Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Caroline Clemmons has a few Christmas selections!

Thanks to Penny Estelle for having me as her guest today.
We’re still in an especially busy season of the year with shopping, decorating, cooking, and finding ways to de-stress. As an author and a reader, I relax by escaping into a book. Allowing myself to sink into another time or another world takes me away from day-to-day issues. If you do the same, I have suggestions. 

ANGEL FOR CHRISTMAS is a contemporary romance that is my first work with an angel for a character. This book was a lot of fun to write. Jacob was a dot com success who has been sent back to prevent an orphanage from foreclosure. To accomplish his goal, he’s given the job of janitor at the orphanage’s school. Suzi Stephens is the school’s child psychologist who has had to take over as director of the Serenity Springs Children’s Home after her father’s death. She’s facing a giant balloon note due on January 1st and not much hope of raising the funds in spite of her diligent efforts. Jacob is given until midnight on December 24th to succeed. He suspects he doesn’t want to know what happens if he fails.

Suzi watched the new janitor walk away. He puzzled her. Much too young and fit, why was he working here? Not that there was anything wrong with being a janitor, but he didn’t fit the profile. Jacob Porter gave the impression of someone who’d be in a boardroom rather than behind a broom or mop.
She had to be careful who she exposed the children to and she wanted to know more about him. First, she had to get Missy her doll.
Back in her office later, she asked Valerie for the janitor’s application. Nothing in his file set off alarm bells. Background check, fingerprints, references. His former employer had died, but there was no indication of why Jacob had applied here.
Valerie asked, “Did you find anything off-putting in his file?”
She tapped a finger against the folder. “No, but I wonder if he’s a spy for the investor who wants to buy the property?”
Valerie gasped. “That explanation would make sense. Jacob Porter looks as if he belongs in a three-piece suit and a tie.”
“He certainly does.” Elbows on her desk, she rested her head in her hands. “I do not need this when I’m desperately trying to raise money.”
“I have faith in you, Suzi Q. You’ll find a way.”
Her father’s long-time secretary calling her by her childhood nickname comforted her. “Thank you for your support, Valerie. You’re expert at soothing my anxiety. But, this time I honestly don’t know what we’ll do if this gala doesn’t pay off.”
“Give the event a chance. You’re an excellent organizer. How many positive replies have you received?”
“Far too few. Dad was better at schmoozing than I am and he failed. I-I’ll never get the hang of this in time to save the home.”
The secretary walked to the doorway but turned back. “You’re not helping anyone worrying this way. Get busy, young lady.”
“You’re right, Valerie. I’ll check the names again.” Suzi sighed and resumed checking the RSVPs against her master list. Maybe today’s mail would bring good news.
After school, Katie Wilson, the kindergarten teacher, stopped by the office. Suzi’s morale had hit rock-bottom and she was glad to see her best friend.
“Hey, Suzi, how are replies for the gala coming?”
“Only declines arrived in today’s mail except for Mr. Hopper. If he continues in the pattern for other years, he’ll donate fifty dollars while enjoying the event and eating enough for three people.”
“Don’t let it get you down. You’re a capable woman and I’m sure you’ll pull this off again.”
Slowly, Suzi shook her head. “I’m not sure. Apparently Fate’s conspiring against me.”
“Want to go grab a bite to eat?”
“Not tonight, thanks. I’d be lousy company. Catch me another time.”
“Will do. Since you’re not going with me, I believe I’ll go on home myself. After a day standing, these new shoes are killing my feet.” Katie left for the day.
Moving slowly, Suzi gathered her purse and coat for her walk to her house, situated at one corner of the grounds.      

WILD WESTERN WOMEN – MISTLETOE, MONTANA is set in 1890 and includes my novella, MISTELTOE MISTAKE. Sheriff Riley McCallister is in charge of finding a new doctor for Mistletoe after the beloved Doc Jones dies. What a shock when a beautiful young woman, Dr. Shannon Callahan, steps off the train. Will the town accept a woman doctor? What about the sheriff—will he adjust to having a woman on the job? Others stories in this box set are by Kirsten Osbourne, Sylvia McDaniel, and Merry Farmer.

