Monday, December 20, 2021

War and Christmas: Inspiration by Anne Krist #MuseMonday


War can inspire all kinds of literature. Join Anne today to see how it inspired her Christmas story.

It might seem strange to use war as a muse, but that is what Jan Selbourne and I did in our duo book Finding a Christmas Miracle. In Jan's A Miracle in the Outback, an Australian soldier on his way back to camp stops to help a woman who is not only in great need but also in danger. In my story, The Miracle of Coming Home, it takes a paranormal experience for PFC Tom Stabler to find himself when he comes home for a week at Christmas. The common point in both our stories is the war in Vietnam.

There's no denying the effect the war had on the lives of everyone living during the 1960s and 70s. Jan was closer to the action by virtue of Australia's location. For those of us in the U.S., the war felt a million miles away. We watched, fascinated and shocked, on the evening news each night. Everywhere we turned, Vietnam slapped us in the face. For years afterward, I tried putting it from my mind. I refused to write about it until I finally broke down and wrote Burning Bridges, which has its root in the time period.

Because the war was, well, what it was, how could any of us write the story of our youth and not pay homage to the place the war had in it?

The Miracle of Coming Home in Finding a Christmas Miracle (Anne Krist and Jan Selbourne)

Jan Selbourne lends her award-winning writing talent to A Miracle in the Outback. Nick Saunders helps a woman in desperate need. He doesn’t know it, but he needs her help, too.

In award-winning author Anne Krist’s The Miracle of Coming Home, Army PFC Tom Stabler experiences the paranormal at home for Christmas. Will it help heal him or will he need a miracle to do the trick?

Buy link
Amazon Kindle

Awake now, Tom wondered if he’d ever adjust to the feeling of safety again, ever truly believe it existed. He feared he’d always be peering into shadows for the hidden enemy or listening for the almost silent, deadly snick of a landmine trip.

Falling back on the pillow, he stared at the posters on the opposite wall, illuminated by weak moonlight shining through the window. One was for a rock concert held in Omaha four years ago. He’d wanted to take Susan Swensen, but her father wouldn’t let her go the hundred-plus miles into the city with him. Too far, he’d said in his thick Scandinavian accent. Too much can go wrong with a car. Young people can get stranded. Alone.

The last was said with a long, thoughtful stare right into Tom’s soul. How had the man known of Tom’s evil intentions to fake a car breakdown in order to make time with his daughter? Eventually, when she was accepted into nursing school, Mr. Swensen had let Susan go to Omaha. By then, Tom had gone much farther. All the way to Hell, in fact.

The other poster hailed the Fighting Hawks, his high school football team, on which he’d been the star linebacker. Those were heady days. He’d made a great linebacker at the university, too, but a lousy scholar, which was what put him on academic probation and placed his ass squarely in the middle of that worthless strip of land called Vietnam.

Now he wouldn’t even make a linebacker. He skimmed his hand down his chest and across his stomach. Lean—skinny almost. Where once had been bulk there was sinewy muscle. He could still run, though. Oh, yeah, he got lots of practice running. From firing position to firing position, from cover to transport helicopters—black birds hovering over open kill zones to lift guys out of danger or drop them in—and from helicopter back to cover. Some days it seemed he ran the whole damn time.

It felt that way now. But what the hell was he running from?

About Anne and where to find her
A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex.

After a while, Dee split her personality into thirds. She writes as Anne Krist for sweeter romances, and Jenna Stewart for ménage and shifter stories. All three of her personas are found on the Nomad Authors website ( Fortunately, Dee’s high school sweetheart is the love of her life and husband to all three ladies! Once a month, look for Dee’s Charity Sunday blog posts, where your comment can support a selected charity.

Amazon Author Page
Sweet ‘n Sassy Divas


Friday, December 17, 2021

With the Sun in One Hand and the Moon in the Other by Janina Grey #FearlessFriday #romance


Welcome my guest Janina Grey to Discover... She has a great Fearless Friday post you'll not want to miss.

How many people can say they’ve held the sun in one hand and the moon in the other? I can. And my life has never been the same since.

It was sunset, July 5, 2001, Sydney, Australia time and I was standing at the very top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Back home in the United States, my family and friends were celebrating Independence Day and the birth of our nation. For me, I was celebrating the rediscovery of my own independence, my rebirth.

As I stood at the top of the bottom of the world, I had no idea I was foreshadowing how my life would turn upside down—and how I would come out on top—over the next few years.

