Posts Tagged: christmas fiction
Rating: 4.25 stars
Christmas is only days away when Ashley Wright leaves Utah and college life behind with nothing to show for the last four years but a bachelor’s degree. Her hopes of finding love with a good Mormon boy have eluded her. She believes that a family Christmas at home will lift her spirits and maybe even help her forget the man her heart yearns for. But life has other plans, and soon her lonely heart will be set … Aglow.
Aglow is a sweet Christmas book that left me warm inside when I was done. Part of the reason I loved it so much was because Ashley’s family reminded me so much of my college boyfriend’s family in that they are tight knit, welcoming and traditional. Both of the main characters were perfectly believable and likable, their chemistry building at just the right pace. There were a few times the writing seemed bogged down by every day details and some small typos, but I admire Michelle for branching out on her own to self-publish.
Overall, Aglow is the best Christmas story I’ve read this year. Michelle Pennington knows how to write just the right amount of romance and an underlying theme of the true meaning of Christmas. Aglow is a clean read I would highly recommend to everyone.
Michelle is with us today to share a guest post. Here’s what she has to say about her debut novel…
“Aglow began in my younger years when I was still waiting for the magic of romantic love to come my way. Christmas was my favorite time of year and romance my favorite genre. Both are full of sweetness, and I heartily believe that the two should go together as often as possible. I wrote Aglow as a Christmas gift for my mom and younger sisters who liked it a lot, mostly I think because they love me and romance. When I began to rewrite it with the purpose of publishing it, I realized that it had a long way to go. Throughout the various versions of it, it has moved up and down in its sweetness levels. Hopefully, it’s hit a good middle ground, but I wish you would read it and let me know where you think it hits on the Sweet Meter.
The Sweet Meter
1) Not sweet enough. Dump some more sugar in, like my husband does when making kool-aid. Needs more cuddling, kissing, cookies, and kittens.
2) Sweeter, but still a little bland. This may require chocolate to fix. In the absence of good chocolate, maybe some eye-gazing and fluttering hearts will do the trick.
3) Perfectly Sweet. Just the right balance of romance and humor. All the flirting and breath-stealing, rapturous kisses anyone could want with a nice touch of humor to even it out
4) Um, Get me some Milk or a bag of salty chips! Sugar is a good thing, but let’s be careful now. Does she have to quiver and nearly swoon every time their eyes meet?
5) Sugar Overload! Diabetic coma coming on. Conflict…Who needs it? Plot…Who cares? As long as there’s smooching and vows of everlasting love on every other page, with every romantic cliché thrown in for good measure, who needs to have anything interesting to read?
Thanks so much to Michelle for visiting us today! Check her out online at facebook/ her blog/ twitter/Amazon/ Barnes and Noble
About the Author: Michelle Pennington has a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. To attain this degree, she studied Literature, Rhetoric, History, and Art. She married her sweetheart, Ethan, while still in college and developed a new penchant for skipping class to spend more time with him. Despite this distraction, she still managed to graduate Magna Cum-Laude. Her love for the written word began at a young age. At four years old, she followed her mother around all day asking how to spell things. Her teen years were spent hiding in trees, on rooftops, and anywhere she could escape her chores for a while to read. Despite this aggravating behavior, her parents always encouraged her love of literature and her dream to write. Michelle is a hopeless romantic and an insatiable people watcher.Currently she resides in Arkansas and is a stay-at-home mom with three children who are at once adorable and exasperating. In the midst of the domestic whirlwind that is her life, she enjoys crafting, cooking, art, and reading. Due to the rise of ebook publishing, she has decided that the time is right for her to embark on this long awaited journey to become an author. She hopes that her readers will come away from her books feeling uplifted and refreshed from the stresses of their own lives.Aglow is her debut novel, but there is an endless supply of stories constantly playing in her mind, waiting for her to breathe life into them and set them free.
The Giveaway: Fire and Ice is giving away both a paperback and ebook copy of Aglow to our readers. Two winners. To enter, click here and fill out the form.
