Astraea Press Holiday Release Party Blog Hop/Sweet Saturday Sample

Holiday Release!

Operation: Christmas Hearts

 

Operation: Christmas Hearts is a military romance.

If you are or have been in the military or part of a military family, you will understand this story. But even if the military lifestyle is strange to you, I believe you will be enriched by this novel. Our military families do not have the common-man type of life that most people enjoy. Deployments happen, transfers happen…the military lifestyle does not only impact military personnel. Rather, the family as a whole is affected. The family serves, sometimes by traveling with the service person…and sometimes by waiting at home with the light in the window, often with the knowledge that the deployed person is at constant risk. The only time they know for certain loved ones are well at a particular moment is through phone calls or other direct communications such as Skype. And, sadly, there are a lot of military service men and women who have very little support on the home front for one reason or another. Please don’t forget our military. They work hard to keep the world safe. They make the sacrifices to their lifestyles so others don’t have to.

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Ashley Torrington never cared much about Christmas before. But this year she’s having a particularly blue holiday because Marine Special Operations Team member, Nick Turner got under her skin just before he was deployed to Afghanistan. With her neighbors’ precocious daughter Bella volunteering Ashley for a special project at school, and a mysterious white-haired stranger named Estelle in town buying gifts from Ashley’s shop, not to mention the odd assortment of presents Ashley’s been receiving from an anonymous source, she shouldn’t have time to worry about her guy. But when he and his team go missing the week before Christmas, she realizes only a Christmas miracle will reunite them.

Captain Nicholas Turner never backed down from challenges—on the battlefield or in his personal life. But he’d never met a challenge like Ashley, who doesn’t want to be anyone’s “girl back home.” Now he’s on the other side of the world, wanting to be anywhere but in Afghanistan for Christmas. About to embark on one of the most dangerous missions of his life, he needs Ashley to know she’s much more than the girl he’d left behind, and he does plan to come home to her. But in the meantime, a little Christmas magic would be appreciated. Little does he know, he’s about to get his wish.

A Taste of Operation: Christmas Hearts

The steady drip-drip of the light rain on the canvas awning outside was the only sound to break the silence. No happy laughter of children playing. And ever since the mail carrier had departed an hour earlier, no jingle of the bell on the front door to signal a customer’s arrival to the art gallery and gift shop. More important, no phone ringing.

A Heartsight novel (Ashley’s story)

Available soon at:  Astraea Press  Amazon  Barnes & Noble

Return to Sweet Saturday Samples or Visit the next holiday release party hopster, Lindsay Downs!

For a chance to win a PDF copy Post a message of thanks to our U.S. troops and share the USO link with your friends – maybe they’ll say thanks, too. Then stop back here and tell me what you said. Merry Christmas and let there be Peace on Earth.

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Sample Platter

HEARTSIGHT STORIES:

Heartsight:  “God, if You’re there, this would be the time for a miracle,” he whispered.

Camp Wedding (in Matrimonial Mayhem):  “Oh, my!” breathed Trish. “I’m a Maypole.”

Coming November 25, 2011 Operation: Christmas Hearts: Goose bumps formed on his skin, but Nick felt like he was on fire. “I’d sure like that, Bellie-Sea-Shellie. You can never have too many angels around.”

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Also from Kay Springsteen:

Heartsent: Spurred by indignation, Lina clamped her hands on her hips. “Kevin Daly, if you think you’re going to take me for a ride in this thing, you can re-­‐‑think your plan!”

Lifeline Echoes: “You just stay strong and hold onto me. We’ʹll get through this together.”

Elusive Echoes: “You are a distraction.” He pressed her against the outer wall of the stable with his body. Her pale blue eyes widened, then lit with passion. Sean removed his hand from her mouth and replaced it with his lips.

Available for $2.99 at  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Sweet Taste of Heartsight

From Heartsight:

An edgy feeling started in between his shoulder blades. It moved up to the back of his head and drilled its way into his brain. It was exactly the feeling he used to get on recon missions in-­country, the feeling that told him he’d missed something and needed to take a second look. He turned around, placing his back against the base of the lighthouse, trying to conjure the picture in his mind based on long ago memories. Nothing filtered into his awareness. “God, if You’re there, this would be the time for a miracle,” he whispered.

