WINNER!! 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

I’m happy to announce that the winner of the $25 gift card is… (drum roll, please)

 

BETH CLAUDILL

 

Congratulations, Beth! I’ll be contacting you via email!

 

And thank you to all my guest bloggers and everyone who stopped by in the

last couple weeks to share your holiday traditions with us!

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Solstice, Happy Kwanza, and

Happy New Year!!

 

**This drawing was chosen by writing all the names on little pieces of paper and having my husband blindly pull one out of his baseball cap**
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Twelve Days of Christmas: Lilia Birney

For the Price of a Cup of Coffee
by Lilia Birney

Every year at Christmas time, I hear the same thing from non-profits and charitable organizations.  “For the price of a cup of coffee, you can make a difference.”  But I never really believed it.  I never wanted to give so little.  I figured that if I were going to increase my giving to charity, I needed to give in a BIG way.  I thought that if I really were going to give a small donation, it would be somehow insulting to the recipient.

But this year is the first year that my daughter is really old enough to be aware of Christmas and it’s our first year of really struggling against the materialism that comes hand in hand with the season.  I wanted to set an example for her, one that she might be able to really get and to follow.  So, we decided to have “pizza parties for charity” every Friday night for the month of December.

It works like this: usually every Friday night, as a rule, we order two large pizzas and usually a few extras from our local pizza delivery.  Then, we rent (or even purchase) a movie on Amazon to watch.  The total usually tops out around $40 for the night.  So, instead of ordering pizza from takeout, we choose a take and bake pizza from the grocery store (for around $5) and watch one of the movies we already have.  Then, we would donate the remaining $35 to charity.

To choose the charity, each of us wrote the name of a charity on an index card.  We folded them up and put them in a bowl.  My daughter draws the name of that charity out on Friday morning, and all day we talk about how we are “eating for” that charity.  Our first party was last Friday, and my daughter chose a tiger sanctuary.  She is obsessed with tigers. So, all day we talked about how we were “eating for tigers.”

Then, that night, we looked at the tiger sanctuary’s website and “adopted” a Bengal tiger with our donation.  In a few weeks, we’ll get an adoption certificate in the mail.  It’s the most tangible way I can think of to show my daughter how to give more—to get something a little less big to give to others.  And in a few weeks, she’ll get a certificate in the mail and a bunch of cool stuff all about tigers—more tangible proof of how her donation helped.

We tried it the first night and it’s amazing how excited we all were and how much fun we had.   And we can’t wait until this Friday to do it all over again for a different charity.  It may not make a huge difference to the charity of choice, but it has made a huge difference to our family.  It’s like we’re seeing Christmas through new lenses!

Leave a comment for Lilia and be entered to win a $25 gift card to the book seller of your choice!

Summons DukeLady Penelope’s Christmas Charade:
When Lady Penelope Annand’s trusted servant goes missing just before Christmas, she is determined to get to the bottom of the matter.  Even if that means hiring a thief-taker to track down her maid’s whereabouts.  But when the darkly smoldering Pierce Howe takes charge of the situation, Penelope finds herself growing more attracted to him by the second–even if she’s infuriated by his high-handed manner.  Penelope gave up on Christmas wishes years ago when her first husband broke her heart, but could Pierce give her a second chance at love?Pierce Howe has made a name for himself as one of London’s most reliable thief-takers, leaving behind his family’s sordid past to create a life of his own.  But when Viscountess Annand, known in society as The Ice Goddess, demands that he track down her wayward maid, he receives a Christmas gift he never expected–Penelope’s trust.  His carefully-constructed defenses begin crumbling as they embark on a Christmas charade to find Penelope’s maid.  As the Ice Goddess shows that she does indeed have a melting point, the thief-taker must decide if he can risk it all and tell her the truth about his past.
Available NOW at these major retailers…
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

 Lilia Birney on Twitter: @liliabirne

Twelve Days of Christmas: Samantha Grace

Banana Pancakes

by Samantha Grace

One of the things I love about being a parent is being in charge of creating happy memories for our kids. I think observing tradition gives everyone a stronger sense of who we are and where we belong. We carry it with us all our lives. The traditions my husband and I observe with our kids are a mix of things from our childhood and new things we wanted to try.

Two of the kids’ favorite traditions are opening one gift on Christmas Eve and banana pancakes on Christmas morning. They love banana pancakes so much they request them year round, but Christmas morning they are a must. (One of my favorite traditions is getting the kids a new ornament every year, and when they have their own homes, they can have the ornaments for their trees.)

The first year I made banana pancakes, I used the recipe out of Sheila Lukins’s All Around the World Cookbook. Now I’ve modified the recipe using a mix to get the pancakes on the table quicker, but her recipe really is superior.

Banana Pancakes

2 cups Krusteaz pancake mix

1 1/3 cups water

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2-3 mashed ripe bananas

Combine the pancake mix and water with a whisk. Add brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Fold in mashed bananas. Grease the griddle with a little vegetable oil.  Pour about ¼ cup of batter on the hot griddle, cook until the edges start to look golden, and flip.