Rating: 4 Stars
I truly enjoyed this book, written in a style that echoes Dickens (even though I have not read A Christmas Carol, I have read Dickens 🙂 ). It is a tale of heartbreak and sorrow as well joy and changing hearts. Jacob T. Marley is quick read that is certain to put you in the Christmas mood.
A Romantic Comedy Christmas Novella
by Heather Horrocks
Published September 9th 2011
by Word Garden Press
Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller. For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block–until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes it’s the perfect solution to his plot problem. He digs in and discovers two things: one, his villain’s weapon will fit inside a snowman’s body, and two, this particular snowman was supposed to be the backdrop for Lexi’s next show. From this improbable beginning comes friendship, but can there be a happy ending for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood? Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.
Every year around Christmas I get a hankering to start reading fun, light seasonal romances and Bah, Humbug is just that! I downloaded it online for only 99 cents and began reading under my fuzzy blanket with a mug of hot chocolate. Within the first couple of pages I was already feeling pulled onto the small Christmas Street where Lexi, a home design show host and Kyle, a NYT bestselling author end up next to each other as neighbors. Kyle is experiencing a bit of writer’s block and working under a tight deadline for the next book in his series. So when he sees a newly built snowman ion his property line he works it into the plot and begins disassembling the piece head first. Lexi doesn’t appreciate the psycho snow man killer who has ruined her winter wonderland scene for filing the next day and so the two meet for the first time.
You’re sure to enjoy this clean, light novella that talks about healing from loss and fresh new beginnings. Things move a little too quickly for me there at the end, but it is set in Utah and if you’ve ever lived there you know anything can happen between two love birds in a week! I loved Bah, Humbug and would recommend it to anyone. Heather Horrocks has a way with words that I first tasted with her book How To Stuff a Wild Zucchini. To learn more visit her site at http://heatherhorrocks.weebly.com/
About Heather: I’m an author who had a somewhat unorthodox upbringing. I was raised in South America and the Middle East, and wrote my first stories as a teenager in Kuwait, where my sister and I proved it really is hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. I wrote my first novel in three months on a typewriter when I was 21, I used every romance cliché possible (including amnesia — need I say more?), and never rewrote anything, which is why it’s so much fun to pull it out occasionally when I need a good laugh. I wrote sporadically until my youngest child (who is now 18) was two, when I decided it was time to either actually start writing, or to stop saying I was a writer. So I took a class and started doing the scary things that writing requires. Now I’ve written about twelve novels and several children’s books
Shadow of the Sun is the first book in the Timeless Series of books about a young woman, Gabriella, who is a doctor in charge of paranormal investigations at an influential government lab. A sudden delivery to her lab reveals the possibility that angels actually exist and she must use her skills in both science and discernment to decide if the previously thought of science fiction is a reality.
The main character is similar to the author in many ways, the least of which is her incredible intelligence. Both Gabriella and Laura are both strong women who let very little stand in their way.
Becoming a published author is a harrowing, and often disheartening, experience. Laura bravely decided to pursue the path of self-publishing. The editing experience was an exercise in patience as version after version were carefully picked apart for proper grammar, spelling, formatting, and appropriate storyline continuity.
Although the storyline of Shadow of the Sun poured from her fingertips onto her computer screen, the process itself of bringing the book to life has been one of hard work and dedication and Laura has also decided to use this website not only to promote her book, but also for author support to encourage other writers to publish their work and become authors in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Please keep in mind that this website is a work in progress, as is everything in life. That being said, the team that supports Laura is always ready and willing to answer any questions that adults or young adults may have regarding her process to becoming published and the intense determination she has shown to make it a reality.
The first book, Shadow of the Sun, is now available for purchase. Laura is currently writing the second book in the Series, Soul Stalker.
How did you come up with the idea for your series?
