was snapping pictures for her ‘inspiration board’. When I asked her what she meant, she said she was a writer and would use the pictures for…well, inspiration. We got to talking and she mentioned she belonged to a local writers’ group. One thing led to another, and I wound up joining my local RWA chapter and the rest, as they say, is history.

New Year’s is a great time to look ahead and think about starting over and making new beginnings.

So, New Year’s Eve became the setting for the fifth and final installment in my Holidays at The Corral series. I guess for me, I do consider New Year’s Eve to be a holiday. The story is a fairly traditional take on the friends to lovers tale. Nick and Tina have been flirty friends for years. Everyone at the bar where they work wonders when they’ll finally hook up. It takes the magic of that traditional New Year’s countdown and a midnight kiss to nudge them across that line.

Be sure to check out my website for a fun promotion involving this story.

In the meantime, for a chance to win an e-copy of the first book in the Holidays at The Corral series, Christmas at The Corral, what is the craziest resolution you’ve ever made and kept?

Tina Perkins thinks falling in love with your best friend is a tired cliché. She’s had a flirty friendship with Nick Jameson forever, and she likes it that way. Until she’s dared to sleep with him and suddenly can’t stop thinking about what it would be like to cross that friends to lovers line.

Nick wants Tina. Badly. New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to make a resolution to get her into his bed. He doesn’t want to ruin the friendship they share, but adding ‘with benefits’ to the label would make things perfect.

As the clock ticks closer to midnight, there’s a lot at stake. Will a night of passion ruin everything or lead to a lifetime of love?

About the Author:Debra St. John has been reading and writing romance since high school. She always dreamed about publishing a romance novel some day. Her dream came true when she started writing sultry contemporary romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines for The Wild Rose Press. Although she’s a country gal at heart, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero.

She is the author of The Corral Series, which includes her debut release, This Time for Always, a Champagne Rose and Rosebud bestseller at The Wild Rose Press. This Can’t Be Love and This Feels Like Home complete the series.

Her spin-off series of novellas (Holidays at The Corral) includes Christmas at The Corral, Valentine’s Day at The Corral, Fourth of July at The Corral, Halloween at The Corral and New Year’s Eve at The Corral.

Her holiday stories are A Christmas to Remember, An Unexpected Blessing (Thanksgiving), and The Vampire and the Vixen for Halloween.

One Great Night, a 2015 IDA First Place Winner, Family Secrets, and Wild Wedding Weekend round out her bookshelf.

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Buy the book at The Wild Rose Press.

Winter Blogfest: Christmas Trees by Debra St. John

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy (any format) of any book from the author’s ‘bookshelf’.

Christmas Trees

I love the holidays. Any holiday really, but the Christmas season is one of my favorites. I have a hard and fast rule that nothing having to do with Christmas can be even thought about until after Thanksgiving, but when that Friday hits…look out! I am going full force.

We put up three Christmas trees. A live one in the living room is our ‘fancy’ tree. It’s decked out with gold ornaments, strands of gold ribbon, a golden angel on the top, and hundreds of white lights.

On the enclosed back porch is a smaller one sitting on a table. This one holds my ‘teacher’ ornaments and anything Mickey Mouse related. White lights keep it glowing well into the night. A new addition this year was to display my collection of ceramic lighted schoolhouses on faux snow covered tables on either side of the tree. It’s so cozy out there I can just sit for hours and soak up the Christmas spirit in the air.

Our final tree is upstairs in our family room. This is the memory tree. It’s loaded with ornaments we’ve collected over the years. Each time we travel someplace, we get an ornament for the tree. I write the date of the trip on the bottom or back of the ornament before hanging it up. Each year decorating the tree is like a little trip down memory lane. And each year there is less and less tree showing and more and more memories, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

It was this tradition I featured in Christmas at The Corral. Maggie, my heroine, has a small tree in her living room filled with ‘memory’ ornaments. There are so many things I love about the season, it’s hard to limit myself to just one personal thing in my holiday books, but I do try to let the characters tell their own stories instead of my own!

