Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Series Tour with Excerpt + Giveaway: The Small Town Christmas Series by D. Allen @DavidNethBooks

A Christmas Reunion by D. Allen
Series: Small Town Christmas #1
Publication date: November 6th, 2017

I'll be home for Christmas...

Tracy Slater may be a successful pop star, but fame and fortune isn't everything she thought it'd be. Under the thumb of a husband who is growing steadily more abusive, she's decided her marriage is over. She just needs to make it through one more trip home for the holidays with him before she's free.

If only in my dreams...

Stephen Austin worked hard to become the successful novelist he's always wanted to be. So why isn't he happy? And why does he feel so lonely? Then he runs into his old girlfriend, the one he thought he had lost forever.

Tormented by the mistakes of their past, Stephen sees his reunion with Tracy as a second chance. But does she feel the same way?

A Christmas Charade by D. Allen
Series: Small Town Christmas #2
Publication date: November 5th, 2018

It's time I found myself...

Desperate to please her family, who wants to see her settle down, Charlotte is looking for someone to bring home to pose as her boyfriend. She's steadily been working her way up to her dream job at a magazine in New York City. But her success goes unnoticed by her family, who are more focused on the newest additions than Charlotte's professional conquests.

Totally surrounded in your circles...

Kaden Drake might be the new guy at the magazine, but it doesn't take long for Charlotte to catch his eye. When the editor-in-chief pairs them together for a project, Kaden sees it as the perfect opportunity to ask her out. Only, Charlotte has other ideas.

Faced with another lonely Christmas, Kaden agrees to go with Charlotte to her family Christmas back home. Among the decorations and home-cooked meals, it doesn't take long for feelings between them to develop. But are they real or just a product of the charade?

A Christmas Spark by D. Allen
Series: Small Town Christmas #3
Publication date: November 5th, 2018

Please come home for Christmas...

Tanya Bennett is still feeling the effects of her mental breakdown from last year after her parents died. She lost a lot of loved ones in a short period of time, but most notably her son, who she can't see without supervision. With some help from her friends, she's back on the right track with a new job and volunteering with the school play her son's in. But a bad reputation is hard to overcome and whether she can spend Christmas with her son hinges on how well her upcoming court date goes.

If not for Christmas, by New Year's night...

Adam Allen is still trying to figure out how to co-parent with his controlling ex, who is always quick to criticize his parenting. It doesn't help that he's so forgetful and he works a lot, but at least he's trying. It's hard for him to find someone who can relate, until he meets Tanya.

Adam feels an instant connection with her, but her episode the year before has ripple effects that could alter both of their relationships with their kids.

A Christmas Song by D. Allen
Series: Small Town Christmas #4
Publication date: November 2nd, 2020

I ought to say no, no, no sir...

Tori Helpern always wanted to be a music star, just like her hometown hero Tracy Slater. But Tori never quite found her big break and now she works as a music teacher at the same high school she couldn't wait to get away from. Feeling washed up, Tori believes her only taste of fame will come from the solo in the holiday choir.

At least I'm gonna say that I tried...

Isaac Powell never needed much to make him happy. He has a good job, a nice house, and fond memories of his family growing up. When he joins the holiday choir for something fun to do after work, he doesn't expect to get a solo for the upcoming holiday concert.

Nervous about performing in front of a full audience, Isaac asks Tori to help him prepare and she needs to decide whether she should help him succeed or steal the solo away from him.

A Christmas Departure by D. Allen
Series: Small Town Christmas #5
Publication date: November 2nd, 2020

But if you really hold me tight...

Tara Fraser's life is driven by her work at an insurance agency in Chicago. She hasn't been back home in years and has no intention of going back anytime soon. But then her mother calls and convinces her to book a last-minute flight home for the holidays. Within twenty-four hours, Tara finds herself at one of the biggest airports in the country on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

All the way home I'll be warm...

Peter Helpern has one last freelance photography job in Chicago before he flies back home to spend Christmas with his family. After a late start on the morning he's supposed to fly back home, he barely makes it to the airport in time to catch his flight, only to find a seat next to his old college girlfriend.

Tara and Peter quickly resume the bickering they left off years ago, which is only made worse by the unfortunate news the pilot makes: they're snowed in.

