Let is Snow

Mistletoe MansionGuest blog by Samantha Tonge, author of Mistletoe Mansion

Mistletoe Mansion is set during the last couple of weeks in December, when wannabe celebrity and aspiring cupcake magnate, Kimmy, finds herself housesitting a supposedly haunted mansion. This house is situated in a beautiful cul-de-sac, has magnificent gardens and is in Harpenden, an upmarket village in Hertfordshire. Snow only adds to the scenic location and adds a pinch more romance to the story. But how? What is it about snow that makes our hearts flutter, along with the snowflakes?

Firstly, there is no denying that visually, snow is appealing. Whilst the suburban, leafy setting in Mistletoe Mansion is already pleasing to the romantic’s eye, snow makes it seem even more magical, as if something special – like finding true love! – could really happen. Snow turns even the most industrial, built-up landscapes into pictures of beauty. So fresh and pristine, half-an-hour’s snowfall transforms any grimy grey street into a parade of white, covering litter and mud and adding that unrealistic fairytale quality to  the most unsightly of scenes.

Secondly, its coldness encourages the pursuit of cosy warmth. After an afternoon out in the snow, how perfect for a couple to snuggle up, with mugs of hot chocolate – or aromatic mulled wine – in front of a fire. Icy weather promotes closeness and hugs! Like at the end of Bridget Jones when Bridget finally finds Mark Darcy out in the snowy street and he holds her close, inside his long duffle coat. Whereas sticky, humid weather and perspiration has quite the opposite effect!

Also, snow makes us feel nostalgic and sparks warm, happy feelings inside, associated with the excitement of a childhood Xmas – an excitement similar to that of falling in love. We picture Santa on a snow-topped chimney and reindeer sleighs dodging snowflakes. The white stuff makes us recall the tingling in our stomach as we spy presents under the tree and watch family members cook the turkey dinner or pull crackers. It’s a reassuring, secure feeling for most of us, that makes us feel magically optimistic – just for a few seconds, before we work out how we are going to get the car started amongst the sludge, or find a much-needed but lost pair of gloves!

Of course, there are other aspects of Mistletoe Mansion that I hope readers will find romantic – for a start, athletic handyman Luke, with his bedroom hair and jaunty attitude! But I feel the time of year the book is set in definitely adds to the amorous atmosphere.

And as I’m lucky enough to work from home, I always keep my fingers crossed for a really white Christmas as I’ve no worries about train cancellations or traffic snarl-ups on the way to the office. So here’s to a romantic, icy cold festive season. If nothing else, it’s a chance to savour some Christmas themed cakes, like the ones Kimmy bakes. Mmm, anyone for chocolate log or Stollen?

MM PINTEREST - nov 19

Blurb

Kimmy Jones has three loves: cupcakes, gossip magazines and dreaming of getting fit just by owning celeb workouts.

When Kimmy’s Sensible Boyfriend told her he didn’t approve of her longing for the high life or her dream of starting a cupcake company Kimmy thought she could compromise – after all, she did return those five-inch Paris Hilton heels! But asking her to trade in cake-making for a job sorting potatoes is a step too far.

So, newly single – and newly homeless – Kimmy needs a dusting of Christmas luck. And, masquerading as a professional house sitter, her new temporary home is the stunning Mistletoe Mansion. Soon she’s best buds with glamorous next door golf WAG Melissa, and orders are pouring in for her fabulous Merry Berry cupcakes! The only thorn in her side is handsome handyman Luke, a distraction she definitely doesn’t need. And talking of distractions, something very odd is going on at night…

Kimmy is finally living the life she’s always wanted. But will her glimpse into the glittering lifestyle of the rich and famous be as glamorous as she’s always imagined…?

Buy: Mistletoe Mansion

Picture 014Bio

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Its fun standalone sequel is From Paris with Love. Mistletoe Mansion stars a new set of characters and is for fans of cupcakes and Christmas!

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Doubting abbey Blog: http://doubtingabbey.blogspot.co.uk/

Get into Bed with Molly Harper (Author Interview)

Molly WhiteLynn Reynolds: Was it hard to make the switch from werewolf to haunted house in Better Homes and Hauntings?