I was a 39-year-old mother of a precocious three-year-old daughter and sensitive, inquisitive
seven-year-old son. My husband and I were together 20 years, experiencing the normal ups and downs, with more downs of late than anything. He spent a great deal of time traveling for work, going to Jets games, and going on golfing trips, while I dove head first into being a full-time mom and full-time journalist working from home. I was burning out fast and needed a break. So when some Macintosh chat room Internet friends I’d known for four years invited me to their wedding, I said yes,—even though it meant a three-week jaunt around the world without my babies.

As I took off from JFK, I questioned what the heck I was doing. I soon learned that I was finding myself. I was redefining myself. And looking back now, I was possibly saving my life.

Fueled mostly on Red Bull and Boag’s beer, throughout the next three weeks I experienced the magical land of Oz, with stops in Sydney, Adelaide, Queensland, Wollongong, and lots of places in between. I stood on the cliffs of North Head and watched the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean, went to an actual Aussie Rules Footie game (Oi! Oi! Oi!), hiked the Blue Mountains, petted kangaroos at the late great Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, chatted with magpies, did shots of tequila with fellow Macintosh geeks, and drank flat whites and recited poetry with a friend while fruit bats rested high above us in the trees of the Royal Botanical gardens overlooking Sydney Harbour.

In the final leg of my adventure, we climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge at dusk. When we reached the top of the bridge, I stretched out my open palms so the tips of my fingers “touched” the rising moon to my right and the setting sun to my left.

Standing at the top of the bottom of the world, I was reborn. Holding the sun and moon empowered me, making me realize my resilience, my power. I truly could accomplish anything I desired. I was fearless.


Step into the mystical and magical forests of Upstate New York, where Earth and Sky camp photographer Brooke Meadows has taken refuge from the demons of her past as she uses her ability to communicate with the dead to heal loved ones left behind. 

Unable to cope with the loss of his wife and daughters three years prior, Josh Quinn, CEO of the number one dating site, is ordered by his board president to take a break from his Big Apple Headquarters. He finds himself at Earth and Sky Retreats, where confronting his grief has led him to experience a life-altering transformation and re-evaluation of reality. 

Will Josh leave behind his fast-paced, high society life in the concrete mountains of New York City, for the magical, bewitching world Brooke reveals to him in the foothills of the Adirondacks? 

Will Brooke acknowledge and accept her own journey of transformation and healing as she and Josh explore the winding paths and summits that lead them to find love in the forest? 


“See? I told you.” Brooke laughed as they ended a very fast-tempoed rhythm beat out on two djembes they had selected from the music closet in the rec room.

“You’re good. I never would have thought I could do this.” Josh stared at his hands resting on the drum head.

“You have to trust me. Trust yourself. Trust the drum. And trust your heart.” She stared at him, suddenly uncomfortable as his gaze turned to her lips while she spoke. Even after she stopped talking, his eyes never moved. “It’s what I tell all the kids I teach when they’re here. Trust your heart. It’s good advice.” Trying to explain herself only made it worse.

As she babbled on, Josh offered a lopsided grin. “Uh-huh. I see.”

“Yeah, well. I don’t think you do.” The flush of her cheeks was spreading to the rest of her body.

“Thank you.” Josh put down his drum and pocketed the sunglasses he had placed on the seat beside him. He leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees, sharing her personal space as he stared into her eyes.

“For?” Her breath caught as she noted, being this close, that his baby blues might actually be baby teals, something she’d never noticed before now.

“For teaching me how to drum,” he said, his voice barely audible.

“You’re welcome,” she said in a breathless whisper. She cleared her throat and continued. “It’s getting dark. Storm’s blowin’ in.” Brooke’s voice cracked and she swallowed thickly. “We should go.”

“We should, shouldn’t we?” His words came softly, cloaked in a husky timber.

“Yes.” She answered too quickly as he took another step closer.

Her legs grew wobbly as he filled her personal space with a velvety soft reality she’d not known in an awfully long time. He was so close she picked up his scent. He smelled of fresh air, and rain . . . and man. 

Excerpt From: Janina Grey. “Love in the Forest.” Apple Books.


You can grab your very own copy of LOVE IN THE FOREST by following these links: 

Barnes and Noble:


Soul Mate Publishing

Instagram: @janinagreyauthor
Twitter: @janina_grey


Janina Grey has been writing since she could hold a crayon, and there has been no stopping her since. Journaling, short stories, poetry, newsletters, news, feature, columns, Op/Eds, and press releases have kept her busy her whole life. But it was the sweet Harlequin romances she read in her downtime that stayed forever in her heart and gave her the inspiration to write her own contemporary romances now published with Soul Mate Publishing. 