Available at:

Excerpt from A Christmas Reunion
Chapter 1: Tracy, December 20th

As my driver pulls into the airport, I worry that I made the wrong decision about coming home. There's just too much work to do. I'm not even going back to my place in LA since the press tour ended for the new album. I'm flying right from New York to Batavia. Charlie doesn't like it.

"Why don't I just go back to check in on things? I'll meet you back at your mom's place in a couple days," he pleaded last night.

"What am I supposed to tell Mom when I show up without my husband?" I retorted. Mom's always worried that I don't make enough time for family. She says I work too hard.

And now Charlie has refused to talk to me all day. He stayed back at the hotel while I hit the gym this morning and met with my team at the label one last time before the holidays. He took the last few weeks off from work, claiming we'd be able to spend it together. Obviously he didn't pay attention the millions of times I told him that I had to work up until the third week of December.

What's really set him off is where the argument turned last night. Where it always turns: kids. He says he doesn't want to be in his sixties when our kids are just graduating high school.

The airport is crowded when Charlie and I enter. Typical of the holiday season, but before we even reach security, a group of girls stop us to get my autograph and take some pictures.

Charlie stands off to the side and flashes me his phone to show the time. No matter where I am I try to make time for anyone who approaches me for a picture. Charlie usually tells me to politely decline if I'm in a rush. He's not a fan of my career. He thinks that I should stop working at this "silly singing thing" and focus on being a mother.

Yeah, like he doesn't enjoy the private jet and the $3 million house this "silly singing thing" pays for. Not to mention his wardrobe of designer suits that he wears to impress his colleagues. I'm sure they know that I'm the real moneymaker in our marriage. That's gotta be a blow to his fragile masculinity.

Just as the last of the girls is snapping a selfie of us on her phone, Charlie grabs my elbow and says, "Honey, we have a flight to catch."

After security we use a special exit that takes us onto the runway to board the private jet. It's equipped with the works--leather seats, kitchenette, TVs, you name it. It's practically a flying house.

"That was rude," I mutter as I take my seat.

"You're the one who is in such a rush to get home." He takes the seat behind me, which I don't question. We haven't really talked since last night's argument--not that we usually do--and emotions are still high.

Hopefully going to my mom's will alleviate some of the tension. Based on previous holidays and family gatherings, I know that as soon as we get to the front door, he'll turn on his charm and act like the proud, doting husband that he has everyone believing he is.

After I told my mom I was coming home for Christmas, she immediately told me about Daisy Doyle's grand idea to throw a holiday class reunion. I guess her married name is Daniels--still got those double Ds. Her husband has to be deaf. Or blind. Or both.

No, Daisy's not the worst person I've met. When you mingle with entitled celebrities and name-droppers, your faith in humanity pretty much goes out the window. Daisy's just... intense sometimes. Or at least she was the last time I saw her ten years ago.

She wants me to sing something at the reunion. I don't even want to go. We'll see. It's supposed to be a pre-Christmas mixer to catch folks who are in town for the holidays. Everyone else probably already has plans for that day, so it's likely to be a dud. Maybe I can talk her out of having me sing.

It's not that I dislike singing. I love it. Obviously, I've made a career out of it. It's just that I've escalated into a different world than everyone else. "Show business." Singing will only shove my success in their faces and further prove that I'm different. That I no longer fit in with the rest of them.

Still, there are a few people I wouldn't mind catching up with. People I haven't seen since graduation. I had a lot of fun in high school. Besides my family, there isn't really anyone from back home that I still talk to, which is a shame.

I look out the window as the plane rises above the city. The lights beneath are beautiful. Mom would likely be trying to take a million pictures. Of course, she would have to ask for someone's help to find her camera app, then she'd complain about the glare from the window. I can't help but smile at that.

I'm anxious to see my mom. Since Dad died, her health has been slipping. Complications from her diabetes and congestive heart failure. My guess is she hasn't been watching her diet like she's supposed to. My sister, Kimmy, checks on her as often as she can, but she's married with two kids of her own. She's busy. I'm busy. So busy I can't even call my mother every week. I'm hoping this visit will help with some of that neglect.

The plane lands an hour or so later at the small county airport just outside the city. If you would've told me as a teenager that I'd be using it with my own private jet, I never would've believed you. But then, I never would've been able to predict any part of my adult life.

