12/06/2019

FIRST FRIDAY CHRISTMAS QUIZ


What’s your favorite gift Santa ever left under the tree?
AMANDA: Probably when I was maybe nine or ten, I got my first real big kid bike. It was a turquoise and silver Schwinn and despite the several inches of snow, my parents let me take it for a spin down the block on the scooped sidewalk!

JACQUI: XXX


E.E.: XXX


LIZBETH: When I was six or seven, he left a game I really, really wanted called “Crazy Clock” and on top of the box was a pair of cowboy boots! I have no idea what that game was about any more, and the boots never did fit quite right, but I was so excited that the picture of them under the tree is indelibly in my mind and proved Santa was real.

C.H.: Thumbelina Doll in her cradle when I was 5 yrs. old – I  still have her 😉

REGAN: The kids gave me an elf hat from Disney's Prep and Landing one year. In the cartoon, the elves put their fear and worry into the hat so they can keep doing their jobs. That hat has a place of honor on my desk year-round.

ANGI: Well, mine wasn’t exactly under the tree and I have two. ONE was a Shetland pony I named Ladybird. And the other was a bicycle left on my porch. My parents took us to look at Christmas lights and when we got home, Santa had left our presents pouring out the front door… NO KIDDING !!  My parents explained that we much have caught him in the act of leaving them under the tree. 😊

What’s your favorite Holiday Movie?
AMANDA: White Christmas always makes me cry and want to go to Vermont in the winter! Unsurpassed, it remains a holiday classic with humor, romance, dancing, amazing music and heart! However, A Muppet Christmas Carol is right up there as a holiday staple!

JACQUI: XX


E.E.: XXX


LIZBETH: Love Actually

C.H.: It’s a tie between It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas

REGAN: Die Hard

ANGI: Family Man. It’s always on the top of the stack of holiday DVDs we have. I’m not sure if I like the characters or the story the best. I love everything about it and watch it several times a year.

What’s your favorite Holiday cartoon special?
AMANDA: A Charlie Brown Christmas

JACQUI: XX


E.E.: XXX


LIZBETH: XX

C.H.: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

REGAN: Disney's Prep and Landing

ANGI:  “HAAAAPPY BURTHDAY!” That’s from Frosty the Snowman… hahaha

Which Holiday film can you watch over and over without falling asleep?
AMANDA: White Christmas

JACQUI: XX


E.E.: XXX


LIZBETH: This is one people either love with you or write you off their friend list for liking at all – lol. For me it’s “Love, Actually.” Every story within the story touches my heart in some way. And when Jamie (Colin Firth) butchers his Portuguese, I’m a total goner right along with “beautiful Aurelia.”

C.H.: LOL…I’m a Christmas movie junkie and can stay awake for hours!

REGAN:  Home Alone

ANGI: Miracle on 34th Street – The original or remake. I love them both.

What’s your favorite Holiday desert you’d share with friends?
AMANDA: That largely depends on how much is left<g> I’m traditional, I love a good pumpkin pie with shipped topping! I might share; )

JACQUI: XX


E.E.: XXX


LIZBETH: Any of our traditional, annually-baked Christmas cookies. I love the old Norwegian cookies my grandma taught me to bake:  Krumkake, Sandbakkelse, Fattigman, and Rosettes. Sadly, my own kids like very few of these, but I’d bring them to my friends anytime with pride!

C.H.: Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies, Pecan Crescent Cookies, Gingerbear Cookies…I have a bunch of great recipes that I bake every year.

REGAN:  Cherry Dump Cake

ANGI: My mother’s divinity candy.

What is your favorite Holiday tradition?
AMANDA:  There are more than one. One that I continue even after we moved was to put a candle in every window in our house. It stated when my daughter went off to college and always Thanksgiving when she came around the corner, she’d see the house in the middle of the block and knew we were waiting for her. It continued through our three sons and continues today for family and friends to know we are waiting for them to come home. Most recently, I began holiday cookie baking with my grandson, my daughter and daughter-in-law. It’s a huge mess, we play holiday music, drink hot chocolate and decorate dozens of cookies we share with friends and family.

JACQUI: XX


E.E.: XXX


LIZBETH: Just having my kids and sis-in-law at my house on Christmas morning. Usually there are also several dogs as well! It’s pure chaos and I love every second!

C.H.: Having the family get together…grandkids and all!

REGAN:  Our family has a bunch of fun traditions from decorating for Christmas the Friday after Thanksgiving to game night on Christmas Eve to our annual Lowcountry boil and movie marathon on New Year's Eve.