I serve Little Smokies with the pancakes Christmas morning. I figure once a year isn’t bad.

 Twice Upon a Time:Summons Duke

Since her father’s untimely death, Felicity Halliday has relied on the medical knowledge learned at his side to treat London’s most disreputable in order to support her family.  Life has been hard, but everything changes the night she is snatched from an alley behind a theatre and tossed into a nobleman’s carriage. 

It has been less than a fortnight since Julian Beckford returned to London after a sojourn in India, and he’s already up to his top-boots in one of his cousin’s mad schemes. When his foolish cousin decides to engage an actress to play his wife over the holidays at Danby Castle, Julian becomes an unwilling party to the lady’s abduction. Along their journey to Yorkshire, Julian makes a stunning discovery about his cousin’s pretend wife and finds it’s possible to love Twice Upon a Time.

Available NOW at these major retailers…
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

ABMChristmasA Beau Monde Bachelor Christmas:

Join newlywed couples Lord and Lady Norwick, Jake and Amelia Hillary, Daniel and Lisette Hillary, and Isaac and Serafine Tucker for their first Christmas together.

Bibi, the Countess of Norwick, would love to give her husband the one thing he really wants for Christmas: a ceasefire between her and his intractable sister. Facing Lady Troll during the holidays without reinforcements, however, would be foolish, and Bibi is no fool. She calls upon her dearest friends, Amelia and Jake Hillary, and a few more familiar faces to spend Christmas in Kent to help make the season a little brighter. Unfortunately, her guests are distracted by their own challenges this holiday season, and Bibi must find a way to connect with her sister-in-law without their help if she hopes to make Jasper’s Christmas wishes come true.

 

To access A Beau Monde Bachelor Christmas, sign up for Samantha’s newsletter group. http://www.samanthagraceauthor.com.

I love to hear from readers, so if you would like to connect with me, you can find me at the following places:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Lady Scribes

Leave a comment for Samantha and be entered to win a

$25 gift card to the book seller of your choice!

New Release: A Love For All Seasons

Get all three of Jerrica’s most beloved novellas in one, tidy package! A Love for All Seasons includes her stories from A Summons from the Duke, The Betting Season and A Season to Remember.

LOVING MR. LOCKWELL (Originally from Summons from the Duke)…
Lady Isabel Whitton has no use for people other than her twin sister — she much prefers the company of her books. So when she discovers that all her cousins from near and far have been summoned to her home, Danby Castle, for Christmas, she isn’t pleased. To make matters even worse, the deplorable Mister Lockwell has come uninvited. * Damien Lockwell, 3rd son of the Earl of Totterdown, has invited himself to Yorkshire for Christmas. Spending the holiday with the Whittons seems far preferable to watching his father drink himself into a stupor. And Lady Isabel proves to be just the kind of entertainment he was looking for — she’s smart as a whip and quite the most unique creature he’s ever met — not to mention she despises him, which is the most thrilling part of all for a man like Damien.

THE MARRIAGE TRAP (Originally from The Betting Season)…

When Miss Patience Findley discovers, at her first ball of her first Season, just how much her father’s scandal has affected her chances of marriage, she resigns herself to being alone and dying a spinster. That is, until she hears that her friends’ names have landed in the Betting Book at White’s. In a moment of desperation, she asks her reprobate cousin to place a bet on her behalf, in hopes of trapping an unsuspecting gentleman into marriage.

Tristan Wallford, Lord Swaffham, loves a good challenge. So when his friend, Rowan Findley, claims that his cousin Patience cannot be cured of her melancholy state, Tristan lays a bet that he will be the one to cure her. He could certainly use the money, after all. But as the game begins, Tristan begins to realize that not only does Miss Findley not need curing, but she might be worth trapping for himself.

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS (Originally from A Season to Remember)…
Penelope Bartlett has had a rough year, to say the least. She lost her eldest brother and her father in one fell swoop, and to make matters worse she had to miss out on her very first London Season. Now she’s in the thick of the Little Season and all she wants to do is run away. It’s torture to watch her siblings fall in love and she’s simply not in the mood to make merry with all of them. Especially when they treat her as if she’s still a little girl in leading strings. 
* Enter Drake Lockwell, Viscount Flitwick. He, too, is typically eager to escape crowded ballrooms and matchmaking mamas in favor of his own company in a deserted garden or library. But a chance meeting in his brother’s garden one night changes everything. Miss Bartlett is young and impetuous, yet he can’t help but fall prey to her charms. Perhaps she will be the one to finally mend the hole in his heart…

Or will his secrets be more than Penelope is able to handle?

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords!

Interview with the Whitton twins!

Lady Isabel and Lady Emma have been interviewed this morning at Lilia Birney’s blog! Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle, Amazon gift cards and many, many more prizes!!

Interview with the Twins