Tag Archives: Christmas

If Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then…

There is a debate that rages every year across social media about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie. It’s placed at Christmas time, and it seems to get shown around the holidays on various cable channels. I’m not entering the debate, but I enjoyed the film. There’s even one thread I saw about whether it’s a missing Harry Potter film, because Bruce Willis chases Professor Snape around a spooky building. (Not touching that one at all.)

I’m here in my usual corny style to make a different connection. If Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then The Playground is a Christmas book. This is one I wrote a few years ago, and I have a deal for you. I don’t usually run deals, but it’s the holidays, so why not?

Blurb:

The hottest new toys of the Christmas season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

This one is written in the style of a Frank Miller comic, or a Tarantino film, in that three different stories orbit around the main event. They come together at the end to complete the picture.

Clovis and Gina, along with her sidekick, Gupta, make a return to my book world in Viral Blues that published this year. Clovis remains one of the most popular characters I ever came up with, and I got some nice feedback about his return. (Viral Blues is still linked in my sidebar if you’re of a mind to check it out.)

I set up a sequence of free days for The Playground, starting today. If you’re an early visitor, you may have to cycle back through, because I’m on Amazon time here. Pick up your free copy at this link: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01D6EF6RI

Enjoy your free book, and since I know someone is going to ask, I count Die Hard as a Christmas movie. (Gremlins, too.)

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Oh Baubles

Let’s all welcome Harmony Kent today. She has a fun new Christmas romance story to share with everyone. Take it away, Harmony.

***

Hi everyone, Harmony here. I’m so thrilled to be visiting with Craig today to tell you about my latest book, a Christmas Romance Novella. It’s a fun, quick read at around 80 pages, and I had fun crafting this one. Below is a ‘sneek peek’ from Chapter 2 of ‘Oh Baubles.’

 

THE steamed up windows caught his attention first. Then the distraught woman occupying the driver’s seat. He recognised her. Months before, she’d been one of his rehab patients. Mrs Dickens, that was it, Charlene Dickens. The poor woman had lost her husband in the crash that had wrecked her life and her body. John would always remember the session in which she’d vomited all over him. With all the pain meds she’d been on, he could understand. The same thing happened to a lot of his clients. Still, he had a distinct aversion to puke, and to have it spewed all over him had left him fighting not to throw up himself. 

When he’d trained up as a physiotherapist, he’d envisioned a glamorous job working with sports injuries, but his life hadn’t turned out that way. Truth be told, he hated his job. And he still held that early ambition to rehab the stars of football and rugby and the like.

His reflection in the glass—dark hair, plastered to his skull in the downpour, framed a chiseled face that he thought was quite attractive—distracted him from his vague view of Charlene. From the fearful look on her face, though, he must have made her jump. John smiled at her through the steamed up window and mouthed, ‘Are you all right?’

The woman blinked and then nodded. A moment later, she opened her door and peered though the crack. Deep pink suffused both cheeks, and she appeared flustered. ‘Yes. Yes, thank you.’ And then she stared at him and blinked some more. ‘It’s John, John Andrews, isn’t it?’

So, she did remember him, then. ‘Yeah, the one and only.’ He grinned, somewhat inanely, he reckoned. Why did he always seem to end up acting like an idiot around this woman? None of his other patients had anywhere near the same effect on him, and he’d worked with some stunners. And yet here he stood, getting all giddy again.

‘Um, sorry if I startled you. It’s just …’

She cringed. ‘You saw some deranged woman pouring snot and tears down her face and thought you’d better make sure she wasn’t going to top herself in the hospital car park.’

‘Something like that, yeah.’ Now it was his turn to cringe. Why the hell had he just agreed with her scathing assessment of herself? He should have contradicted her. The trouble was, his wayward tongue had nearly blurted, You’re still beautiful, and he’d only just stopped himself in time. She’d either think he was an idiot or a dangerous stalker. And he didn’t want to risk her reporting her ex-therapist for inappropriate behaviour. That sort of thing on his record, he could do without.

 

I hope you enjoyed this little excerpt. Below is the book description and then a bit about ‘the author’ for those of you who don’t yet know me.

 

Book Description

 After a tragic accident one Christmas, Charlene loses her husband and her leg.

 Scarred and damaged, the losses leave her lost and reeling, and a long recovery lies ahead of her.

 When John, a hot young physiotherapist, comes into her life with his ripped abs and good-god good-looks, she can’t imagine he’d give somebody like her a second glance.