ANGI: We have a two Christmas CDs from the 90s recorded by a local radio station with local artists. Each year, we listen to CHRISTMAS UNPLUGGED while we set up and decorate the tree. Even if I decorate most of the tree by myself now, I keep the “kids” ornaments for them to add and listen to it over and over again. AND I also ALWAYS make divinity candy (my favorite) with my mom.

12/05/2019

E.E. Burke's Best of the West: Ride the High Lonesome from Rosanne Bittner


Are you ready to RIDE THE HIGH LONESOME with USA Today Bestselling Author Rosanne Bittner in a brand new novel published by Sourcebooks?

Widowed Kate Winters is stranded in outlaw country, alone, unarmed,  and desperately in need of food and water. When fate leads her to saving Luke Bowden from a hanging, her life is changed forever. Luke, consumed with a need for revenge against those who tried to hang him and stole his cattle, is on a mission to find and kill the culprits, but now the woman who saved his life needs him for help and protection. RIDE THE HIGH LONESOME is an unforgettable love story, as well as an action-packed depiction of survival in some of the biggest, loneliest country in the American West of the 1800’s, and sometimes “lonely” means need and desire come before love. Told by an award-winning author who’s been called an “emotional powerhouse,” RIDE THE HIGH LONESOME is a book you won’t be able to put down until you reach the exciting ending. 

Here's an excerpt

   Kate awoke to a crackling fire, her head on something soft, two blankets covering her. She thought she smelled coffee, and the smell reminded her she was hungry. She opened her eyes to a dimly-lit room – except it wasn’t a room in a house. The walls were made of rock, and the only light was that of the fire.
   A horse whinnied, and now she saw a man wearing a gray wool jacket sitting on the floor of the cave and leaning against the rock wall only about five feet away. He appeared to be sleeping. She lay still, thinking. She remembered falling … someone telling her she was bleeding … something about a cave … lying face-down over a horse. Her head hurt. She put a hand to her forehead and realized it was bandaged.         The fall! A snowstorm! She gasped and sat up. Her blankets fell away, and she looked down to realize she wore only her camisole and ruffled pantaloons. Where was her dress? And where was SHE?
   The man spoke up then. “So, you finally woke up.”

USA TODAY best-seller Rosanne Bittner has written and published 68 novels over the past 40 years.  Rosanne’s first love is American history, the Old West and Native Americans.  Her well-researched books cover real events and locations from all facets of the birth and growth of America. She has won numerous writing awards, including a RITA nomination from Romance Writers of America for SONG OF THE WOLF and a WILLA award from Women Writing the West for WHERE HEAVEN BEGINS.  She was named “Queen of Western Romance,” by Romantic Times Reviews, who nominated her second “Outlaw” book, DO NOT FORSAKE ME, for best western romance for 2015. Most of Rosanne’s novels have garnered over 95% five-star reviews from Amazon readers and great reviews from Publisher’s Weekly. Rosanne belongs to several historical societies and is an active volunteer in a home-town charity organization.  She and her husband of over 50 years live in southwest Michigan.

Facebook/Goodreads/Sourcebooks/Amazon/Diversion Books

CONTACT INFO:

Let's ask Rosanne some questions...

What is your biggest vice?
Rosanne: NIBBLING! When I’m sitting at the computer all day, I’m as bad as a dang mouse – constantly “nibbling” at something. Usually it’s either nuts, or animal crackers. I love those animal crackers!

Which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner?
Rosanne: Luke Bowden from RIDE THE HIGH LONESOME, of course, because the poor guy is so heartbroken over a lost love and so lonely. I’d make sure he wasn’t lonely anymore!

What one thing about your hero (in RIDE THE HIGH LONESOME) drives the heroine crazy?  Rosanne: Luke won’t commit. He had his heart shattered when he came home from the Civil War to find the woman he loved married to his brother. He vowed to never love that much again.

What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?  
Rosanne: My grandsons. They are teenagers now, but they still give me hugs. And now I have to look “up” to all 3 of them – those little boys who once couldn’t even see over the counter tops.

What are five books are on your “to be read” pile?  
Rosanne: Lucy Kubash’s WILL-O-THE-WISP. Diane Burton’s NUMBERS NEVER LIE. Diana Stout’s TOMORROW’S WISH FOR LOVE. Mary Dorla Russell’s WOMEN OF COPPER COUNTRY. And Margaret Coen’s THE GIRL WITH BRAIDED HAIR and THE SPIDER WEB.