Buy link is
MISTLETOE MISTAKE by Caroline Clemmons – When the sheriff sent for a town doctor, he didn’t expect a woman.

MISTLETOE SCANDAL by Sylvia McDaniel – A city girl, a cowboy, and a dog trapped together in a blizzard discover Christmas wishes can come true.

MISTLETOE AND MOONBEAMS by Merry Farmer – He stopped at her saloon to rest but they ended up trapped alone together for a week.

MAIL-ORDER MERRY by Kirsten Osbourne – He wanted an independent wife, but he wasn’t so sure he wanted her to come with two young children and a nurse.

Outside the store, a crowd of running children barreled into her and she grabbed the wall to stop a fall. “Whoa. Where are you going so fast?”
“They’re running from me.” The sheriff strode toward them carrying the saddest looking dog she’d ever seen.
Poor dog was filthy with several shades of brown hair. He was far too large to be toted around in the sheriff’s arms.
“Is that your dog?” She reached out to scratch between the creature’s ears. He ducked as if he thought she’d hit him.
After putting her parcel more securely under her arm, she caught the dog’s muzzle in her hands. “Poor boy, has someone been mean to you? I won’t hurt you.” She stroked his head and scratched between his ears.
The dog’s eyes lost their fear and he licked her hand. The crowd of children chose her distraction to run away.
“That Doan horde probably didn’t intend to be mean, but they were terrorizing this animal. Five of them fighting over him and pulling him first one way and then the other. They’re lucky he didn’t bite one of them.”
“Whose is he?”
“Never saw him before. Looks as if he’s missed a lot of meals.”
“And baths.” She smiled at the lawman. “I guess you have a dog, Sheriff. What are you going to name him?”
The sheriff shook his head. “He’s not mine. I just don’t want him harmed or frightened.”
“Or hungry or dirty or lonely. You definitely have yourself a dog.”
He leaned toward her and spoke over the dog, “I tell you, I don’t.”
Shannon crossed her arms. “Think not? Put him down and walk away and you’ll see.”
Shooting her a glare, he set the dog on the boardwalk. When the sheriff stepped away, the dog stayed at his heels.
Shannon laughed. “You’d better feed your dog, Sheriff. And name him.”

MURDOCH’S BRIDE is set near Sweetwater Springs, Montana in 1887.
Stranded in the snow…

Charity Kelso is accompanying her fussy Aunt Edwina from New York to Oregon when their train is wrecked and the passenger cars burn. Sweetwater Springs doesn’t have a hotel, so passengers are parceled out to townsfolk’s homes. No one wants anything to do with complaining Aunt Edwina. That also leaves Charity and their newly widowed friend Amelia nowhere to stay until the tracks are repaired. A new blizzard is headed their way, so what are they to do?

Logan Murdoch and his brother came to Sweetwater Springs to restock before the next storm arrives. Against Logan’s better judgment, the sheriff convinces him to take three stranded women to Murdoch Ranch. Other than their housekeeper-cook, a woman hasn’t set foot in the Murdoch home in the twenty years since Logan’s mother abandoned them. He doesn’t expect his father to welcome these unwanted visitors.

Both Charity and Logan are surprised at the events that unfold. How could this have happened?

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Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel. 

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there. 

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?
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Friday, December 16, 2016

Stone and Shell by Lloyd A. Meeker

Christmas Is In the Air


Eight-year-old Howie Evinger is convinced that his dad would be happier if he found a new husband. Howie would be happier, too. And somewhere out there in the city of Vancouver, there's the right man for his dad to love. But how to find him? That’s a problem, especially if you’re just a kid and your dad says he doesn’t want another husband.

With the help of his quirky aunt who calls herself a Buddhist Wiccan, Howie builds his very own solstice altar with cool symbols to support his search. It has a candle, a feather and a twisty stick, plus an agate for his dad, and a scallop shell for his new husband. Share Howie’s solstice adventure as he learns how real magic requires courage and patience as well as symbols.


To the wise and uncertain child in each of us, keeper of the flame of wonder.