 Then she falls for him.

 Can Charlene overcome all obstacles to gain back her life and find true love once more?

 Find out in this fun-filled, clean Christmas romance novella from award-winning author Harmony Kent.

 Oh Baubles is available for pre-order at just 99c/99p. The Amazon link is: http://mybook.to/OhBaubles

 

About the Author:

 After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours. Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Follow Harmony on social media:

Website: https://harmonykent.co.uk/https://harmonykent.co.uk/
Story Empire (co-authored): https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/
Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooksauthor.to/HarmonysBooks
Twitter: @Harmony_kent
LinkedIn: Harmony
Goodreads: Author Page

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/harmony-kent

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My office window plus Christmas

We spent Christmas morning at my son’s house. We like to watch the grandkids open their presents. Turns out my grandson and his friends take their Nerf guns to the park and play “war.” According to his mother, they really get into it. This is what his parents got him for Christmas.

Turns out they make ghillie suits in kids’ sizes. He even got a strap he can wrap around his Nerf rifle so it blends in too. I told him if we added a few electric lights, and some ornaments, he’d completely disappear against that background. I think he won at Christmas this year, and he was sure excited.

Meanwhile back at the ranch… or my office, this is going on.

Okay, if you have to explain photos, they suck. This little bugger was fast. That bump on top of the log is a mink. He’d poke his head up, I’d get a blurry click, then he’d dive underwater. I cropped a different image, but that only makes it blurry. Here it is anyway.

He was on his way into the water for this one. If he hangs around, I may get another chance at him. Between the two pictures you can tell he’s beside a broken branch. He’s looking up in the first one, and aimed at the water in the second one. For now, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Ha ha.

 

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Merry Christmas

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, and presents. Oh, and eggnog. There ought to be eggnog.

Lisa Burton

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Merry Christmas everyone

It’s time to be with family and friends. I’ll be squeezing in some work projects in the quiet hours, but they won’t be on the blog. We have grandchildren to visit and holiday cheer to spread.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. I’ll be back later this week. Lisa produced this poster as her gift to all the collectors out there, and she wishes you a Merry Christmas too.

Lisa Burton

Lisa Burton hacking in here. I told Craig to tell everyone I only wear fake fur. You know I love animals. Merry Christmas to everyone. Now I’m off to wrap some vegetables for Bunny’s Christmas.

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A little Christmas Romance on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey there, all you Christmas Elves and Gingerbread Men. You’ve reached Lisa Burton Radio, the only show on the dial that brings you the characters from the books you love to read. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl.

Snuggle down in your easy chair, drop an extra cinnamon stick in your cocoa and help me welcome this week’s special guest. “Welcome to the show, Chloe Upshaw.”

“Hi, Lisa. Thanks for having me on today.”

“Now, Chloe, my bio indicates that you are in the middle of a huge job search. One that could see you moving during the Christmas season. How did that all come about?”

“Well, Lisa, I know you’ve got a pretty sweet deal here with Craig. I’m sorry to report I’ve not been as lucky. I’ve curated for two different museums now, both small, although I left my mark. But a girl can only stare at a glass ceiling for so long before she’s sick of her faint reflection and the dirty soles of shoes. There’s nothing keeping me in my current job or town. I’m ready to move on.”

“I get it. Things get stale and people need a change from time to time. My bio indicates you’re well qualified for a job at any museum.”

“True, but my options are limited. With respect to curating, none of the big museums are hiring at the moment, and I don’t want to work at another small one. And as for joining an expedition? I haven’t been on a dig in a while, so no one will hire me to run one, but I’m too experienced, and therefore too expensive, to assist on one. That doesn’t leave me with many choices. So I figured if I can’t do what I love, I’d try teaching the next generation, let one of my students find the career that I missed out on. I thought I’d be a shoe-in at the university, but noooo. What I thought was the last interview to discuss terms turned out to be notification that I was in a heated competition with someone else.”

“Aw, Chloe. I’m sure you’re amply qualified for the position, but I also believe in kismet ––”

“Stop right there. I know all about other civilizations and their belief systems. Do you know what ‘kismet’ is? Superstitious mumbo-jumbo. I should get the job because I’m the most qualified person for the position, not because of some mystical force of luck. Now I’m struggling to figure out how to beat my unknown competition for a job I probably don’t even want, and what happens? I run into Brett Garris. Talk about a mystical force of luck—bad luck. The last person I wanted to see is the poster boy for my field. He didn’t even have the decency to let me avoid him. Nope, he came right up to me like he never broke my heart, and he stands there, flirting with fans and signing autographs all the while acting like I’m the most important person in his world. What a bunch of—but I digress.”