By day, Janina guides domestic and sexual assault survivors down their path of healing and empowerment. But in the wee hours of the morning, she hunkers down at her childhood writing desk with Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, or Led Zep streaming through her earbuds while she brings to life her characters as they face their real-life sorrows and successes, and best of all, their happily ever afters. 

Growing up on Long Island and living periodically in Tennessee as a youth has given her the opportunity to meet many different types of people and experience many different lifestyles. After moving from Long Island to settle in the Mohawk Valley in Upstate New York with her family, she found the support needed to pursue her writing endeavors with Central New York Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. 

When Janina is not writing, she may be marching for women’s rights, kayaking, camping, drumming, or dancing around the fire. 

With her two children grown, she and her husband, David, share their 113-year-old Mohawk Valley farm house homestead with a few resident spirits and a very squawky murder of crows.

Monday, December 13, 2021

A Moment’s #Inspiration by Janet Raye Stevens #MuseMonday


How fun...a WWII story that is also a paranormal suspense. Let's hear where Janet found her inspiration and all about the book.

My new book, A Moment After Dark, a World War II-set paranormal suspense, is a culmination of both my interest in the odd and otherworldly and WWII history. Blame it on my childhood. As a kid, I loved TV shows like The Twilight Zone and especially the supernatural and soapy daytime drama, Dark Shadows. How I loved the spooky settings, gothic suspense, to-die-for costumes and hairdos, and vampire and unlikely sex symbol, Barnabas Collins! I also lived in a public housing project, populated for the most part by WWII veterans. Practically every dad, and some of the moms, had served in the war in some capacity. I grew up hearing their stories and became steeped in the history of that singular moment in time. When I started writing fiction years later, it made sense my life-long interests would inspire my stories, particularly A Moment After Dark, a historical romantic suspense with a paranormal twist, set in the first week of December, 1941. 

A Moment After Dark blurb: 

She sees the future with a touch. A powerful gift in a time of war.

The enemy wants her. The Allies need her. 

When Addie Brandt touches someone, she sees their future, and it’s rarely good. Mocked and teased her whole life, Addie hides from the world in her family’s funeral home. But when her second sight shows her a horrific vision of an attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval base, the gruesome images are too intense to ignore, and she tries to raise the alarm. Will anyone listen?


Federal agent Jack Dunstan needs a miracle. He’s still reeling from the betrayal that nearly decimated his team of agents with paranormal powers, a vengeful Nazi spy with a terrifying ability of his own is out to destroy him, and he knows it’s only a matter of time before America is drawn into the war raging around the world. Hearing rumors of Addie’s vision, he seeks her out, hoping she could be the miracle he’s looking for.


Addie’s not sure she trusts Jack Dunstan. He’s rude, cocky, and insists on calling her curse of second sight a “gift.” But if she wants to save lives and prevent a terrible disaster, she has to put aside her fears and learn to embrace her ability. 

With the US on the brink of war and an enemy agent hunting her for her power, Addie must learn to trust Dunstanand herselfto stop an attack that could change the course of history. 

A Moment After Dark Excerpt: 

Addie Brandt, determined to raise the alarm about her vision of an attack on Pearl Harbor, goes to the police to report what she's seen—but it doesn't go as she hopes: 

“What do you expect me to do?” Sgt. Gillis asked.

Addie’s frustration and anger threatened to boil over. “Can’t you call the Navy or the FBI or someone?” 

“And tell them what? A fanciful girl thinks there might be an attack on one of our naval bases at some point in the future? I’m sorry, dear, that’s not what police work is. I can’t call anyone without something solid to go on.” Gillis held out his hand. “Or some kind of proof.”

She stared at his palm as if it held a bomb. Touch him? What good would that do? If the Sight showed her a vision, it would most likely be terrible. And whatever she saw might not happen for some time. She shook her head.

The sergeant frowned. “I thought as much. Why don’t you run on home, Miss Brandt, and forget this foolishness?”

Addie lost the battle to hold her temper. By golly, she’d do it.

Cool air tickled her skin as she stripped off a glove. Silence fell in the precinct. Addie’s hand hovered over Gillis’s and she cringed. She hadn’t held anyone’s hand since Mother’s, years ago, when the Sight showed her Mother was going to die.

But she had to. With the fate of so many hanging in the balance, she had to touch him.

She pressed her fingers against his. Instantly, darkness as black as pitch blanketed her mind. Horrific images flashed. Terrifying sensations beat against her brain. It took every ounce of strength she had to tear out of the Sight’s grip.

She opened her eyes to see Sgt. Gillis smirking at her. “Well? Where’s my proof?” he said.

