Sunday Sundaes

So many things to be thankful for and so many to pray for. My childhood friend had breast cancer surgery this past week I found out. She chose to have a double mastectomy so she didn’t have to worry about the cancer coming back. We’re much too young for life altering things like this happening.  I’m having surgery in two weeks for a different reason. Hopefully this will help get rid of my Migraine headaches. I know it should help in other areas.

Several family members have lost loved ones this past week. And I’m sure there will be more lost in the weeks to come. It happens almost every day, but near the holidays it seems rougher on us. And getting through that first holiday without your parent, your spouse, your child is hard, but we can survive because we have the Great Comforter with us.

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Play Date Saturday

Finished decorating my Christmas tree. Yeah, it took me two days, but it is finished and looks great. I have a new tree so it is taller even if it is not as big around. Gorgeous tree.

Being a couch potato doesn’t sit well with me anymore. I rarely have down town, and taking that time to veg out seems to be depressing me. Need to get back to writing I guess.

TGIF . . . Heroes

Black Friday. Be careful out there if you are shopping. It is madness. That is why I stay home. I’d rather be putting up my Christmas tree. Getting out my Nativity and thinking about the Three Wisemen who traveled afar, following that Great Star to Bethlehem. Or the Shepherds abiding their flocks in the field. Being awaken by the heavenly host telling them of our Savior’s birth. Those shepherds became messengers spreading the world both far and near. That is the real reason for Christmas, not shopping for the best buy.

Special Cover/Story Reveal

What if everything you wanted was all within your reach but not yours for the taking?

Mystical Christmas by Susan Smith Alvis

mystical-christmas-Klaus and Stefan are tearing through the South collecting hybrids and leaving a trail of dead bodies behind them. Unable to reach Stefan any other way, Elena devises a holiday plan to lure Stefan back home.

Damon thinks Elena is wasting her time and fears the worst. He and Stefan no longer celebrate Christmas, but if Klaus approves Elena’s request, Damon will support her by giving her what she wants—a traditional Christmas.

What Elena wants and what she gets are two different vampires altogether. Elena approaches Klaus and asks for Stefan’s release, even if it’s only for one Christmas weekend. Klaus agrees, but his terms and conditions are nonnegotiable.

Soon, Elena is holed up in a snow-covered chalet with the Salvatore brothers and Klaus, an original vampire with an unusual agenda. And he’s gone to great lengths to find out who Elena really loves.

 

 

Excerpt One

 

Dear Diary,

 

I used to love mystery and danger. Like other teenage girls, I’d often imagined what it might be like to find myself in the middle of a catastrophe, stuck between two great forces—like good and evil—only far more dramatic.

At that time, Stefan and Damon Salvatore didn’t exist in my world. The world—at least the one I lived in—was less complicated. My days then were in black and white, with an occasional burst of color and flare, compliments of Caroline. 

Then the Salvatore brothers entered my life and everything changed. I soon learned there wasn’t a line of division down the middle with these two. And after I met Damon and Stefan, my former life faded to black and now the past seems surreal.

I look down at the Salvatore driveway, now lined with packed snow and jagged tracks and wonder how I could’ve been so naïve. Who was that young girl who compartmentalized thoughts, people, places and things?  Why didn’t she take the time to see the bigger picture with more multidimensional aspects, more depth?

As I think about the coming hours with a mix of dread and a dash of excitement, I now know a well-rounded life takes a triangle’s shape. Life isn’t clean and tidy with a circular rotation driven by nature to lead us all back to where we started. It’s not boxed up all nice and neat with defined planes and specific instructions to make our days easier. How boring would that be? Then again, after barely surviving these last few months, boring sounds like a little slice of heaven. 

It’s the most wonderful time of year or it is for those who believe in the two-sided world, the world beyond this window, the one where others grade their mere existence by good or evil.

But there is a third entity or force. And he’s standing right behind me. 

 

 

 

Excerpt Two

 

“You promised to release him while we’re in Tennessee.”

“And I will,” Klaus assured her. “Once we’re settled in and before the sun goes down.”

“Is there a ‘but’ in there somewhere?”

“All right, Elena, you win. I’ll let you in on a little secret.” His demeanor changed then. “You can’t play with fate or run from it, love. Katerina tried and as you saw for yourself, she failed on numerous occasions. She also loved two brothers as you love two brothers.”

“I never said—”

Klaus held up his hand. “Let me finish. Damon gives you what you need, what you must have at any cost. Stefan, on the other hand, gives you what you want—the ability to stay committed to your high moral standards. The Stefan you know gives you a normal relationship, an acceptable bond. Your friends like him. Your teachers accept him.”

“What about the Stefan you know?”

“The Stefan I know would rip your pretty little neck apart if I so much as compelled him to do so.”

She swallowed, processing. Klaus wanted to hurt her. He wanted to watch how she interacted with the Salvatore brothers. He would then later use what he learned against her. “You made Stefan into something he’s not.”

“On the contrary,” Klaus said. “We’re vampires. That makes us hunters or predators by nature. We’re only killers by choice.”

 

 

Beta Readers’ “Favorite Lines from The Vampire Diaries” Mystical Christmas

(Kindle Worlds Novella) [Kindle Edition]

  1. Her mind’s eyes flickered with newspaper clippings about a rampant killing spree, a murderous binge controlled by Klaus and executed by Stefan.

 

  1. “On the contrary,” Klaus said. “We’re vampires. That makes us hunters or predators by nature. We’re only killers by choice.”