AND, coming soon – The USMC adventure continues with Ashley’s story in  Operation: Christmas Hearts

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    To visit the Save a Turkey blog hop

Save a Turkey: Gobble a Book BLOG HOP

1) Have fun!

2) Invite all of your friends! Spread the word!

3) This tour starts: Monday, November 14, at midnight (Arizona time). This tour ends: Monday, November 21, at midnight (Arizona time). Winners will be drawn and posted November 22nd! ***

4) Meet and mingle with all the authors and book pages! Experience a new party destination at every stop! Participate in every blog contest and be entered for chances to win multiple prizes! Every blog visited is another opportunity to win!!

5) Participation at all blogs is recommended, but not required. Remember, the more blogs you hop, the better your chances of winning prizes. Every author and book page is waiting to meet and interact with you, so please be sure to show everyone some love!

6) Did I mention to have fun? Whoo! Hoo!! Here we goooooooooooo!

***authors have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

My mom, Audrey, was an amazing cook. She was so amazing that we usually fought to help her in the kitchen for holidays rather than bring our own potluck contributions. Luckily for her, our family wasn’t huge and unruly. Thanksgiving would consist of turkey with sage dressing, mashed potatoes, rutabaga, sweet corn, rolls…and for dessert our choice of apple pie, pumpkin pie, or individual mincemeat pies. My mom’s pie crust pastry was to die for, and even though she tried to teach the rest of us how to make it, alas, none of us in the family have quite mastered her secret…the only thing I can figure is she made the pies with magic, or perhaps a little bit of herself. Sadly, my mom passed on a few years back, and I miss her dearly, but one of the things I’m always the most thankful for is the time I had with my mother. She was more than my mom. She was my best friend, confidante, my partner in crime, my biggest emotional supporter, “Grandma” to my kids.

Audrey Springsteen’s Secret Thanksgiving Recipe: Apple, Sausage, and Sage Turkey Dressing

Prep Time: 20 min            Cook Time: Same as turkey cooking time

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of stale bread, finely shredded
  • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan and topping
  • 1 pound fresh sage sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cooking apples (e.g., McIntosh, Fuji, Jonathan – different apples lend a different taste so your choice should reflect whether you want a more tart or sweet flavor), peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 to 2 ribs celery with leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions:  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put the bread in a large bowl and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and break up as it’s heating. Cook until it loses most of its pink color, but not so much that it’s dry, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and pan drippings to the shredded bread. Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the onion, apple, celery, and salt. Cook until the vegetables get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and parsley and bring to a boil. Pour the vegetable mixture over the bread and toss until evenly moistened. Mix in the eggs. Season to taste and lightly salt the inside of the turkey. Then, loosely pack the dressing into the turkey and cook with the bird.

Turkey cooking tip: For a moister turkey, flip it over and cook with the breast side down until the last hour. The back has more fat in it and cooking with the back on top allows gravity to draw the moisture through the rest of the turkey meat. Flip it over for the last hour to brown the breast for a nice golden-brown look.

Do you have a secret family Thanksgiving recipe that you look forward to eating around this time every year? If so, what is it? The name of the food, not the recipe – no need to spill family secrets. I’m giving away the commenter’s choice of one of these books in PDF format just for stopping by and leaving a comment and a valid email.

Happy Bird Day!!

  1. Matrimonial Mayhem Anthology (contemporary romance)
  2. Heartsight by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  3. Lifeline Echoes by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  4. Elusive Echoes by Kay Springsteen (contemporary romance)
  5. The Picture by Stephanie Taylor (contemporary romance)
  6. Lucky for Her by Stephanie Taylor (contemporary romance)
  7. Double Crossing by Meg Mims (historical fiction)
  8. The Last Wizard of Yden by S.G. Rogers (fantasy)
  9. Wayward Soul by Kim Bowman (paranormal)
  10. Ghosts in the Graveyard by Kim Bowman (YA/Halloween paranormal) upon release
  11. Emily Dahil CID Part I by Lindsay Downs (YA, mystery)
  12. Trophies by J. Gunnar Grey (mystery)
  13. Blackbird Flies by Chynna Laird (YA)
  14. Legend of the Oceana Dragon by J.F. Jenkins (paranormal)
  15. Vala: Agendas by J.F. Jenkins (paranormal)
  16. Scent of a Witch by Bri Clark (Halloween paranormal)
  17. Glazier by Bri Clark (paranormal)
  18. Shawnee’s Creek by Stephy Smith (contemporary romance)
  19. Rescued From the River by Stephy Smith (historical romance)
  20. Lizzie and the Rebel by Stephy Smith (historical romance)

The blurbs for all of the above titles can be found on Amazon.com.