The brisk December wind hits me as Charlie and I descend the stairs onto the runway. My hair flies in my face and I don't notice my sister at first as she approaches, but I definitely hear her loud scream when she spots me.

A wide grin stretches across my face. Someone genuinely happy to see me for me, not just my accomplishments? I immediately feel at home. Besides, she's my big sister. Even though I'm extremely busy, I've managed to keep in touch with her through texts and the random tagging on Facebook.

"Oh, I've missed you so much!" she nearly shouts in my ear over the roar of the wind and the plane. She squeezes me as tight as she can in our puffy coats.

"I've missed you too!" I hold her out at arm's length. "You look so good! Did you cut your hair?"

Kimmy might as well be the antithesis of me. She has short-cropped brunette hair, I have long blonde hair--now platinum blonde due to my stylist determining I need a "bold" look. While she's always supported my career, she would never even think of pursuing the same profession. Too much detail on perfection, too much focus on beauty, too much exposure, too much time.

Besides, Kimmy's purpose in life has always been motherhood. Even before she had kids, she was always the more responsible one. The one to sacrifice her free time to make sure I got to class or practice on time. The one who treated our pets as her babies. Being a celebrity doesn't allow for time to start a family. Especially not when you're "Tracy Slater."

Kimmy reaches back and pats her bare neck. "Yeah. Do you think it's too much?"

"No!" I exclaim. "I think you should put a hat on in this weather, but it looks cute!"

My sister and husband exchange polite nods, but her attention returns to me.

Some of the airport staff usher us into the terminal, where Charlie finally speaks up. He goes in for an awkward hug with Kimmy and says, "It's good to see you. You guys should come out to California sometime with the kids."

Yet another reason why we're not ready to have kids. Charlie just doesn't get it.

It's not like we don't have room for my sister and her family. I would love to have her. It's just not feasible. Besides, what would the kids do at our house? Sure, we have the pool, but I just know Charlie will throw a fit when they start tracking the water inside the house or knocking too much of it out. And all of our "art"? Consider those gone, Chuckie.

My sister must sense my mood and politely smile at my husband. "Maybe this summer we can meet up with you guys on tour. I know the boys loved it when Trace brought them on stage with the last one."

"Right. Yeah." The mention of my upcoming work obligations causes him to lose interest.

"Do you have everything?" I ask.

Normally my assistant would be on top of moving the schedule along--even if it's a vacation--but I gave her the rest of the year off. I already felt guilty for having her work so late in December. Usually I give her the whole month off, but the label wanted to push Black Friday and pre-Christmas sales, meaning press got bumped closer to the holidays.

"Yeah." Charlie grabs our bags and heads to the door to the parking lot.

Kimmy brings her eyebrows together and I roll my eyes in response.


Nothing can quite compare to sitting in my childhood home decorated for Christmas with the fire crackling and the likes of Nat "King" Cole, Dean Martin, and Brenda Lee playing softly in the background. Add my mother's turkey casserole--likely made from leftover Thanksgiving fixings--and you have the perfect evening.

My sister couldn't stay for dinner. Her oldest son was in his first school play: A Christmas Carol. I guess he insisted that his parents go to all three showings. My mom went last night. Tonight is the final night, and I would've liked to go, but I didn't even bring it up. I knew Charlie would make a face and grumble the whole time. For someone who claims to want kids, he doesn't have a lot of tolerance for them.

Not to mention I still need to prepare myself to see everyone. Returning to my former high school in one of my camera-ready outfits is not what I want to do. I purposely packed jeans and modest sweaters to help blend in. I'm not here to upstage anyone.

"Has Daisy talked to you yet?" Mom asks as she pulls the casserole out of the oven.

I fuss with the corner of the forest-green placemat. "Sort of. I've e-mailed her a few times. She's mostly talked to Missy since I've been so busy with the album drop and everything."


"My assistant."

"Oh." Mom nods. She begins dishing out our plates.

"Do you need any help, Mom?" Charlie asks. Mom? That's new.

She smiles. "No, dear, I've got it all under control. You two just take a seat."

Charlie sits back with a smug smile on his face.

When Mom joins us at the table, she continues, "You really should give Daisy a call. She's so happy you're back in town for a bit. She says everyone who's coming to the mixer is excited to see you."