I told my Grandmother that I wanted to write my own book and she said Angels sounded like a good idea. So, I let the idea simmer in my head for a few months until I decided I didn’t want to write the typical angel. Actually, I didn’t want to write about anything that anyone else had ever written about. And . . . tada! Shadow of the Sun.
Do you feel like you relate to any of your characters?
I relate to each of my characters for different things. But I probably relate better to the main character the most, mainly because of her anti-social nature. With each character I brought out something in me–whether it be their evil side, their loving side, or their need to protect.
What did you do in the way of research for the book?
Absolutely none! I decided that when I wrote it. Some things about Italy geographically I just knew from school (Went to school to study geography). Mainly, I wanted everything to be my own ideas. The angel world in my book was just something that came out of my mind with no help from the outside. I’m probably incorrect in some of my history ways–but at the same time I’m not because it is my own world. Things are different than what they are for us . . . in the “real world.”
How long did it take to write?
I started writing in August and finished in December. I edited through the day it was published in February. I am going to talk with my employer about going part-time so I can finish the next novel in less time then that!
Describe your path to being published.
I researched for about 5 months on what I wanted to do. Traditional publishing is a great way to go . . . if you can get someone to actually publish your book. Well, I didn’t want someone to tell me that I wasn’t good enough to publish my book. The whole process was one I didn’t think I could handle mentally. So, I saved money and went the self publishing way through iUniverse. I picked out my font, the layout of my book, I had a graphic designer take my idea (with help of some friends 😉 to make the beautiful cover. I literally did all the things a publisher would do. You have to be dedicated to go self publishing, that is for sure. And here I am today! My book is sold in over 30 countries, through B&N.com, Amazon.com, and Books-a-Million. From what I hear, Borders will also be picking up my book. We’ll see.
What things inspire your writing?
My Muse, friend, and Beta Lisa! It sounds silly, but sometimes I can’t even write unless I am talking with her on messenger. She cracks the whip, is a wonderful, dedicated person, and loves my characters. Especially Joseph. Oh, she is going to love book two, then! 😀 Well, she already does. The fact that when I reread some of the things I wrote and go “I actually wrote that?” is another thing that inspires me. Sometimes I don’t realize I can write the beautiful things I do until I reread much later. Sounds cheesy . . . well, I’m just a cheesy person! Also, sometimes I really try to feel what my character is feeling. Hell, through the whole Abelie scene I was crying my eyes out! So I understand how people feel when they email me and tell me that I made them cry. I cried too!
Do you have a playlist?
Not really. I listened to music while writing but there wasn’t anything in particular that I had to be listening to. Anything from The Beatles to Shinedown. (Both of those are my favorite bands!)
Any photos of the places you imagine in your scenes in Italy?
Well, I just tried to google pictures in Italy to see if I could find something like the picture I have in my head but I was unable to find what I was looking for. Close, but not close enough to use. My mother has been to Italy several times in her lifetime and some of her pictures come to mind when I think of Italy. Of course, in my mind it isn’t these large cities, but small villages thousands of years ago, or a vast, empty field with mountains in the distance for the scene in the book. We’ll see more of Italy in book two!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write! Always write, never stop. Doesn’t matter if it is bad or in need of major help . . . WRITE! You can’t aspire to be a writer if you only dream of it. You must act upon it. And never, ever give up.
Are you working on any future writing projects?
I am 35% done with Soul Stalker, book two in the Timeless Series. There will be a book three, too, and possibly more. It all depends on where I take the story in book three, I suppose. 🙂 I also have a few ideas brewing for another book or series. Pirates come to mind . . . I guess we’ll have to wait and see where that takes me. 😀
Check out her amazing site at http://laurakreitzer.com/and be sure to check in tomorrow for a review of her book and giveaway!
Some families wish upon a star, others search constellations, but some use starlight . . . to find their way home.
When a new star appears just above the horizon, the Keller family is guided to someone very special they believed they had lost forever. A story of reflection and hope, Winter Star will remind you that by looking to Christmases past, you can discover the magic of this holiday season.”