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Christmas Blog Party 

Evening everyone

I’m snuggled up in front of the wood burner thinking about nanowrimo. I’ve managed 300 words already but a big chunk still has to be written later if I’m not to fall behind. And you think being a writer is easy, I wish!

Writers are great prevaricaters – if we can put it off, and who am I to work against the trend! I’ve just been over on Amazon and I’m delighted to see four of my guests feature on the front page of Festive reads – isn’t that fab! Here’s the photo, poor Sarah Morgan just misses out but that’s an IPad resolution issue; she’s still doing amazingly with her Manhattan series.

If you want to check out some of these reads here’s the Link although it would be rude not to give priority to my guests now wouldn’t it. 😆

Zara Stoneley features and those who follow me on Twitter (Scribblerjb), or indeed that caught my last post will now realise the competition prize is now going to be minus the pen, her pen. It’s somewhere in some post office lurking, no doubt to turn up in a couple of centuries or so – such is life!

I won’t disturb you any further, nanowrimo is calling and I’m out of excuses…


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Christmas blog Party update

It’s only day two and you’ve worn me out!

Some great entries over on my competition and now some of the writers have blogged on here it should be easier.

So just who are these authors?

Now you remember I said there’d be prizes? Look what’s just arrived in the post from the lovely Zara Stoneley. If you haven’t read any of her books you’re in for a treat (here’s her author Page )

I’m just pleased the bookmark wasn’t affected unlike the traumatised envelope – what do you think, dog? Cat? Rampaging budgie? Mad mice? Whatever the reason it’s certainly a miracle I got it at all.

Don’t forget to scroll down to find out what Sue Moorcroft thinks of Christmas. There’s also Darcie Boleyn’s latest book and a short story from James Hartley.

More later

Happy reading

Jen x

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Christmas Party Day Two, Sue Moorcroft

Im delighted today to invite Sue Moorcroft to the party, but before we find out about her feelings on Christmas a little reminder that there’s only one day left to enter the competition. Who are there writers? To enter click here

Thank you, Jenny, for inviting me to the party!

I don’t want to be a party pooper but I’m going to write about Christmas and money. When I worked in a bank I used to see the occasional customers incur debts at Christmas that would dog them all year. They could have what I’d consider a comfortable income but they’d evidently feel the need to spend humongous amounts on splendiferous presents, gorgeous food, more than a whole street could drink and the most expensive decorations they can lay their hands on.

Whilst it’s their prerogative to max out their credit cards and I hope they got a lot of pleasure from a wonderful holiday season it made me aware of how much money could be wasted in the name of Christmas. In recent years I’ve looked at my own spending and cut down how many physical Christmas cards I send and replaced them with ecards. I checked my present list and identified those who came under the heading of We buy for each other because we always have but hardly see each other and contacted each person to say ‘We know we’ll always be fond of each other but we probably have everything we need …’ and every single one of them promptly replied ‘Yes! Let’s stop’.

Then I began to look at money people were spending on me. I asked adult nieces and nephews not to buy me presents but to spend their money on their children instead.
Before you think me a complete Christmas Grinch let me say that I give a donation to charity for about what I think I would have spent if all the ecards had been physical; I give a few gifts to a local charity that makes sure they get to children who would otherwise wake up on Christmas morning without. In lieu of what I would have given to adults I spend more on those in the family who are under 25.
Writing about the subject of being skint at Christmas in The Christmas Promise has reinforced my views.My point is not that I resent spending money at Christmas but that I want to spend it in the way I feel it does most good. The house is very well stocked with nice things to eat and drink that I’m happy to invite loved ones to share. But that can never be a waste, can it?

I’ve recently read and reviewed Sue’s latest best seller ‘The Christmas Promise’, one of my reading delights of the year, for my review click here
About the author

Sue Moorcroft writes women’s contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes. Her new book, The Christmas Promise, will be published by Avon Books UK (ebook 6 October 2016, paperback and audio 1 December 2016). The Wedding Proposal, Dream a Little Dream and Is this Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue is a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner. She also writes short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’.Sue was born in Germany, the daughter of two soldiers, then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a typesetter, but is pleased to have wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

Amazon link here

Tomorrow it’s Zara Stoneley’s turn to join the party  and don’t forget our other writers – here’s a little reminder 






About me


Not the usual author photo I’ll grant you. I’m one of those people in the words of Ronald Dahl that rates books over looks. So every two-three years I get my hair chopped off and send it to the Little Princess Trust – this was taken about three years ago just before the big chop.