Addie scrabbled her glove back onto her hand and shot out of her seat. The chair legs squawked against the floorboards. “I-I can’t,” she said hastily. “I’m sorry.”

“Crazy as a loon,” she heard one of the policemen say as she dashed across the room.

Burning with fury and humiliation, Addie flung open the front door and slammed into a wall. No, not a wall. A man. A powerfully built man, with shoulders as broad as an anchor filling his overcoat and a chest apparently made of iron. She looked up to see a face like Dick Tracy in the funny papers—all angles. Razor sharp jaw, full lips, crooked nose, black hair under a fedora perched at a rakish angle. And eyes the color of brown sugar. Curious eyes that kept her gaze a moment too long.

“Whoa, sister, where’s the fire?” he said, his voice as deep as the ocean. He smelled like the ocean, too. Fresh, salty-sharp, like he’d been born on Pott’s Beach.

She laughed bitterly. Couldn’t help it, after what the Sight had inflicted on her in the heartbeat she’d held the sergeant’s hand. Addie as Gillis, at the foot of a massive structure engulfed in flames. She’d ripped herself out of the vision before the burning structure collapsed and the scorching embers crashed onto her. Or Gillis, rather. But she knew with certainty the sergeant would die a fiery death.

Somehow, she made it around the big man she’d slammed into, mighty glad her hands were covered, and she couldn’t make contact with him. She’d had enough of the Sight for one day.

Besides, she did not want to know what could fell a Redwood tree of a man like him. 



Other Booksellers: 

Janet Raye Stevens Bio & Social Media Links: 

Meet award-winning author Janet Raye Stevens, mom, reader, tea-drinker (okay, tea guzzler), and weaver of adventurous, occasionally heartbreaking, and stealthily romantic tales.

A Derringer Award nominee, Janet’s work has been recognized multiple times, including the Daphne du Maurier award and RWA's Golden Heart® award for Cole for Christmas. Janet writes mystery, time travel, paranormal, and the occasional Christmas romance with humor, heart, and a dash of suspense.

She lives in New England with her handsome better half and their equally impressive children.

Connect with Janet at: Website: Instagram: Twitter:

Friday, December 10, 2021

December is the Month of #Sharing

What happened to November? And December is zipping away. I loooove December, the sharing month. But there are never enough hours in the day. Shopping is taking longer now that I check the label to see where the item is made and then hunt for something comparable made in the USA. A difficult task, let me tell you. 

I'm desperately trying to write everyday. December is more family than career with the Solstice celebration with our son and his family and then Christmas with my mom and whoever else we can corral. I'm working on two projects, so in the spirit of December, I'll share a little of both which should be published not too far into 2022.

The third book in The MacKenzie Chronicles, Curse of Wolf Falls, is about Elidor, the youngest sibling and the most clairsentient. 

Elidor MacKenzie has a gift she can’t return. Her ability to absorb the energy from people around her, to take on their joy but also their pain and suffering, lies somewhere between a blessing and a curse. In Joshua, her clairsentient abilities are particularly keen which has kept her away from her family and drove her from the only man she ever loved. But Elidor is back. And in spite of a newfound quiet within, the threat she’s running from will stir the energies of Joshua once again.

This first draft of a blurb sounds rather paranormal. The book is romantic suspense with her gift woven in. I'll have to work on that.

Here is the beginning of the book:


“Cameron!” Elidor MacKenzie screamed, as the excruciating sound of bones and flesh meeting rock vibrated in her ears. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” she chanted as she slid and clawed her way off the mountain to the flatland below where Cameron lay sprawled, arms and legs flung outward as if he’d just made a snow angel in the dust. 

Dropping to her knees, she bent close to his face. “Can you hear me? Please, please. Cam.” 

His eyelids fluttered but didn’t fully open. “Ellie,” he rasped. “You…were right…should…use r-ropes.” 

“Hush. It doesn’t matter now. Oh, thank the universe, you’re alive.” She touched his face. “I’ve got to get help.” 

“Wait,” he whispered, the words coming as if with great difficulty. “Get…me back…to camp…first.” 

“No, Cam, I have to call for help.” They were a half mile from where they’d pitched tents, in the shade of trees on the other side of a shallow stream. 

“Not here. Can’t…find us…here. Secret.” He rolled a few inches to his side, struggling to rise. His face contorted in pain. 

They agreed to keep the find in the mountain a secret, but she couldn’t do it at his expense. “But—” 

He shoved at her shoulder with more force than she imagined he could muster. 

“Okay. I’ll try.” She positioned herself above his head and shoulders, grabbed him under the arms, and helped him to sit. “This is stupid, just stupid.” His pain jabbed at her back and limbs—he’d cracked the wall of her empathic shell. Then his determination rocked her breathless.