Stone and Shell

Maybe the stone and the shell were too close to the candle. Howie wasn’t sure how this stuff worked. He studied his Solstice altar, made out of a wooden TV tray covered in a piece of dark green cloth. He felt nervous, like sitting in a surprise math test he hadn’t prepared for. He had dreams like that sometimes. He hated math.
If he left his objects too close together, would his wish cover enough territory? Vancouver was a big city. He pushed his glasses back up his nose and frowned. Shanna, who was really his aunt Shannon, even though she didn’t let him call her that, would know how it worked.
She’d taught him about symbols last week, which was a totally cool idea. Then she helped him build his Solstice altar and told him to place his symbols wherever he felt was right for them. The problem was he didn’t know how to place them so his wish, which sat like a giant lump inside him, would come true. It hadn’t occurred to him to ask her about placement rules for wishes.
Dad was working late tonight, and the house was a lot nicer when someone was home already. Back when his dad and Joel were together, they’d had a big Buddha statue, which was the first thing anybody saw when they came in the front door. It was like having a friend waiting for you to come home. Joel had taken it to Toronto with him, and the house felt different without it. He’d told Dad he didn’t mind that it wasn’t there anymore, but he actually did. He didn’t want to be a wuss and complain, though. His best friend, Ricky, was lucky. The Liu family had a gold Buddha set up in their house with all kinds of beautiful stuff around it, even incense. Howie liked the smell, but it made him sneeze sometimes.
Shanna would come soon, and he’d help her get dinner ready. Usually on Dad’s late days, all three of them would eat together, which was nice. It was lasagna tonight, Howie knew, because Dad had made it on the weekend and had frozen most of it for nights like this.
So when Shanna got there in a bit, he’d ask her how Solstice altars worked. She’d know what to do. She’d told him all about Druids and the Solstice and the Celts who were Howie’s ancestors. When he said he thought his grandparents were English, Shanna got a little mad and said just because someone is born in a barn, doesn’t mean he’s a horse. Howie didn’t get it entirely, but he’d stuck with being from the Celts after that.
He was doing pretty well with the altar, as far as he could tell. He’d found objects representing the four forces, which Shanna said every altar needed. He’d found a tiny pure white gull feather with really pretty fuzz near the bottom that moved even when you blew on it just a little. That was for air, and he had a twisty stick for earth. The candle was fire, of course. And then there was water. That part was easy; he already had the little scallop shell and the agate, both from the ocean.
Trouble was, he didn’t want to talk to her about his wish again, or that the stone on his altar also represented his dad, and the shell was a new husband for him because it was smooth and beautiful inside. The shell would hold the stone, and give it a place to be really happy again.
He’d already told Shanna months ago that his biggest wish was for his dad to find a new husband, and she’d kissed his cheek and laughed, her eyes shiny with what he could tell were almost-tears even though she didn’t say so, whispering that was a lovely but awfully big wish for an eight-year-old boy to carry. Howie didn’t mind how big the wish was. He wanted it to come true more than anything else in the whole world.
He pulled the agate pebble back from the candle a little way, but kept it nestled against the shell. Farther from the candle felt right, but the pebble and shell shouldn’t be that close yet. Who knew how far apart they really were? He pulled them apart a few inches, hating the new gap. Even so, the distance felt right. For now. He’d put them closer together soon.

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I’m a mystic, writer, healer, lover, cancer survivor, father, friend. I write (mostly) gay fiction featuring all those paths and more.

Having led what can only be described as a checkered life, I can honestly say I’m grateful for all of it. I’ve been a minister, an office worker, a janitor, a drinker, and a software developer on my way to finishing my first novel in 2004.

But basically I’m just a weather-worn psychic empath still learning how to live in the world just the way it is. The thing is, I experience the world as so much more than is generally accepted. That’s the challenge. Writing stories is the best way I’ve found to examine and share the questions, the wonders I engage daily.

My husband and I have been together since 2002, married since 2007. Between us we have four children and five grandchildren. We're based in south Florida, and work hard to keep up with the astonishing life we've created for ourselves.