"She told everyone I'm coming?" I groan.

"Well yeah, sweetie. They'll be happy to see you. Why are you upset?"

I shrug. "I don't know." I poke around my plate with my fork. It's not worth it to go into how people expect to see "Tracy Slater," the celebrity, when all I want to be while I'm home is just Tracy, the old high school friend.

Charlie doesn't like it when I talk about the two sides of myself. Apparently it's bogus and I'm just fishing for attention. He doesn't get it. Not like he used to. When we first got together, I felt like he knew everything about me. Of course, we only dated while I was on tour and married shortly after it ended. I suppose it was like summer camp. It worked when we made a special effort to see each other, but now that we're married and have two very different careers, it's just not the same.

"I've got her number by the phone. Give her a call. Oh, not tonight, though. She's in charge of the school play."

I give a tight smile. "Of course she is."

"It's a shame we missed the play," Charlie says. He taps his plate with his fork. "This is very good. Thanks for making it."

I look down at my plate and roll my eyes. What an act.

"Oh, I'm glad you like it!" Mom smiles. "The play was cute. Maybe someday soon you two will be going for your kid."


"That would be nice," Charlie adds.

"Tracy, you're not getting any younger. Trust me, I was older when I had you girls, and there were certainly challenges. Look at me now! I may never get to see grandchildren from you."

"Don't say that!"

She shrugs. "I'm just saying..."

Charlie nods and looks at me.

I bite my lip and look away.

Mom gets up, grabs something from the counter, and hands it to me. It's one of the magazine covers I did. I haven't seen it yet, so it must've just come out.

"Tracy, I think it's great that you're doing so well, and you know how proud I am of you, but look at that. I'm just worried that you won't have any maternal instincts left if you keep things like this up."

I study the cover and try to determine what she's taken offense with. It's not one of my sultrier poses that she usually condemns. I'm actually smiling in this one!

"What is it?" I finally ask.

"Is there even a reason for you to be wearing a top if you're going to show off the girls anyway?" She shoves her hands under her breasts and gives a little shake. Not what I expected from a woman wearing a sweater with kittens in Santa hats.

My top in the picture is cut lower than I'm used to wearing, but it's still pretty modest compared to most magazine covers. Besides, compared to other pop stars, I'm a saint. But based on the look on my mother's face, I look like a whore.

Charlie glances over. "Mmm, you're right. I don't know if I would've approved of that one if I were there."

I glare at him. First of all, he doesn't approve of anything I wear. Second, he was there, and I'm pretty sure he was drooling at some of the pictures that were taken. I believe he told me later that I don't fix myself up for him like I do for the camera. And yet, he's stumped why we don't have more sex.

I toss the magazine back on the table. "Mom, these covers are all digitally modified."

"And you're okay with that? What if they changed it so you were naked on the cover?"

"Well, they can't do that."

"Then why didn't you ask to see the final photos?"

"If I asked to see the final photos for every picture that's taken of me, I'd never get anything else done!"

"I agree with your mother," Charlie cuts in. "You need to be careful about what you're putting out for the world to see. Our future kids will be seeing things like this eventually."

Mom nods.

"Charlie..." I growl between my teeth.

He knows. He knows exactly what circumstances I'm in. He knows how busy I am and how carefully I put together my brand. Showing some cleavage doesn't ruin that. I know what I'm doing. I've been doing it for years. Besides, my children--if I decide to have them--will know how to respect women.

But if he agrees with me, he can't play up to my mother's expectations of being the perfect son-in-law. I know she sees through the ruse sometimes, but other times I can't believe how gullible she is.

My mother's objections to some of my career choices don't bother me. She usually nitpicks the little things, but I know she's proud of the big things. It seems like she takes an ad out in the paper every time I win an award. And to my knowledge, she's never missed one of my performances on TV--thanks to Kimmy showing her how to use the DVR. She's definitely always been cheering me on, even if she has an opinion on some things.

What bothers me is my husband's complete abandonment of support whenever it suits him. Sometimes I wish he would just go away.


My old bedroom is now a guest room. The flowery wallpaper remains, as well as the spot by the closet door that I had used as a coloring canvas when I was six. I remember my mother scrubbing at it for a long time, working away the colorful wax. It still stained the paper, leaving an odd salmon color.