Molly Harper: Not really.  I have always been fascinated by hauntings.  I was that weird little kid who checked out the non-fiction paranormal books out of the elementary school library so many times that my mom got a concerned note from the librarian. And I watched an inordinate amount of Scooby-Doo as a child. I remember being disappointed that the Velma couldn’t just once say, “Jenkies, Fred, I’m pretty sure this creepy abandoned candy fact really is haunted by a gumdrop ghost.”  But, then again, I was often disappointed by the “true” ghost stories I read or watched, because the ghost’s backstory wasn’t scary enough for me. I’d been tinkering with the idea of “the biggest and best” haunted house story I could tell for a while now.  I hope that the readers enjoy it.

Lynn: Which do you like writing better the paranormal or the contemporary?

Molly: I have a bit more fun with the paranormal, because giving these big bad supernatural creatures very human foibles is hilarious. But every once in a while, I really like working with characters who can go out during the day and eat normally. (With all due respect to my werewolf characters.)

Lynn: Has your husband ever played a part in more than one of your books?

Molly: My husband, David, is a six-foot-four, manly-man police captain and he takes a lot of teasing over what his wife does for a living. He hears, “Oooh, does your wife base all of her heroes on you? Hahaha!”  And he will be the first one to tell you, “Yep, it’s all right here.”

And to be honest, yeah, it is. We’ve been together since my freshman year of high school, so naturally, he has a lot of influence of how I think about men and how they should interact with women. His ability to tease me back into a good mood and his tendency to be a wee bit overprotective is in Gabriel Nightengale.  His occasional wildly inappropriate humor is in Dick Cheney. His gruff, morning person persona is the basis for Cooper Graham’s surliness.  And his weird on-the-job stories made their way into And One Last Thing …… for Monroe, who is a retired police officer. (David usually asks me to tell people that unlike Monroe, he has never been shot in the butt.)

Lynn: Is there an author that you love to follow?  What draws your attention to a book?

Molly: I fangirl all over people at conferences.  It’s embarrassing, but I’m a reader, just like everybody else. I met Teresa Medeiros at SOKY Book Fest a few years ago and I thought I was going to faint, because her books were the first romances I was “allowed” to read.  (I’d been sneaking paperbacks out of my mom’s romance hoard for a while.) But I also love Nora Roberts, Alice Clayton, Nicole Peeler, Christina Lauren, Rachel Caine, and a bunch of others.

Lynn: Why did you choose the New England coast for your latest book?

Molly: I usually stick with a Southern setting for my books, but I started reading about Newport and the Gilded Era mansions – the Vanderbilts, the Astors, etc. And I knew it was a perfect setting for a ghost story.  Everything was so beautiful and glamorous but with an ugly underbelly. People had secrets upon secrets, and unresolved business leads to ghosts aplenty.

Lynn: Have you ever stayed in a haunted house?

Molly: Not on purpose!  But while I was attending Western Kentucky University, I did live in a dorm that was supposed to be haunted by the spirit of the woman it was named for – Mattie McLean. The rumor was that she was very protective of “her girls.” If we were being mistreated by a man, Ms. McLean was supposed to find a way to make the man leave, by making him ill or just too uncomfortable to stay. She also supposedly wandered the halls at night, locking our bedroom doors if we forgot to do it before going to bed. I never saw anything, beyond the typical creeped out feelings in the basement laundry room, but it was a basement laundry room, so that was pretty natural.  And one morning, I woke up to find the blankets I KNEW I’d kicked off during the night tucked around and under my body, but I still think my roommate did it… even though she was similarly tucked in and under her blankets and would have had a really hard time doing that by herself…. Nevermind.

Lynn: Have you ever listened to one of your own audible books?

Molly: I always listen to the audio books!  Amanda Ronconi does such an amazing job.  Her voice makes the story new for me all over again.

Lynn: Can you give the readers a hint as to what you have in store for them next?

Molly: If you enjoy audiobooks, Better Homes and Hauntings will be released by Audible on the same day that it is released in print and ebook.

Also, my Half-Moon Hollow Christmas short story, I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas, will be available in ebook on November 3, 2014.

And third book in the Bluegrass contemporary series, Snow Falling on Bluegrass, will be released on September 22.

I will be writing several new Half-Moon Hollow spin-offs and hope to have some other announcements soon!

better homes and hauntingsBook Blurb:

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance

Buy: Better Homes and Hauntings