 

  1. “Stefan’s weapons are embedded in his gums. No one hands him anything. He takes what he wants.”

 

  1. “You and Damon probably weren’t supposed to spend Christmas together. You aren’t exactly an ideal mistletoe-seeking pair.”

 

  1. “At the end of the day, you’re nothing more than a bleeding vein to him, Elena.”

 

  1. Their love washed over her like a high tide racing toward shore in the middle of a devastating storm, a volatile gale that would temporarily calm before striking with brutal force in the desolate hours of a quiet holiday night.

 

  1. “Proximity is a real bitch when you’re the only one with a beating heart in a houseful of vampires.”

 

  1. “You can make a deal with the devil but it doesn’t mean you have to follow him back to hell.”

 

  1. “Far be it for me to break the news here, but we’re both dead, brother.” Stefan lifted his glass. “I thought you knew.”

 

  1. “I can’t pretend I don’t have feelings for you when every single time I look at you, I only see an extension of me.”
  1. “It’s hard to choose a side when your heart draws its sword for one cause while your head supports another.”

Only $1.99 Today At Amazon 

About the Author: Susan Smith Alvis has been a career author for over a decade. With over 300 titles to her credit, her pseudonyms have been award-winning authors with international bestsellers in most genres. To find out more, visit her book page at Amazon. To sign up for updates and future release date announcements, email her at susansmithalvis@gmail.com

Rumor Has It Wednesday

Just in time for Christmas shopping, A Highland Pearl, will be published on December 2, but is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com for $2.99 until the publication date. An ebook copy of the novel will be awarded to a commenter on the publication date.

A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the16th century Highlands of Scotland.

AHighlandPearl2_Huge-1A Highland Pearl, is the first novel in the Highland Treasures series. The story takes place in 1508 A.D. Scotland when clan chiefs ruled the highlands. Loyalty pledged to a clan chief meant provision and protection for the clansman, but in return rents were paid to support the chief and his family and service in the chief’s army was required of each able-bodied man. Within the walls of the great castles, intrigue and mystery reigned. Clans vied for land, livestock, and power. Fighting and reiving or stealing were prevalent, yet a gentler side with passion, love, romance, family and faith permeated the life of the Highlanders. A Highland Pearl tells about all aspects of life in the Highlands of Scotland.

 

Excerpt from A Highland Pearl

Andrew stood. He must tell Maidie how he felt. He took her chin into his hands and looked into azure eyes. First, he kissed the tip of her nose, then a freckle on both rosy cheeks, and at last he found her mouth with fervor. Maidie wrapped her arms around his neck while he embraced her, pulling her closer. She returned his kiss much to his amazement. Her moist lips pressed firmly against his. His lips left hers, planting kisses on her eyelids, around her face, down her neck, and then on her mouth once more. She tasted sweet like heather ale and smelled of roses. His heart ached with love for the lass. How could he let her go, now that he had just found her?

He lifted his head. She sank into his chest. “I love you, Maidie. With all my heart, I love you.” He said it with little difficulty, because his heart brimmed with a deep love he had never before experienced.

“I pledge my fealty and my heart to you, Laird Andrew Munro. With all my heart I love you,” she answered with her head tucked under his chin.

He pushed away to look into her eyes. “I’ll come for you. No matter where you are.”

“I will be waiting.” Her eyes reflected the deep emotions of her heart like the black water of Cromarty Firth reflected the blue sky above.

“Come on, Munro, you’ve done enough love making. Time to get on with this exchange,” the leader of the guard commanded and nudged Andrew with his mount.

Stumbling, he released Maidie. The leader kept nudging him on. He looked back, but Maidie and Sven were surrounded by MacKenzie warriors and he could not see her. He took Briana from Colin as they walked to the grove where Gavin waited. Andrew pumped his fisted right arm into the air, calling out the Munro battle cry, “Caisteal Fàrdach A Chaoidh.” An embrace from his brother with whoops, hollers, and returns of the war cry from his warriors followed.

The mounted guard left Scara and Crag then turned back to the castle. Maidie and Sven had reached the gates. His men turned to ride back, and he watched the love of his life walk into the bailey of Castle Lach. God, take care of Maidie and the lad. Help me get her back.

 

About Brenda B. Taylor

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda avatarbrenda_2earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

 

Read more about Brenda and her books at:

Historical Heartbeats

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Random Thoughts Tuesday

The Ferguson, MO grand jury decision was announced and people are protesting, looting, vandalizing and acting crazy just because it didn’t go the way they thought it should. What has changed in America that has made the people in this country think that popular opinion rules?  Is it the bold and brash power of speech that social media has given us? When did the law and the rulings of the courts suddenly mean nothing?

Marching, voicing an opinion through protest is your right of free speech, but looting and burning other people’s businesses and property just because you don’t agree with what has happened shows lack of respect for yourself, your fellow man, and your country. The destruction that is being left in the wake by the outraged crowds in Ferguson, MO is not going to bring Michael Brown back. It is not the answer. Do I believe police brutality should be tolerated? No. Do I believe that is what was happening here? No. And obviously if the grand jury couldn’t find enough evidence to indite, then neither did they. So shouldn’t we believe that justice was served? Normally you would think that because the laws and judicial system were put into place to protect us.

However, there are some people out there who are looking for any reason to cause a riot or unrest. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get on the media and they call for action inciting the crowd. But in the end what is all of this going to accomplish? Nothing good.