It's a small room for a double bed, but without any other furniture besides a dresser and an end table, it works. What I'm not looking forward to is sharing such a tight space with Charlie. At home we have a king size, so I can pretty much put as much space between us as I need. Besides, our work schedules differ so much we barely spend any time together in the same bed.

"You seemed awfully chummy with my mom," I say as I unload my clothes into the dresser.

"And you seemed awfully pissy." He lies against the headboard, his eyes on his phone.

"At least I'm not putting on a show for everyone."

"It's what you do every day. You should be used to it. What did you tell me? There are two versions of you? Which version am I getting now?"

I slam the dresser shut. "Never mind. You obviously don't get it." I try to walk by him and out the door, but he grabs ahold of my arm.

"Hey, come here." He stands and pulls me into a hug. He has my arms pinned to my side, making it impossible to return it. "Just try to lighten up. It is the holidays, after all."

He leans in for a kiss, but I back away.

"Lighten up? I'm not the one ruining everyone's time."

"Really? You're ruining my time."

"Maybe that's your problem, then."

He overturns his hands. "I think you're the one with the problem. What's the matter? You've been short with me ever since we got here. Before that, even."

I cross my arms and glare at him. "Do you really want to do this now?"

"If it's the only time I can get you to open up, then yes. Let's do this now."

I study him, trying to decipher whether he knows what I'm thinking. This relationship has turned hostile in the last year. I've lost an unhealthy amount of weight. His anger has been growing steadily, not to mention his back acne. Add the cost of his dermatologist and expensive zit cream to the tab of his sugar mama.

"This isn't working anymore."

He looks confused. Clearly we're not on the same page. Either that or he's playing dumb to make me look like the bitch. Wouldn't be the first time.

"What are you talking about?" he asks.

"I want a divorce."


I shrug. "Or a separation or something. Maybe see a counselor until we figure it out. But for the time being, you and I can't solve our problems on our own."

He shakes his head. "No, we're not separating. I'm not divorcing you."

"Okay, so I'll divorce you. If I want to end the marriage, there's really nothing you can do about it." That last bit of information came straight from an attorney I've already got on retainer.


I squint my eyes at him. "No?"

"Little Miss Tracy Slater is going to get over herself and actually think about someone else for a change. It's time you showed me a little respect."

"Respect?" I fight to keep my voice down. "Charlie, you constantly discredit my accomplishments."

He rolls his eyes. "Please, you're not curing cancer."

"And you are?" He's an investment banker. Basically, shifting money around. Back when I met him, he was my reminder that real people have day jobs. That, and the label loved that his company was always willing to sponsor my shows.

"That's enough. Now let's put on a happy smile and go enjoy the holidays with your mother, which you insisted on."

"I never get to see her, Charlie!" I whisper-shout. "None of my family. I think I deserve to spend the week with them for Christmas."

"And what about my family? You don't think I want to see them?"

"We just saw them for Thanksgiving! Not to mention the cruise we went on last summer with your brother, or don't you remember the private yacht you insisted I pay half for?"

"We paid half for!"

"That's funny, because I'm pretty sure the cash came out of my account."

"Our account."

"You can say that all you want, but I still make more than you, and that's a fact you can't stand."

I'm thrown onto the small bed, his finger in my face.

"Just because you sell yourself out like a cheap whore doesn't mean you can throw it in my face!"

I stare at him, my heart pounding in my chest.

He balls his fist near my face. "And you keep your mouth shut about this divorce business."

I watch as he leaves, still frozen in place. My heart races. I hate that man. I want him gone. But in this tiny bedroom and with the approaching holiday, I'm trapped.

DN Publishing is the publishing company for David Neth, who currently publishes superhero fiction and urban fantasy under his own name and small town romance as D. Allen, with other genres to come in the future. He lives in Batavia, NY, where he dreams of a successful publishing career and opening his own bookstore.

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Book Tour with Excerpt + Giveaway: Mountain Blaze by Debby Grahl @DebbyGrahl

Mountain Blaze by Debby Grahl
Series: Carolina Series #1
Publication date: November 2nd, 2020

Can Dillon and Diana elude a killer while their newfound love grows?

Disillusioned by his wife's betrayal, rodeo star Dillon McCoy comes home to the mountains of North Carolina to lick his wounds. When he agrees to take over the family ranch, the Lazy M, he's unaware danger waits.

