Happy Christmas!

It’s that time of year again – when authors decide to snuggle up with their families, and readers fill up their new ereaders or Kindles with the best bargains!

Happy Christmas!

This is a short blog today as I’m just finishing off the final bits of a new novel (all to be revealed in 2019!) and getting everything ready for Christmas with some of my nearest and dearest.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and New Year, and that you enjoy time with your loved ones. And if you’re looking for a bargain book to add to your collection, my January 2019 release is currently on 0.99 pre-order, so grab it now!

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Guest Blog: Unwrapping a Rogue

unwrappingarogueUnwrap your next historical hero in this Regency romance boxset created especially for Christmas!
Including brand new and exclusive content from USA Today and Bestselling authors as well as much-loved Christmas titles, find yourself lost in a world of snow, scandalous kisses, and sexy heroes.
 
How to Marry a Rake in Ten Days by Samantha Holt
 
The years had added the slightest touch of grey to his hair at the temples. Though he must have shaved in the morning, stubble was beginning to show on his jaw and upper lip. Something about that roughness made her want to reach out and stroke it. Lines crinkled the corners of his eyes. Not a lot but enough that his intense eyes were softened. And his lashes…dear Lord a man should never have such thick, long lashes. It was thoroughly unfair to the fairer sex.
“I always watched you,” he told her in a low voice, the timbre of it spearing deep inside her and making her feel warm and all twisted up inside.
She knew that. But she wouldn’t admit as much. A lady shouldn’t be aware of these things. However, he likely didn’t realise that she understood the reasons behind his stares. He probably had little clue that she even knew he was responsible for Robert’s change of heart.
“I never noticed.”
The lift of one brow told her he didn’t believe her. “I watched you dance. Watched you flirt. Watched you laugh.”
“A lady does not flirt.”
“You did.”
“Well, I have changed.”
His gaze met hers. “I noticed. A pity.”
Angelina eyed him. A pity? Here was the man who had so thoroughly disapproved of her behaviour that he had warned his all too impressionable friend away from her and now he was claiming that he liked that behaviour.
Though she supposed such behaviour was favourable in a conquest but not in a wife.
There was no chance she would be a conquest. She was here for a marriage.
“I have grown up, Benedict, that is all.”
His lips curved. “You have grown up in many ways.” He glanced over her figure. “The years have done you many favours, Angie. However, I’m not sure you are all that different.”
“I am,” she insisted. “I’m nothing like I was when we knew each other.”
Benedict released the curl and tilted his head to view her. “Well, we have ten days together. I’m certain it will become clear whether you have or not.”
“That sounds almost like a challenge, my lord.” She cursed the words once they were out. Those were the words of impulsive, silly Angie. Even the addition of his title had been used with every intention of being daring instead of polite.
He lifted a shoulder. “Perhaps.” He leaned forward and took her hand in his. She eyed their gloved fingers meeting and tried to force her arm to retreat but she had gone boneless at his touch. He eased his palm into hers and held her hand.
“A challenge would certainly make this rather dry party a little more interesting, do you not think?”
She was too busy gaping at their linked hands to even agree with him.
Or tell him no. She already had one challenge to worry about, she didn’t need another.
“We have ten days together. Let me prove to you that you are not changed. That the Angie I knew still resides behind those stiff manners.”
“Why on earth would I agree to such a thing?”
“To prove me wrong.” He lifted her hand up toward his mouth and brushed it over her knuckles.
“I have no need to prove it.”
“Are you scared?”
She raised her chin. “Never!”
He released a flash of a grin. “Ah, there she is.”
“Damn you, Benedict.”
His grin widened. “And again.”
She puffed out her cheeks, feeling how hot and red they were. This was all going so wrong. How was she meant to act like a lady when he was so infuriating? She should probably start thinking about a new job already. She’d never persuade Oliver they’d do well together if this continued.
Angelina tugged away her hand and shook her head. “You won’t win, Benedict. I can assure you of that. Now it is not appropriate for us to be alone together so I shall bid you good afternoon. Will you tell the marquess that I am suffering with a headache and I shall join them for dinner?”
“Of course, my lady.” He offered a mockingly formal bow and Angelina just knew he had no intention of giving up his idea of scandalising her.
 
She shook her head again. As if he could scandalise her further. 

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Endings and Beginnings

Today is Epiphany, and this marks the official end of Christmas. Sob. I love Christmas, but because today is no longer part of Christmas, our decorations came down last night.

Christmas probably feels like a long time ago, right? Christmas came mean many things for different people, but it almost always has certain rituals that mark its beginning and end. For some people, it’s the calendar – the 1st of December means that the tree is brought in and decorated, and the advent calendar is opened for the first time. For my family, we have Christmas music playing from this time, but the house itself is not decorated until the second Saturday in December.

Similarly, the end of Christmas can vary, but Epiphany is a general marking point for everyone. And Christmas is not the only event in our lives that has specific beginnings and endings.

It’s useful to have these natural markings that are in our lives when writing. We are so accustomed to using rites of passage to illustrate the stages of our characters’ lives, that it seems strange to me that we do not use other events more often. It’s almost a sort of rite of passage for the world.

You can easily demonstrate the emotional well-being of a father by the first time that he allows his daughter to choose her own suitor. A child leaving the nest is an ending, but also signals to the reader their maturity. The death of a character is not only a rite of passage for that character in particular, but also for everyone else that inhabits your book. How do they respond to this ending?

So often it is beginnings that have the emphasis. Even in my normal conversations, people ask, “How did you meet?” or “What was your first job?” We need to give a new emphasis to endings, to the parting of ways, to the last glance at someone your character loves…or hates.

And so, Christmas is at an end. As Shakespeare once wonderfully told us: parting is such sweet sorrow….