Return to Save a Turkey: Gobble a Book!

My latest release, set in Virginia: Heartsent by Kay Springsteen

With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina’s life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn’t even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina?

This and all my other titles available at:

Astraea Press        Amazon        Barnes & Noble

A Sweet Sample of Lifeline

So, answer the age-old question: How old do you have to be before your parents stop looking critically at the way you dress?

Throughout Ryan’ʹs life, his father’ʹs commanding presence had filled every room he entered. Some things never changed, even after a heart attack, so Ryan was glad when Justin made himself comfortable in the chair by the window.

“I want to talk with you. I know your brother warned you to keep me out of it.” He snickered. “Thinks I’ll live longer if I don’t get upset.”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “Can this wait until I’m wearing pants?”

“We can talk while you get dressed.”

Ryan stared.

His father shot a pointed look at the towel. “What? You got something under there you didn’t have when I was changing your diapers?”

Muttering under his breath about a few more inches and a lack of personal space, Ryan pulled on his briefs, then hauled on a pair of well-­worn blue jeans with holes in the knees.
Justin ran a critical eye over his son’s choice of attire. “You know, you can get a decent pair of jeans at AJ’s General Store for under twenty bucks.”

“These are my favorite jeans, Dad.” Ryan shoved his wallet into the only pocket without a gaping hole. “I’m just breaking them in.”

Justin shook his head. “Looks more like you’ʹre breaking out of ʹem, but suit yourself.” He drew a deep breath, let it out slowly. “I figure your brother caught you up on some things.”

Ryan fastened the button on his shirt cuff without looking up. “What he told me, Dad, was you had a heart attack and wouldn’t let him call me.”

“Wasn’t any point. It was over almost as soon as it started. I wasn’t in the mood for any deathbed nonsense.”

Lifeline Echoes and other titles available now  Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

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Random Sweet Sample

Okay, so it’s not so random. It’s page 100 from my latest sweet romantic release, Heaartsent. Let me know what you think, and if you’d like to read a copy, tell me that as well. I’ll draw a name at random to send a PDF copy.

Kevin couldn’t hold back the soft chortle. She looked so lost and a tad uncomfortable sitting there, obviously afraid to move. He stood and crossed the room, fully aware she had no idea how lovely she was, lounging on her sofa, the baby on her shoulder. With the tip of a finger, Kevin stroked the infant’s cheek then carried the motion beyond the baby’s face upward to graze Lina’s jaw. Her huge brown eyes drew him in as usual. The silence in the room grew heavy, broken by the baby’s deep even breathing.

With a wince, Lina changed position again, moving her arm with care, biting back a soft moan. Instantly, Kevin slipped his hand under the baby and lifted him. When he stirred, Kevin cradled him against his chest and shushed him. As soon as the infant settled again, Kevin stepped to the bassinet and laid him on his back, keeping his hand on the baby’s chest until he settled into deep breathing again.

“Why didn’t you say you were uncomfortable?” asked Kevin, turning around to catch Lina pushing herself to her feet as she gingerly rubbed her elbow.

She made a sour face. “It kind of snuck up on me.”

He gently moved her hand aside and began rubbing the arm she favored. When she sucked in a breath, he gentled his touch to no more than a brush of his fingertips. “Got pins and needles?”

“Just a little,” she whispered, holding his stare.

As Kevin reached her hand with his ministration, her eyelids drifted closed and she leaned toward him, her lips parting.

