Friday, November 7, 2014

Heating up the Holidays with Valerie Bowman





Heating up the Holidays with Valerie Bowman!



VALERIE BOWMAN is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels (a.k.a. Racy Regency Romps) with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging story lines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands!
Valerie’s first Regency series from St. Martin’s Press has garnered acclaim including a nomination for Best First Historical from RT Book Reviews, a BookList starred review, and a Publishers Weekly starred review. She is also a 2014 Kirkus Prize nominee for fiction. Her work has been called “Too delightful to miss” by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas and “Everything a romance should be” by New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean.
Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.





As far as I’m concerned, Christmas has a little magic to it. There’s something about the sparkling lights on the tree, the quiet as the world shuts down and settles in to spend time with friends and family. Christmas Eve is especially lovely and still in my house. We each open one present and then snuggle up with hot chocolate and warm, fuzzy slippers to listen to Christmas carols, enjoy our new gifts, read, or just talk to one another by the glow of the Christmas tree.

I added a hint of that Christmas magic to my story, It Happened Under the Mistletoe, part of the Christmas Brides anthology. The story features a Christmas cat who comes out of nowhere and acts as a matchmaker. She’s gray and fluffy and is often found wearing a jaunty Christmas decoration around her neck or over one ear. Everyone in the story assumes the cat belongs to someone else. In the end, they realize the cat is a stray (alas, not actual magic) so the hero and heroine, Oliver and Cerian, decide to adopt their little furry matchmaker and name her Merry.

In fact, the cat is up to her antics from the very first page. Here’s the introduction:

***
Oxfordshire, December 1817

Hunted. That’s what he was. Hunted like a fox. And just like a fox, he’d been forced to . . . run.
Oliver Townsende skidded across the perfectly polished marble floor in the foyer of Lord Medford’s country house. He rounded the imposing column at the edge of the space and took off down the nearest corridor. Behind him, the slapping of slippers against the parquet floor indicated that his flight was not in vain. He was, indeed, still being chased.
He glanced to his right. By Jove, was that a cat hurrying alongside him? He resisted the urge to rub his eyes. He looked again. Yes. There was indeed a furry feline romping to his right. Medford owned a cat? And more importantly, who was the cat hoping to avoid? Surely not the same young lady?
***
The cat leads Oliver to the silver closet and what happens in the silver closet is quite a bit of fun. If you’re interested, the entire first chapter is on my website.



I loved the idea of having an animal be a matchmaker and leading the characters to each other and the mistletoe. I also loved the idea of having a bit of that holiday ‘magic’ in my story. For a chance to win a copy of the Christmas Brides anthology, tell me, what’s your favorite part of the holiday season? I hope it’s magical.

Valerie is also hosting a giveaway for her newsletter subscribers. Subscribe now at her website.

Don't forget to "like" the Romance Dish Facebook page for a bonus giveaway from today's authors! 


Twitter: @ValerieGBowman


Buy links for Christmas Brides: http://www.valeriegbowman.com/christmas_brides/





54 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting us today, PJ! I'm so excited to be here!

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  2. Welcome, Valerie! Oh, I so agree. Christmas is magical. For me, it's often in the stillness of the night as you described it above: There’s something about the sparkling lights on the tree, the quiet as the world shuts down and settles in to spend time with friends and family.

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  3. I just love everything. It's a fun and magical time of the year. I love decorating--I even spend Black Friday decorating at a local hospital (I am paid)--decorating at home. Shopping--despite the grumpy guses. The chill in the air, possibility of snow (for me).

    Denise

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    1. Black Friday is a great day to either decorate or shop, Denise. Or both!

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    2. I'm the same way. I love everything about the holidays, both secular and religious. It's just such a joyful time.

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    3. I know some who shop before they show up for the decorating. I never want to get up that early unless it's a deal I just have to have.

      I even penned a few days' entries in our church's advent devotional last year.

      As long as stores wait until 11/1, I don't mind they're playing Christmas songs already--is that weird? I'm not doing it at home yet. lol.

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  4. Hi, Valerie! I'd have to say my favorite part is getting to see relatives I don't see any other time of year. My sister and brother both live far away, and it's expensive for us to travel to see each other, but last year I got to see them and their families over Christmas. They won't be able to make the trip this year, so I might be doing some traveling in early December or in January.

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    1. That is fun, Theresa! Most of my family lives in Illinois so I know just how you feel.

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    2. That's probably what I miss most about Christmas nowadays. My family is scattered all over the world. It's been a long time since we were all together for the holidays. Gotta love facetime. ;-)

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  5. Christmas is about family, so besides the traditions, it's nice just being together.

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    1. Wishing you lots of quality family time this year, Kim!

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  6. My favorite part of the holiday is spending time with my husband and kids. My spouse is active duty military, and works a very crazy schedule. We don't get much family time during the school year, so he always puts in for a week of leave during the kids' winter break. We stay home, binge watch favorite movies, play epic Monopoly matches, and just enjoy spending time with our kids. It's a really special time for us as a family.

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    1. Such wonderful memories you're creating for your family, Michelle.

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  7. So much hustle & bustle is associated with the holidays - shopping and parties and family get-togethers. For an introvert like me, that can all get to be too much. I enjoy the quieter magical moments like sitting in the darkened living room lit only by the lights of the Christmas tree and sipping a hot cup of tea.