“Oooh, Britt sounds interesting. Tell us more.”

“What’s to tell? We were in the same classes at school, but Mr. BMOC got a television gig after graduation and is now the face of our industry. He steps into millions of living rooms once a week, and I can’t even step one rung up the corporate ladder.”

“Can we circle back around to the broke-your-heart part?”

Tch, If we must. Despite Britt’s reputation, I fell for him. And I became just another notch in his college bedpost. You’d have thought I’d have learned my lesson, but no. A five-minute meeting at the airport, and next thing I know, I’m traveling to Gettysburg with him and visiting the Jennie Wade house, hearing some role-playing guide tell me he’s destined to be my husband. More ridiculous folklore nonsense. The guy’s no more responsible than he was in college, for Pete’s sake. As far as I can tell, he lives out of his suitcase and still has wandering eyes. And more. Can you just imagine me telling my mother I was marrying him? Not that he’d ask. Or that I’d agree. But can you imagine? Me? The consummate professional? With someone like… him?”

“Maybe you’ve grown, I mean look at the job you just applied for. The one you’re well qualified for. Maybe Britt has grown some too over the years.”

“Unlikely. Possible, but unlikely. Hmph. I’m picturing my mother’s face as I tell her I’m with Britt. Seeing her shock would almost make it worth it. She’s disappointed in me already, not being married and living so far from home. If I told her I was going to be traveling around the world with a Lothario? A bourgeois cable TV star? She’d probably threaten to remove me from her will. Like I’d care. At least if I was with Britt, she’d have to stop forcing Preston on me. She’s been calling me a million times a day, trying to convince me to come home and spend the holidays with him. If she had her way, I’d be married, barefoot, and pregnant, living in Preston’s ten-bedroom mansion and planning charity events. No, with my luck, she’d find the idea of me being with a television celebrity exciting and Britt charming. I don’t know that I could resist the two of them if they ganged up on me. Almost makes me want to spend the holidays with boring-old Preston, just to shut everyone up for a while.”

“I’m sure she loves you and thinks she knows what’s best for you. She probably doesn’t, so you have to blaze your own trail. You’ve made some big steps, applying for a new job. Revisiting an old relationship. What will the new year bring? Any final thoughts you’d like to leave our listeners with?”

“Lisa, I’m not much for new year resolutions. I think I’m just going to hope for a better year than this one has been, and let the fates I don’t believe in guide me. Thanks for having me on, and happy holidays to you, Craig, and your followers.”

“You can learn all about Chloe and Britt in the novella, When We Finally Kiss Goodnight, by Staci Troilo. I’ll post all the important details on the website.

“You can help your favorite radio host out by using those sharing buttons today. The more people who learn about my show, the more guests we can have. I’m sure Chloe and Staci would do it for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

When We Finally Kiss GoodnightChloe Upshaw suffers from what she calls the trifecta of awful—unfulfilling job, disappointed family, bad luck with love. Just before Christmas, she travels to Pittsburgh hoping to land a job that will change her career. But not only is she in stiff competition for the position, she angers her mother by rejecting her matchmaking efforts and not going home. Worse, she runs into the guy who got away—and this time, no matter how many lies she tells to protect her heart, she leaves herself vulnerable to hurt.

Britt Garris’ callous and careless behavior in college cost him his dream girl. When fate crosses their paths ten years later, he thinks it’s serendipity. And he launches into one deception after another to win her back, including an auspicious trip for the two archaeologists to Gettysburg. Britt plays on Chloe’s love of history to spend time with her. He doesn’t count on the local lore and legend predicting their future—a future his duplicity puts at risk.

When their lies finally crumble, their budding relationship is threatened. Their dishonesties and disillusions may be impossible to overcome. But maybe the magic of the season can make their dreams come true.

Universal Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/STkiss

Staci Troilo Social Media Links

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links

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Some good, some bad

I write a post along these lines every once in a while. Typically, I get to whatever I’m excited about, then throw out the bummer thing. I’m going to change it up, because I want to end on a high note tonight.

Last night we learned we are losing about half our annual income. We both still have our jobs, but there was a royalty we’ve become accustomed to getting. This has ebbed and flowed for decades. Usually it tapers off for a year or so before it goes blank. This time things were flying high, and without any warning, it ended completely.