Diana Thompson is having doubts about her engagement to Trent Sawyer. She agrees to leave Chapel Hill and spend Thanksgiving with her friend Jenn at the Lazy M. When Diana and Dillon meet, neither can deny their attraction, but both must resolve past relationships while fighting their growing desire.

After Dillon turns down an anonymous offer to purchase the ranch, attempts are made on his life. When a body is found, Dillon sets out to discover who wants the McCoy land enough to commit murder.

Available at:

Dillon smiled and Diana thought it the sexiest smile she'd ever seen. There was a slight cleft in his chin, and fine lines formed at the corners of his eyes. Diana inwardly groaned. The butterflies were back.

"I'd hold onto you. I wouldn't let you fall," he softly said.

With his slow southern accent, the words sounded like warm honey rolling off his tongue. The depth of his eyes and the sound of his voice mesmerized her.

The horses stood side by side. Her and Dillon's legs touched. He leaned toward her, and the light aroma of wood smoke, hay, and his spicy cologne filled her nostrils. Diana knew what he was about to do but had no willpower to stop him. He cupped her cheek and their lips met.

Gentle at first, his lips glided over hers. He increased the pressure until she opened her mouth and his tongue slipped in. Diana moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck. His arms around her waist, he deepened the kiss. Before she realized what he was doing, without breaking their kiss Dillon lifted her from Flora and placed her across his lap.

Cradled in his arms, Diana clung to him, delicious sensations filling her. Her body came alive in a way that surprised her. The only thing that mattered was this man and this moment.

Flame moved, bringing her back to reality. Diana's eyes fluttered open, and she stared into Dillon's, deep with passion and need.

Award winning author, Debby Grahl, lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books. His Magic touch, a paranormal romance, was released by Wild Rose Press December 5, 2018. Her latest book, Mountain Blaze, released November 2, 2020.

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Book Tour with Teaser + Giveaway: Mary & Bright by Katharine E. Hamilton @AuthorKatharine

Mary & Bright by Katharine E. Hamilton
Publication date: November 1st, 2020

Mary Rutherford dreads Christmas time. Having grown up in one of the most influential families in town, her Christmas holidays are spent attending her father's company Christmas party and silently blending into the background. This year, however, her parents insist she plan the party, and with little help from her mother, Mary reaches out to an old friend for help: Brighten Smith.

Brighten Smith recently moved back to his hometown to escape California and the disappointment of a failed relationship. Helping his grandmother at her local bakery provides him the opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances and friends. When he finds Mary Rutherford needs a caterer for her family's grand Christmas party, he volunteers for the job, though he has zero experience. As he learns more about Mary, he finds he wants to do more than cater her party; he wants to give her the best Christmas ever.

Can he and Mary pull off a successful Christmas partnership?

And can Brighten give Mary an unforgettable Christmas?

Available at:

Guest Post
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Sure! My name is Katharine E. Hamilton. I've been an indie author for 11 years now... I think. Ha! I have dappled in various genres, but you can find me mostly in the Sweet Contemporary Romance/Clean and Wholesome Genres on Amazon. I'm a born and raised Texan and currently live along the Texas coast with my husband and two boys. I have a 4-year-old and a 5 month old. They keep me pretty busy these days. I started writing in 2009 and published children's books (3). In 2015 I branched out and wrote an epic fantasy series called The Unfading Lands Series. In writing that series, I found myself loving the process of writing some of the side romances that take place throughout and decided in 2017 to write clean romances. I've been camped out in Sweet Romance ever since and I love it. Though I am working on a historical fiction novel right now that might pop up in the next year or so, I will mainly plan myself in Sweet Romance. I love it.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I'm an avid reader and crocheter. Yes, I said crochet. Haha. I am in the middle of an intense blanket project that keeps me busy in the evenings. I can't sit and relax without keeping my hands busy, so it's a nice hobby. I also tell my husband it helps keep me sane. Much like Rumpelstiltskin spins gold to stay sane, I crochet. It relaxes me. I'm able to think through some book ideas, go over my mental to-do list, or enjoy a show on television while being productive.