What’s your favorite way to decorate a Christmas tree?

perf5.000x8.000.inddMaggie Pearson has no time in her busy life for love, but an immediate attraction draws her to a mysterious stranger at The Corral, a local bar. However, any romantic feelings are ruthlessly squashed when he accuses her of having an affair with his brother.

As a divorce lawyer, Van Rawlings has seen the ugly side of marriage too many times to believe in love. But having gotten off on the wrong foot with Maggie, and genuinely contrite over his faux pas, he offers to help her with an upcoming Christmas charity dinner. The more time they spend together, the more he realizes he’s never met anyone like Maggie, who gives so generously of her time.

Can Maggie and the magic of the season help Van believe again? In Christmas and in love.

About the Author: Debra St. John has been reading and writing romance since high school. She always dreamed about publishing a romance novel some day. Her dream came true when she started writing sultry contemporary romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines for The Wild Rose Press. Although she’s a country gal at heart, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

Halloween Blogfest: Debra St. John

My Favorite Time of Year

I love everything about this time of year. It’s the coziness of the season that appeals to me. Everything is so vibrant and crisp. It’s a feast for the senses.

The outdoors literally glows as it reflects the reds, yellows, and oranges of the brilliant leaves. When they fall to the ground, they crunch beneath your feet or skip along the pavement as the wind scatters them.

Pumpkins, gourds, apples, haystacks, cornstalks, and mums appear. The plentiful harvest provides even more color and some yummy treats as well. It’s the season for apple picking and apple pie, caramel apples, and hot apple cider. Crunchy pumpkin seeds are just as good as spicy pumpkin pie.

The shorts and tank tops get put away and out come the jeans and hooded sweatshirts as the days and nights get cooler. With the sun setting earlier, it’s the perfect time of year for a night-time fire, complete with gooey s’mores and camp chairs gathered around.

Fall also holds some of my favorite holidays. Halloween is a cozy time for me, not a scary, macabre time. I like cute pumpkins smiling from the windows and friendly ghosts dancing around the trees; kids dressed up as princesses and pirates and superheroes; and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

And then there’s Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. It’s a time of year to sit back and think about all of the wonderful things in your life. And it literally has some of the best comfort food of all time: succulent turkey and gravy, stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, sweet corn, and tart cranberries, not to mention all of those fabulous pies.

With this time of year being my favorite, it only made sense to not only use this season as the setting for several of my books, but to incorporate the holidays as well. An Unexpected Blessing is a Thanksgiving story about coming home and facing the demons of the past. My latest release is The Vampire and the Vixen, a tongue-in-cheek is-he-or-isn’t-he vampire story for Halloween. Vampires are some of my favorite romantic heroes, so it was inevitable I would eventually include the theme in one of my own stories. In keeping with my personal taste, my story is sexy and romantic, not bloodthirsty and vengeful. Both stories are available from The Wild Rose Press and on Kindle and Nook.

To celebrate the season, I’ll be giving away an e-copy (your choice of format) of both The Vampire and the Vixen and An Unexpected Blessing to one commenter who tells me what’s your favorite thing about fall. I’ll also be giving away a swag pack of bookmarks and postcards to two other commenters. Be sure to leave your e-mail addy in order to be placed in the drawing.

For more about my books, pop over to my web-site at: www.debrastjohnromance.com

Or stop by any of my blogs:
Heroines with Hearts (http://heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com)
Book Beat Babes (http://bookbeatbabes.blogspot.com)
Acme Authors Link (http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com)
Authors by Moonlight (www.authorsbymoonlight.com)

I’d love to have you visit!

TheVampireAndTheVixen_w7985_medDebra St. John has been reading and writing romance since high school. She always dreamed about publishing a romance novel some day. Her dream came true when she started writing sultry contemporary romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines for The Wild Rose Press. Although she’s a country gal at heart, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero.