I’m a book lover first, falling into writing by accident. I love all books and read cross genre with usually 2-3 book on the go at any one time getting through about 300 a year. Being a NetGalley reviewer is essential to my wallet! I’m working on my sixth novel.

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Christmas Blog Party Launch: Darcie Boleyn

Day one and I already have a surprise. The lovely Darcie Boleyn has popped by for afternoon tea including scones and cream (Cornish of course). It’s very generous to give up some of her time as today is book launch day.

Don’t forget the competition folks, only two days left to go. To take part click here

Now this is on my TBR pile but after reading about Darcie’s Time Square proposal I’ve just bumped it up the list 😆.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas – Book Spotlight 

Darcie I’d love to hear about how this book came about and about something that happened in Times Square? 

In my writing, themes such as the importance of family and friends and the modern family unit often emerge. I’m a hopeless romantic; I believe in true love, and that it’s worth fighting for. I also adore Christmas and hope to spend it in New York one year. I went out to Manhattan in late October 2009 and my husband proposed to me in Times Square, so New York has a special place in my heart.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is about two friends, Lucie and Dale, who’ve always been there for each other. This year, Lucie has been asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Christmas wedding in New York. She asks Dale to go with her because they do everything together and because she can’t imagine going without him. I wrote the story in the summer, as often happens with Christmas books. My family find the whole process quite amusing, as while the sun is shining outside the window (on those days when we get sunshine, of course) and others are jetting off on exotic holidays, I’m hidden away in my study humming along to Christmas tunes and yearning for a mince pie.

My inspiration for the story started as a seed of an idea that bloomed into a novel. I love festive stories, especially A Christmas Carol, and one day I started thinking about a character who might, in some ways, be a modern female version of Ebenezer Scrooge – but not as miserable or miserly. I thought, what if there were a few ghosts of Christmas past haunting her; a few events that she couldn’t quite get over? Then I added a very positive spirit of Christmas present – to help her learn to love the festive season – in the hunky form of Dale.

But will he be the spirit of Christmas future?

You’ll have to read A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas to find out.

Book Blurb 

Warm your heart with this perfectly festive romance…

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

Available to purchase from today Here


About the Author

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Author Links




About me

I’m a book lover first, falling into writing by accident. I love all books and read cross genre with usually 2-3 book on the go at any one time getting through about 300 a year. Being a NetGalley reviewer is essential to my wallet! I also love travelling, this is me in Lanzarote wearing 5 sombreros (don’t ask!).

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Celebrations & Confetti: Rebecca Raisin

In preparation for my Christmas Party over here on JennyOBrienWrites that starts tomorrow I’m including a little prologue as writers do.

Don’t forget my competition which you can enter HERE

Can you name these delightful people. You’ve read their books but… there will be a prize 👍🏻

I love Christmas. I’m one of those annoying people that can’t wait for the first Christmas lights or first slice of Christmas cake. I’ve always been a Christmaholic and, whilst I don’t go overboard I embrace it with a passion. Presents are bought but not to the extent of breaking the bank, there’s lots of food but no caviar. And my reading: come November I read Christmas themed books and I love all of them.

As I posted a couple of weeks ago my Christmas reading started in August this year but that was an accidental pleasure of being a judge on RoNA. In truth it started a couple of weeks ago.

Celebrations and Confetti
Clio Winters is finally fulfilling her childhood dream of renovating the gorgeous old Cedarwood Lodge in Evergreen. Turning it into the perfect destination for big celebrations, weddings and parties has brought her back home, but Cedarwood Lodge is in need of a lot of tender loving care. Perhaps all the work will be the perfect distraction from the real reason she had to leave her glamorous New York life behind. Will coming home be the best decision of her life… or her biggest regret.

My thoughts 

Clio is one of those plucky female figures that keep popping up through romantic fiction. She’s pretty but not stunning, Hard working but with a dream. In this case trying to breathe life into Cedarwood Lodge. She has family, a mother both there’s a bit of a mystery there. There’s also men. Hunks if you like and a couple of them to boot.