What inspires you daily?
Rosanne: My love for American history, especially the Old West of the 1800s and America's magnificent west.

Rosanne is always such a generous guest. Today she's raffling off the following awesome prizes:


Third Prize – TWO BOOKS – Autographed copies of RIDE THE HIGH LONESOME and my March 2019 book, LOGAN’S LADY.

Second Prize – THREE BOOKS -  Autographed copies of RIDE THE HIGH LONESOME and my 2019 Christmas anthology – LONGING FOR A COWBOY CHRISTMAS, plus an autographed copy of my March 2019 book, LOGAN’S LADY.

First Prize – FOUR BOOKS! – Autographed copies of RIDE THE HIGH LONESOME and my 2019 Christmas anthology – LONGING FOR A COWBOY CHRISTMAS (my story is called CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE) – PLUS an autographed copy of my book PARADISE VALLEY (the original story about the couple in CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE). Also, an autographed copy of my March 2019 book, LOGAN’S LADY.

To enter the raffle, fill out the Rafflecopter and leave a comment. You must leave a comment to be part of the drawing. 

Reader's question: If you were stranded in the middle of a desert or on a mountain, what character from a novel (or historical character ) would you want to come to your rescue, and why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

12/04/2019

FLANNIGAN SISTER NUMBER 3 !!


MURDER MOST MERRY
A Flannigan Sisters Mystery #3

Lacey Flannigan should be wallowing in the cheer of her favorite time of the year—Christmas. She just aced finals in her toughest college semester yet. Instead, she’s working herself into a frazzle with extra shifts as a vet-tech, a service project at the shelter, and studying for classes that haven’t even started yet. Plus, she can barely make time for Walker, the dreamy firefighter she met during summer break who believes in her crazy premonition powers.


But at the shelter’s Home for the Holidays campaign kickoff, the director tragically dies of a heart attack. Police swoop in claiming that not only is major money missing from the shelter’s donations, but they suspect murder. It’s bad enough she’d foreseen the director’s death before it happened and couldn’t stop it—when Lacey becomes the prime suspect in the killing, she must find the culprit before she spends the holidays behind bars.

READ A LITTLE, BUY THE BOOK 

MEET AMANDA
I’m an author of light paranormal cozy mysteries, launching my first book in October 2019, with urban fantasy romance to be added to my list in 2020. Since I was little, I’ve been a reader and lover of mystery, sci-fi, romance, and paranormal books. Some of my early favorites were a Wrinkle in Time, Dune, and Lord of the Rings. Classics, right? I found my first romance book in my aunt’s closet around thirteen years of age and quickly decided it needed to be added to my repertoire. As do many readers, I had always dreamed of writing. I finally learned the secret, and I’ll let you in on it--do it. Sure, there’s a lot to learn about writing, but the first step is to put that story on the page. Then comes the rest.

As for me beyond writing, I was a career Army brat and lived in exotic locations like Tehran, Iran and DeRidder, Louisiana as a child. I obtained an International Politics degree from Penn State, and dreamed of a career in the State Department, but due to unforeseen circumstances I learned of much later, I ended up as a federal agent. I spent 24 years investigating murders, fraud, identity theft, drug dealers and many other crimes before retiring in mid-2019. As you can imagine, it’s given me a wealth of inspiration for my mystery and urban fantasy stories.

Peace, love and murder, y’all!

STAY CONNECTED

THE HOLIDAY Q&A
ANGI: Do you have plans for more Flannigan Sisters?
AMANDA:  I really want to do more stories featuring Sunny, Mina, and Lacey. I’m forecasting at least two more sets of three. I envision Sunny and Cace’s relationship escalating, Mina’s ghosts become more pesky and Lacey’s trials following her to vet school at Texas A&M. I love these girls so much!

ANGI: Which sister do you relate to most?
AMANDA: That’s a hard one, they all have aspects I adore. I love how Sunny wants to serve our veterans. My dad was career Army, my two sons are active duty, and my daughter is National Guard. I believe in the military and I believe in supporting those who laid it on the line for the rest of us. I love Mina’s snark and how that’s just covering a soft underbelly she isn’t willing to show people, maybe just a little like me. Maybe. Then there’s Lacey. I had thought of vet school when I was young, but got sidetracked by marine biology. I’ve always been an animal lover and someone who is devoted to helping them inspires me.

ANGI: What is your favorite scene in Murder Most Merry?
AMANDA: The end. I can’t spoil it. Walker does a very nice thing and I’m just all swoony!