This is a huge hit for us, and we were counting on it for part of our Christmas. My ultimate goal was to pay off my truck and furnace before it trickled away this time. At least I’m close. The truck will get paid off around February or March. That will really help. It also helps me make up my mind about trading it in. It’s going to have to last a few more years.

I also afforded my writing habit with some of this money. Let’s face it, breaking even is a worthy goal for a writer today. I used it to commission book covers and promotional posters. I think I can still do this, but I have at least three books I’m planning on releasing in 2018. I already have two covers and most of the posters, so there is that.

Enough of this unhappy shit. There is some decent news too. Back in October, for my birthday, I bought myself a gift. Had I known about the royalty, I never would have done it, but what’s done is done. I commissioned three hat stands for my office at the house. Things like this look better in threes, and two of them arrived today. There is one more to come.

I own a lot of hats. I usually wear one of my fedoras, but if we’re camping there are a couple of nice cowboy hats too. My old hat tree is full to overflowing, and I even have some in boxes in a closet. Now I can put more of them out. Hats aren’t for everyone, but I’ve been wearing a hat since I was a child.

Anyway, they turned out really cool. Here is a photo.

C. S. Boyack

The remaining one will have a cross bone for scarves and such. It’s hard to see in my lousy picture, but the top skull on the stack has a gold doubloon in it’s eye socket.

This guy also makes custom pirate hats. I gave some thought to ordering one depending upon how the stands came out, but under the circumstances, this will have to do. I’m sure a pirate hat would make a great display on one of these stands. I do have a cool witch’s hat that can substitute.

This weekend, I’ll be going over the Christmas shopping list and trying to salvage what we can of the remaining shopping. Perhaps I should wear my witch’s hat while I do it.

Psssst, hey buddy. Want to buy a book? Will write for food, etc.

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Have a Merry Christmas

Thank you all for helping me take Entertaining Stories to new heights this year. I may not post over the weekend, but I'll bet many of you won't either. I'll monitor the comments though. Enjoy this Lisa Burton Christmas poster, and feel free to use it as a screen image on whatever devices you prefer.

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Ahhhhhhh…

Most of the family just left. My daughter, her best friend, and the friend's baby are still here. It's starting to feel calm now.

We had both our sons, our daughter-in-law, and three grandkids for several hours. There was so much food that we're all stuffed. Leftovers abound for tomorrow.

If you're not an introvert you'll never understand, but we can be good in crowds. It's easier when you have familiarity with those in the crowd. There comes a time when you need the silence to recharge your batteries. That's where I am right now.

Christmas was wonderful, and everyone seemed like they received some very nice gifts. I particularly like my new Doc Marten shoes, a stoneware baking pan, and leather card wallet.

As nice as Christmas is, I'm glad to be finished with it. I enjoy a day or two of Christmas music, but over two months gets to be a little much. Maybe now we can retire the Hallmark Channel for another year. I won't miss all those advertisements that indicate everyone else is getting diamonds and automobiles for Christmas, and therefore I'm a slacker.

We've had cartoons on all day for the grandkids. I may need to watch some chainsaw massacres to balance my emotions out.

The Lisa & Bunny Christmas card post was well received. I may have to consider another one next year.

I don't know if I can steal any editing or writing time tomorrow, but I'd like to. How did Santa Claus treat everyone in Blogland?

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Merry Christmas from Entertaining Stories

I'm struggling with when to post this, and am writing it ahead of time. Everyone seems to be signing off over the holiday, and I may be in a similar situation. I just don't know what my availability is going to be until Saturday.

There is a Christmas breakfast, and a visit to see the grandkids' loot later that day. It sounds like I'm being pressed into baking some kind of dinner rolls, and that will eat into my schedule too. We have everyone coming over for Christmas dinner that evening. The point is, it's going to get busy this week.

I may be able to visit blogs here and there over the weekend. I'll try to leave my Gravitar if I manage to stop by.

I hope to find some writing time, but this may not be the week for it. Now that yak guy is adventuring once more, Lisa* is all alone at the writing cabin. I feel bad leaving her all by herself, and hope she isn't too shook up. I know how much she likes having work to do, and a bunch of guests around.

Merry Christmas from Entertaining Stories, and I'll see you again after the holiday.

ooo00ooo

*Lisa Burton is my assistant, and the Spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories. She's also a robot and has appeared in one of my novels and a short story.

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