I'm also working with fellow author Joyce Proell on a cozy mystery set in the imaginary town of Wyatt, Arizona. I'm having soooo much fun with this project. Two sisters meet each year on their birthdays at an infamous hotel in Wyatt for a chocolate martini and a weekend of sisterly sharing. This time, there is murder and mayhem. Leave it to the Chocolate Martini Sisters to solve the crime. 

These projects mean I am leaving 2021 on a good note and opening 2022 on an even better note!


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Cole, Christmas, and a bit of Wicked Weather by Janet Raye Sevens #WickedWednesday #ChristmasRomance


Love this take on wicked. Enjoy my guest post from Janet Raye Sevens!

I’m from the heart of New England—Massachusetts—where it’s a requirement to use the word “wicked” in a conversation several times a day, as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb and occasionally a preposition. We have a wicked lot of Dunkin’ Donuts shops, the Boston Red Sox are wicked awesome or wicked stinky, depending on how they’re doing this season, and we don’t just have weather, we have wicked weather. 

I’d like to focus on that last wicked for a moment, wicked weather. Snow, in particular. Specifically, snow in the form of a monster blizzard known as a nor’easter. I’ve lived through a ton of these east coast storms, so-called because the wind gusts blow from the northeast. I don’t know whose idea it was to drop a few letters from the word and add the apostrophe, but it gives the word an urgent feel that evokes the whistling rush of the wind and pelting snow. Just hearing the word (pronounced “naweasta” around these parts) makes you want to curl up in a warm spot (preferably by a roaring fire) and read a book. Or write one. 

When I set out to write what would become my sweet and funny holiday romance, Cole for Christmas, I had the premise, a case of mistaken identity, and I had the couple, a hot chef and a feisty event manager who butt heads while working a summer wedding. I had a stressed-out bride and an accident-prone groom. I even had a matchmaking grandma. But something was missing. The story needed a villain. 

That’s when my brain nudged me and said, uh, how about moving the wedding from July to December? How about making it a winter wedding with wicked weather? Aside from the awful alliteration, I thought, hey, good idea. What can be more villainous than a snowstorm, and not just any old snowstorm, but a major blizzard that whips up unexpectedly, threatening to ruin the whole wedding. Though to be fair to Mother Nature, there’s a wicked good chance of a snowstorm on Christmas Eve up in this neck of the woods, so planning a wedding then is kind of a risk. 

I had a lot of fun with my wicked snowstorm. It forced my hero and heroine to work together to keep the event on track and to find ways to keep the bride calm. The nor’easter gave them a common enemy to fight against, to commiserate over, and in one heated moment out in the storm’s chill, to share a fleeting kiss. 

In the end, the snow doesn’t defeat them, but it does bring them together. So maybe it’s not such a wicked villain after all. 

Cole for Christmas Blurb: 

Event coordinator Katy is called in to sub for her perfectionist sister at a Christmas Eve wedding in Portland, Maine. Chef Cole takes over from his temperamental boss for the same event. The problem? Each thinks the other is their prickly counterpart and they expect fireworks when they meet. It's the sparks that fly between them that's unexpected—and unwelcome. Katy's skittish after a bad breakup. Left at the altar, Cole has sworn off women for good. They both vow to just do their job and stay out of each other’s way. 

That plan goes awry as troubles mount. An unexpected nor’easter blows in, making roads slick and forcing wedding guests to stay home. Mix in a stressed-out bride, an accident-prone groom, a power outage, a matchmaking grandma, plus lots and lots of mistletoe, and what's supposed to be a magical Christmas Eve wedding fast becomes a Christmas nightmare.  

Forced to team up to put out the many fires, the blaze between Cole and Katy burns brighter as the evening wears on. Can they ignore their growing attraction and keep their relationship strictly professional? Or will they give in to the mistletoe and say I do to a Christmas kiss that promises more to come in the new year? 

Amazon Link: 

Janet Raye Stevens Bio & Social Media Links: 

Meet award-winning author Janet Raye Stevens, mom, reader, tea-drinker (okay, tea guzzler), and weaver of adventurous, occasionally heartbreaking, and stealthily romantic tales.

A Derringer Award nominee, Janet’s work has been recognized multiple times, including the Daphne du Maurier award and RWA's Golden Heart® award for Cole for Christmas. Janet writes mystery, time travel, paranormal, and the occasional Christmas romance with humor, heart, and a dash of suspense.

She lives in New England with her handsome better half and their equally impressive children.

Connect with Janet at: Website: Instagram: Twitter: