Monday, December 20, 2021

Lindy Miller Q & A – Sleigh Bells on Bread Loaf Mountain By Lindy Miller


From Eric Hoffer Award-Winning Author Lindy Miller, comes an uplifting novella about the magic of Christmas, the strength of family, and finding your path where you least expect it. This enchanting and inspirational read will have you both laughing and crying while it warms your heart. This festive Christmas treat is perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Jenny Hale, and Sheila Roberts.

“A delightful holiday read highly recommended for romance readers seeking a blend of life-changing encounters and love.” ~Midwest Book Review

Christmas isn’t fashion editor Roxanne Hudson’s style, but when she finds herself snowed in with a handsome stranger, she might just discover the magic of the season after all.

Roxanne Hudson does not like the holidays. They come with too many family obligations that take her away from work as a rising fashion editor in New York City. But this Christmas might be Grandma Myrtle’s last, and Roxanne’s parents want her to spend the holiday at the family cabin in the Green Mountains. So, she decides to brave the long commute—and the wilderness—to spend Christmas in Vermont.

After an uncomfortable call from her on-again, off-again ex-boyfriend starts the trip off badly, Roxanne is blindsided by a blizzard on the snowy mountain road, where the last thing she hears before losing consciousness is sleigh bells. When she’s rescued by Mark Foster, a handsome park ranger who’s the exact opposite of everything she always thought she wanted, Roxanne seeks her grandmother’s wisdom and discovers an uncanny connection that could be a sign of what her life is really meant to be.

“This was the perfect story to put me in the Christmas spirit! If you're looking for the perfect book to get you excited for Christmas, pick this one up!” ~Katie, NetGalley

“This was the cozy winter love story that I want to read and watch all season long.” ~Crystal L, NetGalley

“I loved this book! All the coziness and warmth of a Christmas romance, whilst also touching on some important societal issues. The little touches of magic were adorable, and I can just picture this as a Christmas movie!” ~Sara H, NetGalley

Lindy Miller Q & A – Sleigh Bells on Bread Loaf Mountain 


1.     Your hopeful romances feature women charting their own destinies by taking charge of the decisions that affect their lives and careers. Roxanne in Sleigh Bells on Bread Loaf Mountain is no exception, as a rising fashion editor in NYC. If any, what message do you hope readers take away from this book?  

It’s a simple message, but one with a lot of layers: find the magic in yourself. In a world of expectations, ambitions, and pressures, it’s so easy to lose sight of self—our dreams and goals and true desires. Romance isn’t a cure-all, but love is integral to happiness, and true love starts from within, and how we accept, empower, and embrace ourselves.   


2.     An important theme in Sleigh Bells on Bread Loaf Mountain is body positivity, including how it relates to the fashion industry as a whole and on personal level for Roxanne. What inspired you to include this element? 

It builds off the concept of self-love I mentioned earlier. In my life outside of writing, I’m a professor. Thousands of young people have come through my courses over the years, and since I teach about how to use data, they come from all disciplines of study—including fashion. We’ve done a ton of analysis over the years on the beauty industry, but a consistent thread I’ve noticed is there’s not much fashion data out there. I started paying more attention, asking more questions, and aside from the ongoing (and worthy) dialogue on body positivity, we noticed other correlations that deserved further analysis—namely in physical and mental health. The researcher in me wanted to bring this issue to light (there’s an entire Afterword in the book where I talk more about this) but the storyteller wanted to weave it in, make it part of a dialogue. In Sleigh Bells, Roxanne faces her own challenges with body positivity, and learns to recognize the signs of when someone else needs to be reminded that they are beautiful, too. 


3.     Your romance, Aloha With Love, has been adapted for film and stars Trevor Donovan, of Hallmark classics and the upcoming biopic Reagan, and Tiffany Smith, best known for her portrayal of Meghan Markle in Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal and her role as Andra on the new Netflix Masters of the Universe series. What was it like having your book made into a movie? 

It’s every author’s dream come true, that much is for sure! It’s incredibly moving and frustrating and gratifying, all at the same time, and in no particular order. Working with Tiffany and Trevor, as well as Oren Kamara (producer) and Brian Herzlinger (director) on Aloha With Love, was an amazing experience—and I’m so grateful that Oren and crew have optioned another of my titles, The Magic Ingredient, for film as well. There’s nothing quite like seeing your characters lift off the page and become “real people”—and having the chance to hug and laugh with your male and female leads is certainly second to none. 


4.     You are a multi-genre writer, known for your horror and romance titles. How do you navigate writing two completely different genres? Would you ever genre-cross in one of your books? 

Everyone thinks horror and romance are polar opposites, and I suppose that’s probably true, but I think both genres rely on emotion to be successful. Both really are about hope and vulnerability. Love can be scary, and horror can be heartwarming, and I think that’s a super fun concept to play with. That said, there are some practicalities when writing romance versus horror. I write sweet stuff during the day, spooky stuff in the dark, and I’ve never yet genre-crossed the two though I really, really want to. I have a couple of ideas brewing, but so far none have made their way onto paper. 


5.      What is a writing project you are currently working on? 

I’m one of those writers who always has to have their pens going in multiple directions at once. Right now, I’m wrapping up some new horror manuscripts while outlining the next book in my Bar Harbor Holiday Series, to follow The Magic Ingredient. I’m also working on a couple of really fun collaborative projects—a horror novel with my good friend and director Pearry Teo, a spooky, middle grade novel with fantasy writer Sam Hooker, and a sweet holiday romance with Tiffany Smith, one of the stars of Aloha With Love

Author Bio:

Lindy Miller is an entrepreneur, award-winning professor, and publishing professional. In 2011, Miller was part of the executive leadership team that founded Radiant Advisors, a data and business intelligence research and advisory firm, where Miller developed and launched the company’s editorial and research divisions, and later its data visualization practice, for clients that included 21st Century Fox Films, Fox Networks, Warner Bros., and Disney. She is the author of numerous papers and two textbooks under the name of Lindy Ryan, The Visual Imperative: Creating a Culture of Visual Discovery (Elsevier) and Visual Data Storytelling with Tableau (Pearson) Miller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration: Entrepreneurship and Strategy, and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Doctorate in Education, Organizational Leadership.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

12/7/2021 SHADOWS OF SWANFORD ABBEY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR Author: Julie Klassen Hosted By @austenprose


·         Title: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

·         Author: Julie Klassen

·         Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Suspense, Inspirational Fiction

·         Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 7, 2021)

·         Length: (416) pages

·         Format: Hardcover, trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 

·         Tour Dates: December 6-17, 2021


Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother's desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey's cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past--including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick—magistrate, widower, and former neighbor—who long ago broke her heart.

When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something…



Author Julie Klassen shares her inspiration for Shadows of Swanford Abbey



"A brilliant Agatha Christie-esque whodunit by reader favorite Julie Klassen. Set in the creepy atmosphere of an old abbey, Shadows of Swanford Abbey will keep you guessing until the very end. There's plenty of danger, intrigue, and—yes—romance to delight Regency-era lovers of all ages. Truly a don't-miss read!"—Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author of Once Upon a Dickens Christmas

“If you enjoy historical fiction with equal blends MYSTERY (suspense) and ROMANCE, then I recommend Shadows of Swanford Abbey with you wholeheartedly without any reservations. This may just be my FAVORITE Klassen novel yet.”—Becky Laney, Becky’s Book Reviews

“Once again Julie Klassen has delivered an intriguing book with all kinds of mystery and a few ghosts added in made it all worth the midnight oil I burned because I didn't want to put it down!”—Lori Parrish, Red Headed Book Lady


       Thank you, Austen Prose, Julie Klassen, and Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to read this book! It releases TODAY, and I am so excited for this amazing historical fiction mystery.

In Shadows of Swanford Abbey, Rebecca Lane comes back home urgently as her brother, the writer has been struggling with issues on his mental health. After many years of trying to be published, Rebecca is tasked to deliver his manuscript to Swanford Abbey. While there, she runs into an old beau, Sir Frederick, and things get complicated with a murder mystery.

I loved getting into the story and the writing was truly immersive and atmospheric - so perfect for these cold winter nights. The story and plotting was tight, characters incredibly believable and enjoyed to read, and a plus for the mental health inclusion especially for that time frame of the early 1800's period.

I highly recommend this wonderful novel by new to me author Julie Klassen.







Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold over a million copies, and she is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award and has been a finalist in the RITA and Carol Awards. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.




Wednesday, December 1, 2021

12/01/2021 AMAZON ORIGINAL STORIES: Enjoy Excerpts from Festive Reads by Bestselling Authors Rainbow Rowell, Suzanne Redfearn, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Chandler Baker and Enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Ring in the Holidays with Excerpts from Festive Reads by Bestselling Authors Rainbow Rowell, Suzanne Redfearn, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Chandler Baker

This winter, rejoice in a festival of entertaining new tales from Amazon Original Stories. Unwrap unique short reads by bestselling authors to keep your holiday season merry and bright. Visit to browse a curated selection of stories—free for Prime Members and Kindle Unlimited Subscribers—and read on for excerpts from the titles by Rainbow Rowell, Suzanne Redfearn, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Chandler Baker.



After a long, lonely year, two people stumble toward each other in If the Fates Allow a holiday short story by Rainbow Rowell the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl.


Reagan crept to the side to get a closer look. It looked like the deer had managed to snag its foot between two crossbars and a small tree that was growing right next to the fence.


Mason was still inching toward it, with his hands out.


“What are you doing?” Reagan asked again.


“I’m going to help it get free.”


“It’ll get itself free.”


“I don’t think it will. It’s wedged pretty good.”


The deer broke into frantic movement, struggling against the fence. “It’s going to injure itself,” Mason said.


“It’s going to injure you.”


This wasn’t a fawn or a hungry little doe; the deer was as long as Reagan was tall—it must have weighed two hundred pounds.


“Shhhh,” Mason was saying. Maybe to the deer, maybe to Reagan. He was crouching behind it, which seemed like the dumbest decision in the world.


Mason,” Reagan whispered.


“It’s all right,” he said, reaching for the trapped hoof. “Her other legs are on the other side of the fence.”


“I think that’s a buck.”


“She’s not a buck, look at her head.”


The deer struggled again. Mason froze. Reagan took another anxious step toward them.


When the deer stilled, Mason shot forward. He bent the tree back and grabbed the trapped hoof, lifting it free.


The deer pulled the leg forward—and in the same motion, kicked its other hind leg through the fence, catching Mason in the chest.


“Oof,” he said, falling backward.


The deer ran away, and Reagan ran to Mason. “Jesus Christ!” she shouted. “I told you!”


Mason was lying on his back in the snow. Reagan went down on her knees beside him. “Are you okay?” she asked, touching his arm.


His eyes were wide. “I’m fine,” he said. “Just surprised. Is she okay?”


“The deer?”


He nodded.


“She’s fine,” Reagan said. “She’ll live to spread ticks and disease, and destroy crops. Where’d she get you?”


He pointed to his shoulder.


“Can you move it?”


He rotated his shoulder. He was broader than he looked from a distance. Broad even under his coat. His neck was thick, and one of his ears was partly inverted, probably from an old injury. He had snow in his ears and his hair. His hair was much darker than Reagan’s, almost black.


“Did you hit your head?” she asked.      


“No. I think I’m okay.”


“That was so stupid, Mason—that could have been your face.”


“I think I’m okay,” he repeated. He lifted his head up out of the snow and pushed up onto his elbows.


Reagan moved away from him.


He stood up, so she stood up, too.


“That could have been your neck,” she said. “That was so stupid.”


“Okay,” he said, nodding. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”


Reagan’s heart was still pounding. Mason looked worried. There was snow on his glasses, and his mask had fallen below his nose. He was holding her arm. “I’m sorry, okay? Are you hurt?”


“No,” Reagan said. “I’m just . . .”


Mason was holding her arm. He was standing right next to her.


Reagan made a fist in the suede collar of his coat and pulled herself closer to him.                      


His head dipped forward, more fiercely than she was expecting, to kiss her.


Read More About If the Fates Allow Here >>




From Suzanne Redfearn, the bestselling author of In an Instant, comes a heartfelt short story about one couple’s journey to discover if there really is a secret ingredient to happily ever after before their upcoming holiday wedding in The Marriage Test.


The server appears. “Something to drink with dinner?”


“Do you have a white burgundy?” I ask, feeling like something bright to match my mood.


The server points to the French section of the wine list.


“Oh,” I say, as the list is limited and pricey. “I only want a glass. I’ll just take a—”


“A bottle of the finest white burgundy you have,” Justin interrupts.




He waves me off.


The server leaves, and I lean in to kiss him. “I love you.”


“For ordering a bottle of wine?”


“For ordering a bottle of wine to make me happy.”


I sit back again, and he returns his hand to my knee. “Good evening.”


I look up, and my breath catches. Standing a foot from our table is Annabelle Winters, my chef idol since college. She’s five feet tall with narrow shoulders and wide hips. Curls of wild black hair escape her white cap, flour dusts her black chef coat, and in her hands is a cutting board with a round loaf of bread.


“I understand tonight is a special occasion,” she says, a Mediterranean accent rounding the words. I tilt my head as Justin nods. “In my home country, we have a tradition: remarkable moments are celebrated by the breaking of bread. So, I made this loaf specially for you.” She sets the board on the table, wisps of steam spiraling from the golden, flaky crust. “This is pogača, the bread of my childhood and a symbol of love.”


With a small bow, she pivots away.


“That . . .that was . . .I can’t believe it . . .that was Annabelle Winters.”


Justin smiles wide, a proud grin that crinkles his cheeks. “You told her it was a special occasion?”


“It is,” he says. “We are together.”


I look at the loaf. “Wow. Pogača. My grandmother told me about this bread. It doesn’t use eggs or milk, and it’s cooked on a hearth over an open fire.”


“It’s still warm,” he says. “It must have just come out of the oven.”


I lift it to my face and inhale deeply, warm yeast and flour filling my nose. “Mmmm.” I hold it toward him.


He takes a breath, then leans back and nods. “Well, go on . . . break bread.”


Grinning like a kid at Christmas, I grip the edges and start to twist.


“Wait!” Justin yelps, stopping me, the loaf suspended.


He falls from his chair to the deck, my leg flopping from his lap along with his napkin.


I giggle. “What are you doing?”


“Okay,” he says, now kneeling on one knee. “Keep going.”


The people at the table behind us have stopped what they were doing and are now looking at us, and I notice Annabelle Winters beside the entrance watching as well. I look at the bread, then at Justin, then back again, and blood rushes to my face as I realize what is happening.


“Really?” I say.


He nods toward the bread.


Cheeks spread wide, I tear it in two, sending gold crumbs raining onto the tablecloth.

Poking from the steaming center is the corner of a stainless-steel cylinder.


I dig my fingers in to pry it loose and set it on the palm of my hand. An inch and a half tall and two inches in diameter, it’s engraved on top with two doves surrounded by a ring of leaves.


The woman behind us shifts for a better view.


Heart pounding, I prize off the lid. Sitting on a bed of white satin is a stunning sapphire ring, the center stone blue as the deepest ocean, a single diamond baguette on either side.


“Ava Nicole Barnes,” Justin says, his voice elevated for the audience, “keeper of my heart, guardian of my soul, and woman of my dreams, will you make me the happiest man on this earth and do me the great honor of becoming my wife?”


Read More About The Marriage Test Here >>




Not happy? No problem. Fake it. From New York Times bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan comes the sharp witted short story, Model Home, about the reality of reality TV.


On the ninth take, things get heated between the husband, Todd, and his wife, Noreen.


He complains that this house only has three bedrooms, leaving no possibility for the man cave he was promised he’d get if they gave up their downtown Milwaukee loft for the suburbs. She seems flabbergasted that he can’t see the advantage of sacrificing that space for what is by far the biggest backyard of the three houses they’ve looked at.


Todd says in a tone that manages to sound both jokey and hostile, “If we buy this house, you can’t complain when I play my electric guitar in the living room. Have you thought of that?”


Noreen replies, “I’m only ever thinking of Colby and Mason.”


If you ask me, they both deserve an Oscar. The tension is palpable, even though everyone present knows they already bought this house seven months ago.


House Number One belongs to Todd’s cousin. It isn’t for sale. House Number Two is soon to be listed. The owner was happy to provide access, since being featured on our show, even as a reject, will sell the place in a minute.


I, the wise referee/realtor/designer, smile and say for what feels like the one trillionth time in my life, “Sounds like you two have a lot to discuss. Babe, let’s leave them to it.”


I wonder briefly if I’ll ever get to say these words again on camera, but I have to put the thought from my head.


I never call Damian babe in real life. Especially not now, but even back when I could stand him.