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  8. Hi, Valerie! Welcome! For me, it's all about family. And food. I love to see my kids' faces when they open presents and love spending quality time with my family, which includes my mom's cooking. Yum!

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    1. Hi Andrea, Thanks! Watching the kids open presents is so fun, isn't it? And food. Yes! Food!

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  9. I agree with my of the people before me. As my children live all over the United States, the magical part of Christmas for me is our desire to be together as a family. We love to wait until everyone's home to decorate the tree. Then the Christmas music comes on and we all sing along as we bicker about which ornament goes where on the tree. We even make the dinner together. The lights, ornaments, decorations, memories and our faith make Christmas a magical time for my family.

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    1. I love that you're all able to be together, Laurie.

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  10. I love the decorations and the traditions that we celebrate, especially ones that I did as a kid. Now having a child, I get to relive everything through his eyes and see the wonder on his face.

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    1. Children make everything more magical, don't they? I love seeing the joy and wonder in their eyes.

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  11. Thanks for the chance to win. I do a thing every year called "ICE" in Orlando Florida. This will be my 7th year going and it is 9 degrees inside this warehouse type area that is a part of a hotel/convention center. Every year it is a different theme and I find it magical and one of the very few ways Florida can even feel Chrismassy to me. (I know I mentioned liking Christmas cards on another post earlier but those hanging on my wall is also magical to me.)

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    1. Sally, will you give us more info on ICE? It is a family event?

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    2. I didn't know about this, Sally. It sounds fun. I'm not too far from Orlando.

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    3. Yes, it is at the Gaylord Palms. There are 4 hotels in the US that does ICE. It is for the whole family and every year is a different theme and different activities on top of the regular ICE display. This year they also have snow tubing and an Ice bar. Also decorating cookies, and other activities, you can pay for what you want to do. When you walk into the hotel part- its amazing! Huge Christmas trees and you do a scavenger hunt all over the place. Last year I think we had to find 14 Reindeer. The inside party of the hotel is different phases of Florida, for example, St. Augustine Fort has a walking area shaped as it. It is hard to explain. Let me see if I can get the link for it but it still won't be the same as trying to show you.

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    4. http://www.marriott.com/hotel-info/mcogp-gaylord-palms-resort-and-convention-center/christmas-at-gaylord-palms/csyr9pd/ice.mi

      I hope this helps!

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  12. I love that first big snow storm when everyone gets all worked up and then once it starts to snow, everything just shuts down and stops. I love that "hush" and quiet of the first snow. My dog and I always go for a walk and it's so fun b/c it seems like we all by ourselves :) Thanks for the fun post!

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    1. Now that is magical! We don't often get snow where I live now but when we do it's so special, especially at night or early in the morning before the world begins to stir.

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  13. Phew, stopping by here after a hard 2 days of subbing in 1st grade

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  14. There is just something so magical about Christmas. There is an extra amount of love in the air when families get together. I love shopping for something special to give each family member. Then there's the lights, the music, the church services, giving to charities, and watching the Christmas movies on TV. One of my favorite things to do is read Christmas romances. It's become a tradition for me to read nothing but Christmas stories in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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    1. I do the same with Christmas romances, Cheryl. They add that little something extra to my holidays and with my Kindle, I can now turn out all the lights except the tree while reading my happy-ever-after stories. :)

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  15. My favourite part of the holidays is baking and decorating. I just love being able to get out all the old family recipes, and doing the baking for my family. I also love the decorating of the tree, the house, and putting up the lights. It's such a great time of the year :)

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    1. Right there with you, Aimee. I have a tendency to turn into a Christmas elf the day after Thanksgiving. ;-)

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    2. Sadly, I can't bake but I love to eat! Lol

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  16. My favorite holiday tradition is my children picking out an ornament for our tree. My daughter is 17 and my son will be 14 right before Christmas. They have an ornament for every year since birth. I picked out the first 5 years and after that let them get what ever they wanted. I have angels hanging beside motorcycles. I think I will make them select a special ornament for my tree even after they leave home.

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    1. What a wonderful tradition. I have a friend who did that with her children. When each of them married, she boxed up all the ornaments and presented them to them for their own Christmas tree. A precious lifetime of memories.

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  17. Hi Valerie! I love everything about Christmas! The lights and decorations, singing Christmas songs, hanging out with family and friends. Oh and let's not forget trying not to pig out on Christmas treats, LOL! It's just is a really special time of the year. When we were young, my family would drive around at night time to the different neighborhoods looking at all the elaborate Christmas lights displays. My sister and I would "ooh" and "aah" over every one we stopped at. I especially loved the ones synchronizing their lights to music, I would get goosebumps just watching it!

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    1. We have a few houses in local neighborhoods who go all out with the lights and sync them to music. Driving by over the holidays is one of my traditions.

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    2. One if my favorites, too, Anita!

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  18. Valerie, thanks for putting a little Christmas magic into our afternoon here at TRD!

    Readers, stay tuned for our last author of the day - Carolyn Jewel!

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  19. love the magic that seems to surround the season -- everyone & everything just seems brighter & merrier :)

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  20. I love it when the family gets together - especially now that there are little ones. But it's also a relief when all the chores are done and I get more time for reading!

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  21. In all honesty, it's all magical for me. The lights, the ornaments, the snow, the food, the family gatherings, even those special novellas I only get to read during this time of the year. I just love this season :)
    JoannaM

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  22. I'm the same. It's all rather magical. Catching up with family especially.

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