ANGI: Grinch or Scrooge?
AMANDA: How did you know that I love both? It’s not Christmas unless I see the original Grinch and the 1951 version of the Christmas Carol, originally released in the UK under the title “Scrooge.” It has horrible sound production (I mean BAD, even remastered), but the screenplay is very close to the original story and the acting is perfection.

ANGI: What’s your favorite Christmas Cookie?
AMANDA: Traditional sugar with frosting.  Classic and oh, so good. I like to make my own. It really gets me in the mood!

ANGI: Favorite holiday movie?
AMANDA: Besides Scrooge and The Grinch, I love White Christmas. It’s very sweet and goofy and I used to watch it with my Dad. He loved it because of the story about the general, a great plot, but it’s also got romance. And the DANCING. That Vera-Ellen is amazing.

ANGI: Favorite holiday tradition?
AMANDA: Our favorite family tradition is putting the family ornaments on the tree. My husband has several hand-beaded and vintage glass ones from his grandmother. 


I’ve got several my mother made, and some ornaments she recently gave me from her mother. I love that these have been passed down. And we have several sets favorites of the kiddos that will get passed down as well. I also collect some silly, cute figurines that make me smile every time I take them out of their boxes and put them on display. 

They’re called Billy Buttons and they are no longer made. My aunt started me on them, and now I stalk them on eBay and other sites. I’m in competition with my brother and sister-in-law, because they collect them as well. It’s fun when we can ooh and ahh over each other’s finds—and feel a little bit of envy when it’s an ornament or figurine we don’t have! But it’s all in good fun as we’ll send each other something the other doesn’t have if we find it.

ANGI: Favorite holiday song?
AMANDA: Now that’s a hard one. I love White Christmas, but it’s hard to say if it’s the Nat King Cole version or the Bing Crosby version. Yes. I drill down that far on songs. I also love the original You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

UP NEXT for AMANDA:
THE WOLF SHIFTER’S REDEMPTION
The Enchanted Rock Immortals Series
Coming in JUNE 2020

Veterinarian and animal empath, Carrie Fletcher is finally back on track after the murder of her parents by a pure blood fanatic three years ago. She watched his execution in the arms of Nathan Hebert, a wolf shifter she thought loved her, but dumped her as soon as his mission to protect her ended. Now, it appears the fanatic is back, and so is Nathan. This time the wolf claims he not only wants to keep her alive, he’s ready to return her love.


Leaving Carrie had been the worst mistake of his life. Clan Shifter hires Nathan Hebert’s security team with the return of the fanatic who’d given the Clan a black eye. The elusive criminal has managed to give Nathan the slip after several prominent murders, and now has targeted Carrie again. Soon, Nathan finds a dangerous conspiracy stretching far beyond the clan, threatening careful balance in the Enchanted Rock Immortal world and the woman he still loves.

PREVIOUSLY RELEASED by AMANDA:
FINDERS KEEPERS
A Flannigan Sisters Mystery #1

Adulting isn’t easy, but everything is finally falling into place for Sunny Flannigan. New apartment all of her own? Check. Dream job as a physical therapist? Check. Ex-boyfriend Cace Navarro back in the picture after her meddling older sister kept them apart for seven years? Check. Her crazy power to find things leading her to a stash of stolen goods in a library’s restroom? Womp, womp.

Just when everything seems to be going right, Sunny finds someone sabotaging her carefully planned world, sending Sunny and her boyfriend on the run from the police. Can she and Cace figure their way out of the web before Sunny loses her newfound semi-adult kind of life?
READ A LITTLE, BUY THE BOOK

GHOSTS, PIES & ALIBIS
A Flannigan Sisters Mystery #2

The Flannigan Gift. Ha! Mina Flannigan Shaffer never believed in anything paranormal, let alone the claims her Grandmother and sisters had visions and other psychic abilities. This skeptic’s more focused on running Sweetie’s Tea Cup Cafe, rehabilitating her life, and spending time with her family after a recent split and reunification with her husband.


But her careful plans are upended when she learns she can see ghosts. Even worse? The spirit of a man who nearly caused her to lose her small-town diner blackmails her into figuring out who shot him. Now, this reluctant sleuth is hot on the trail of a murderer who is willing to kill again to keep their secrets. The suspects are piling up and Mina’s time is running out faster than icy sweet tea on a hot Texas day.


AMANDA is giving away a Kindle-compatible copy of Murder Most Merry

Your Host, Angi Morgan
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AMANDA WANTS TO KNOW:  What’s your favorite Christmas family tradition?