He doesn’t meet my eye. He’s staring into space, going out of his way to look disinterested. No one notices but me. Lately I think of my husband as a disappointment turducken: a lack of ambition wrapped in a beer gut wrapped in a statement tee designed for a much fitter man.


Read More About Model Home Here >>




Everyone is home for the holidays, clamoring for all the Christmas cheer only their mother can whip up. They can already smell the chestnuts roasting—or is that Mom’s hair on fire? From New York Times bestselling author Chandler Baker comes the laugh-out-loud short story, Oh. What. Fun.


During normal times, Mom loves to spend most of her day on the phone with one of us or the other. As soon as she hangs up with Channing, she’ll call Sammy; as soon as she’s done with Sammy, Tyler will call; and then she starts the whole process again. Not that we’d ever say this out loud, but we’re in the thick of our lives, so we’re busy with dating and kids and friends getting married and pregnant and such, and, well, Mom’s stories are kind of dull. Though obviously, in retrospect, this is an instance when we should have paid better attention.


Unlike Mom, Channing never complains about anything and so she didn’t make a big deal of it when Mom, again, forty-five minutes after the agreed-upon time, took over the kids, leading them on a special explorer hunt to find Canelo the Elf.


Mom is wild about that Elf on the Shelf. Canelo joined us three Christmases ago. The twins are in a Spanish- immersion program, hence the name, and Channing and Doug explained to us that if Canelo started the month of December at their house, he’d need to travel for the time spent at Grandpa and Grandma’s. It only made sense. So the trick is there are actually two Canelos. Mom bought a body double so Channing could leave hers safely at home. Canelo’s antics are one of those things we all tease her about: Somebody has too much time on her hands. But the truth is, we do kind of get a kick out of him.


Mom keeps the Elf ’s next move top secret from everyone, even Dad. Last year, Canelo relaxed in a Crockpot Jacuzzi filled with marshmallows; then he stole all of our toilet paper to build snowmen and rode a zip line down the stairs. This year was off to an impressive start as the twins took binoculars and donned safari hats to track down Canelo, who was wearing camouflage in one of the old oak trees. But we guess we’ll never know what else Canelo had in store, because Canelo hasn’t moved in two days. His painted, unblinking eyes stare at us from his perch, and none of us have been able to work out yet how it is we should explain this to the twins.


We think at some point during the Canelo expedition Sammy pulled up and plopped down on the couch, probably with his shoes still on, and started messing around on his phone. Every group of siblings has a “one,” and Sammy, for us, is the Boring One, mainly because he’s twenty-five and always on his phone. Also he just broke up with his girlfriend (see: always on phone), and yet when we tasked him with one very simple to-do—break into Mom’s phone—well all the sudden he apparently “didn’t know anything about phones.”


Sammy didn’t see anything or hear anything or smell anything unusual, but as we’ve already pointed out, this can’t be taken as gospel since he was preoccupied texting back and forth with his ex.



do you know what kind of laundry detergent you used to use on our clothes? Bc mine smell all weird now.



It’s the fabric softener. Downy infusions. Scent: Romantic.                                                          


Later, we passed around the conversation to weigh in by committee on whether she meant anything by it. We even consulted the Downy website while Mom handed out homemade eggnog because none of us care for the store bought, and there we learned that the Romantic scent carries “sensual aromas of delicate floral, white tea, and peony,” and at least half of us found it difficult to overlook a smoking gun like “sensual” right there as the subtext.


After dinner, Mom asked Channing if she’d mind watching the twins for a few minutes while she cleaned the kitchen, and we all took bets on whether Sammy and Mae-Bell would be back together by spring. The holidays can be hard on people, you know. Everyone except for Mom anyway, who just loves an excuse to corral us all together under one roof. Nothing makes her more upset than a year when she has to share Channing and the twins with Doug’s family. This year, Doug’s family was indisposed because they were up in Vermont visiting Doug’s aunt, but they probably could have been in the ICU and Mom would have been just as happy as long as the result was having Channing and the girls all to herself. Not to be alarmist, but of all the years to up and vanish, you just wouldn’t expect it to be one where Channing was set to be home the whole time.


Read More About Oh. What. Fun. Here >>




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12/5/2022 WITCHA GONA DO By Avery Flynn

  Publisher: Berkley (December 6, 2022) An unlucky witch and her know-it-all nemesis must team up in the first of a new, hot romantic comedy...