It was an invitation he couldn’t have ignored if he wanted to. Skimming his fingertips back up her arm until he cupped her bare shoulder, Kevin placed his other hand at her waist and pulled her close. She softened in his arms and murmured a tiny sound filled with need. Answering desire flooded his system, and he hovered, spinning the moment out, his lips so close, even without touching, her heat reached out to him. At the first brush of his mouth on hers, Lina pushed into the kiss, igniting an instant conflagration inside him. He glided his lips over her jaw, skimmed her neck and dragged his mouth across her shoulder, tracing her collarbone with the tip of his tongue. As he paid homage to Lina’s warm, soft skin, Kevin gave silent thanks for designers who created off-­the-­shoulder blouses.

Astraea Press            Amazon            Barnes & Noble

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HEARTSENT:  With her strict no-dating-within-the-department rule, Firefighter Lina Standish has a nickname in the Salem Hills Fire Department: Lina “Standoffish”. But Firefighter Kevin Daly has had his eye on Standoffish ever since a locker room incident nearly a year earlier, and now he plans to break all her rules. With the help of his niece and a hot-air balloon, he gets Lina’s attention and she agrees to “hang out” with Kevin as friends off duty, to take it slow and see where things go between them. Then Lina’s life is turned upside down by a surprise miracle who doesn’t even have a name. Kevin’s ready to step up, but is Lina?

Guest Starring Paradise 21 Author Aubrie Donnie

Please welcome guest author Aubrie Donnie talking about Paradise 21!

Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.

But Aries has other plans.

When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.

The life of the man she loves.

The Baddies in Paradise 21

Every story has its villains, and Paradise 21 has two.

They were to most fun to write! At times, I felt as though they took over the story because each one had the greatest character arc. Both of them are tragically flawed, and through their mistakes they learn and grow. But do they get what they want in the end? For that answer, you’ll have to read Paradise 21.

Baddie #1

Astor Barliss: The Lieutenant and Aries’ fiancé aboard The New Dawn.

His flaw: trying to control everything.

What he loses to realize he has to change: Aries, the woman he’d worked so hard to get as his lifemate.

Baddie #2

Tiff: the space pirate that joined Striker’s crew, then left him to die on Sahara 354.

Her flaw: selfishness, not knowing what or who she really wants.

What she has to lose to realize she has to change: Striker’s love.

My question to you is: name a baddie in movies or literature and their tragic flaw. Do they overcome it, or does the flaw get the better of them?

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Aries sped through space in her escape pod as if she fled the event horizon of a dying star. The controls blinked warnings around her, but she ignored them, pressing the touchscreen to fire the engines to full capacity.

Let’s see how fast this antique can go.

Her sweaty palms slipped on the cold metal as she clutched the restraining bar across her seat. Freedom intoxicated her, coursing through her veins like she drank liquid fire.

She squeezed her eyes shut and screamed, releasing raging emotions held back from years of conforming and keeping her true thoughts silent. Many times Aries had thought her head would implode from the pressure, but instead she’d schemed, plotting the day of her departure down to the last water bottle. As the sound of her voice dissipated, she opened her eyes and peered at the stars as they blurred into streaks of shimmering light.

The time flashed on the screen in fluorescent green: 1638. Aries committed the numbers to memory. She’d have at least three hours before the ceremony and reception ended and her fellow Lifers began searching for her. Her shipmates would check her cell first, then activate the locator embedded in her arm. When they realized she’d jumped ship, they’d stop the engines and count the escape pods. By then, Aries would be a parsec away from the New Dawn.

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Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. After reaching a high point in her flutist career Aubrie decided to pursue other creative passions.

“I’d always loved writing and reading fantasy/sci fi books ever since I was little but I always pushed it aside for flute. I felt like I needed to explore more of my interests in life. Ever since I started writing, I couldn’t stop! I use what I’ve learned about craft, diligence, structure, from my flute playing. It’s exciting to start a new discipline and have no idea where my boundaries are: how far I can go with it, how good I can get.”

Paradise 21, Aubrie’s fourth book, was released August 2 as one of Entangled Publishing’s ten launch titles.

Aubrie is represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Her short stories have been featured in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Aurora Wolf, A Fly in Amer, Moon Drenched Fables and various anthologies.

Her books are published by Entangled Publishing, Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing, and Wyvern Publications.

Aubrie’s Website           Aubrie’s Blog