How to find time to write as a parent?
I am an early bird. I rather work in the mornings and go to bed at a decent hour. I just can't hang passed 10 PM... if I do, I'm a zombie the next day. So lately my routine has been waking up about 4 AM to give the baby his first morning bottle and I just stay up and work while the house is quiet, which is usually until about 6-7 AM. I'm able to knock out a lot of work in the mornings. And if I'm feeling inspired or trying to hit a deadline, I'll incorporate some naptime work as well. It's definitely a juggling act some days, but I also love being an independent author for the flexibility. I can always pause and step away without stressing too much about keeping a schedule.

What inspired you to write this book?
I've wanted to write a Christmas story for a while... a couple of years at least. And this year, well, 2020 hasn't exactly been the easiest year for anyone, and I just wanted to make the holiday season a little more exciting and special. So I went for it.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I've got lots of projects going on right now. For 2020, I have Mary & Bright (11/1/2020), and my Lighthearted Collection will receive a new release on 11/30/2020 called McCarthy Road. And then I'm currently writing a cowboy romance series called The Brothers of Hastings Ranch. Book Four, Lawrence, is scheduled for release on December 30th. And then January and February have a couple of books and audiobooks lined up as well. It's a busy time for me right now.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I love the name Mary. And I have yet to use that name in any of my other books because I KNEW I wanted to use it for a Christmas story and play off of that name for the title. And I wanted her to be the opposite of merry. Haha. So that sort of brought her to life for me, and I wanted the man in the story to be named Brighten, aka Bright, and be that little ray of sunshine that she isn't expecting or wanting at times.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I wrote this book in September and it has had me ready for Christmas from the beginning. It's just made me hopeful for the holidays and excited about ending 2020 on a positive note. I love the characters. I especially love Brighten. He's a joy and he was a joy to write.

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Oh man... this is a hard one.
In no particular order...
  1. Henry James
  2. Jane Austen
  3. Charles Dickens
  4. Susanna Kearsley
  5. Deanna Raybourn
  6. Sherry Thomas
  7. Paula Brackston
  8. Francine Rivers
  9. Nora Roberts
  10. Clive Cussler
What book do you think everyone should read?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers or Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since 2007, but have been published since 2009.

Do you see writing as a career?
I became a full-time writer in 2015, so yes, I do. I love what I do, and am thankful I can say it is my career.

What do you think about the current publishing market?
There is no better time to publish. Traditional publishing has hit a few snags lately, but the indie market is thriving. Whichever direction you choose, now is the time. Reading never goes out of style.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I love to read. I'm a big historical fiction fan. I also love epic love stories. Strong female characters. Witty and creative mysteries... I read a variety of different genres.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I have a rowdy 4-year-old and a 5 month old. Oh, and a chihuahua. I'm not sure there is such a thing as quiet in my house. Haha. But I have learned to write with noise and without. I like the quiet when I can get some, but usually I have noise going on all around me.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I am constantly working on multiple projects at once. If I run into a block or snag on one manuscript, I let it rest and move onto another one. Usually by the time I wrap up a few scenes in another one, I have fresh eyes to go back to the previous one and work out what I need to. Right now I have about 5 open manuscripts that I hop between.

Advice they would give new authors?
Finish the manuscript. You can't do anything else until you FINISH what you're working on. Don't worry about making it perfect. You can't and it won't be. Editing and beta readers come later. Finish the story.

Describe your writing style.
I love dialogue in my stories. I use a BUNCH of dialogue. I feel like it propels the story forward while also helping define the characters' personalities.

What are they currently reading?
I just received a box full of books today actually! I'm so excited! Though right now I'm in the middle of What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris. BUT I will tell you what I just snatched from the UPS man. Haha.
Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas (This series is A-Mazing)
The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley, C.S. Harris, Anna Lee Huber, and Christine Trent
The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber
The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
I'm going to be busy for a while, but I have a couple of road trips coming up, and if I'm not crocheting, I'll be reading these glorious finds!

About the Author:
Katharine E. Hamilton graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors of Arts in History and uses her knack for research in all her stories. She is a Southern Belle with a pinch of sass, and when she is not writing she can be found chasing her toddler son, driving around the ranch, or baking delicacies for local parties and events. Katharine currently resides on a ranch in South Texas where the skies and rivers, in all their beauty, rejuvenate the soul.

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