She is the author of The Corral Series, which includes her debut release, This Time for Always, a Champagne Rose and Rosebud bestseller at The Wild Rose Press. The second book in the series, This Can’t Be Love, was Love Romance Cafe’s Best of 2010 Contemporary winner. This Feels Like Home will complete the series when it releases in January.

Her holiday stories include A Christmas to Remember, An Unexpected Blessing (Thanksgiving), and The Vampire and the Vixen for Halloween. Wild Wedding Weekend completes her bookshelf.

Anniversary Blog Fest: Debra St. John

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Summer Vacation

It’s one of those things you dreamed about as a kid. Counting the days until school was out in June, and then you had nine long weeks stretching ahead of sleeping in, no homework, warm weather, and no place to be. Ah, paradise…

For many adults this concept of summer vacation no longer holds true. Work continues no matter what the calendar says. Being in the field of education, I’m one of those lucky ones who still get to experience the joy of an entire summer off. This is the time of year when I get really productive with my writing. Without the demands of a school day, I can approach my writing with a fresh attitude and the drive to get a lot done.

Most summer days you’ll find me outside with my laptop. I migrate, depending on where the sun is, so I might be on the patio, out by the pond, or on the front porch at any given time. Some days I’ll be on the couch, still in my jammies, at noon, clicking away. I have to say, this year was a productive one writing-wise. I finished up some requested revisions and edits on a full-length going to the Yellow Rose Line (Contemporary cowboys…YUM!) at The Wild Rose Press. I signed a contract for a Thanksgiving novella (An Unexpected Blessing) there and went through several rounds of edits and am now waiting for a cover and galleys to approve. I polished up a requested mss for Harlequin and got that mailed out. And I even made some headway on a WIP. All in all, the summer of 2012 was very productive in a writing sense.

But I did a lot of other things, too. There were some days here in the Midwest when it was simply too hot to go outside. With temperatures hovering in the high 90s and low 100s for days in a row, inside my air conditioned house was the place to be. I made a sizable dent in a mound of neglected scrapbooking.

The hot weather wasn’t enough to keep me away from making the best of summer. Last year I had some unexpected health issues which forced me to cancel vacations, concerts, and movie premieres. This year I was determined to make up for last year’s ‘lost’ summer.

And I did! I’m a huge country music fan and was able to take in three concerts: Eric Church at the Sears Centre, Brad Paisley at Wrigley Field, and Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw at Soldier Field. Great acts and great venues. (And might I add that I never realized how completely FINE Tim McGraw was until now?!) We also took three long weekend vacations. (It’s my relaxing time of year, but it’s the hubby’s busy time, so we try not to take too many days away. Someone’s got to bring home the bucks in the summer!) First we hit the Missouri Ozarks for an annual trip with friends, then we did Pontiac, Illinois (Just the coziest little town…we even had our picture taken with and by the mayor!), and finally we did Springfield, IL (A great way to expanded our knowledge of Abraham Lincoln).

I also participated in my library’s Adult Reading Program. This year’s theme was “Reading is So Delicious”. In the process of reading my 30 books, I won weekly prizes like popcorn, candy, and books, and ultimately wound up winning a gift certificate to a local pizza place for one of my entries.

Now, even though I’ve already gone back to work, summer still isn’t really over. There are still warm nights to enjoy out in the front porch rocking chairs, a round of parties for Labor Day weekend, and best of all, another fabulous season to look forward to: the beauty and wonder of fall. I couldn’t live in a place where the seasons didn’t change. I look forward to the new delights in each and every one.

I also love to hear from readers, so feel free to visit me at my website or one of my blogs.

About the Author:

Debra St. John has been reading and writing romance since high school. She always dreamed about publishing a romance novel some day. Her dream came true when she started writing sultry contemporary romance with sexy heroes and spunky heroines for The Wild Rose Press. The upcoming An Unexpected Blessing, a Thanksgiving novella, will be her fifth title with TWRP. Although she’s a country girl at heart, she lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, who is her real life hero.

Find Debra online at

http://www.debrastjohnromance.com

http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com

http://heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com

http://www.authorsbymoonlight.com