Rebecca has a skill outside the usual found in novels of a similar ilk in that she breathes life into words in that If she was an artist she’d be Constable or Monet. She attacks the poor reader, lying up cosy in their bed and dumps them into a landscape far out of their comfort zone. Most romantic writers are portrait artists. They are the Botticelli’s of the writing community. The tall dark stranger character driven plots. Rebecca starts with the landscape and works out – a different type of writing that is as refreshing as it is unusual.

Celebrations and Confetti isn’t the longest book you’ll ever read and it is the first in a series. It does leave with a couple of plot cliffhangers but all the more reason to read the next one. It’s available to purchase here

About the Author

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.Come chat with Rebecca on her Facebook page:

About me 

I’m a book lover first, falling into writing by accident. I love all books and read cross genre with usually 2-3 book on the go at any one time getting through about 300 a year. Being a NetGalley reviewer is essential to my wallet! I’m working on my sixth novel.

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Christmas Party Day Four Mandy Baggot

Welcome Mandy to the party. I thought we’d try something different today and go for a question and answer session.

1. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?

I can’t remember having had a non-traditional Christmas dinner. I love the turkey feast! I usually add mashed potatoes as well as roast potatoes – I am a total mash addict!

2. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?

At some point over Christmas the family get out a game called Taboo. It involves you getting a word to describe to your team with five words listed below that you’re not allowed to say or use to help with your description. I’m quite good at this game but it’s usually boys against girls, I’m quite competitive and they always cheat! It is fun though!

3. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?

That’s a really hard question! Mr Big got me a lovely ring one year that turned into my engagement ring! But it’s probably the trip to Disneyland Paris my parents-in-law gave us a couple of years ago. We knew it was coming but the looks on my girls’ faces when they knew they were going was magical.

4. What was the worst gift you ever received at Christmas?

I can’t admit this. I get it every year and I don’t like them and it’s too late to say anything now so I just take them and give them to someone else. It’s a standing joke in our house!

5. What do you do with gifts you hate?

Give them to others I know will like them! My daughters’ school has had a lot of my unwanted presents for raffles!

6. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?

Jona Lewie – Stop the Cavalry. That brass band gets me every time!

7. What do you like best about Christmas?

Having my husband, Mr Big, at home for a few extra days!

Mandy’s latest read landed on my kindle yesterday which is causing all sorts of problems. I need to clean house, work, cook, shop and all I want to do is hide in the cupboard under the stairs a la Harry and read. 

Book Blurb

Book allure Ava and her best friend Debs arrive in Paris just as the snow starts to fall. The Eiffel Tower glitters gold, but all Ava can think about is Leo, her no-good, cheating ex.

You can find more about Mandy on her author’s page which links with her books

About the author

Mandy Baggot is an award-winning romance writer represented by The Kate Nash Literary Agency.

The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016.

Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor.

Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Visit Mandy’s website at

Latest release: One Christmas in Paris

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:



Tomorrow we have Maxine Moorey popping by.

Maxine Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and in August 2015, her dream was realised when she won  Harper Collins/Carina UK’s ‘Write Christmas’ competition with her romantic comedy, ‘Winter’s  Fairytale’

About me

I’ve been writing for 8 years now, one of those people that always wanted to write a book and one day I brought a notepad and pen into work and wrote my first book by long hand over my coffee breaks. People say you never publish your first book so I wrote my second before going back to publish my first ‘Boy Brainy.’

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Christmas Party kicking off with James Hartley

Before I welcome James to the hot seat (can’t wait to read his story) here’s a competition reminder.

Can you name these delightful people. You’ve read their books but… there will be a prize (more than one, part of it will be edible, probably chocolate 😆) 👍🏻 To enter click here

Christmas Story by James Hartley

I almost met Father Christmas once.
It was about ten years ago, before my wife and I had children, when we were visiting my brother-in-law in Finland. We took one of the most luxurious overnight trains I´ve ever been on – our cabin even had a shower – from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, which was just inside the Arctic Circle. Suddenly the maps on the walls in the museums were drawn as if looking down at the earth from above instead of from somewhere in line with the equator: we were in Sami land.

A bus with chained wheels took us further north, squealing and skidding up to Father Christmas´ Post Office which was festooned with signposts pointing out distances south. We posted the letters we´d promised to send and wandered out into the pines and softly falling snow for a look about. After a while we saw a wooden building nestling beneath the high trees and, seemingly alone, approached the big oak door slowly.

I was first.

Peeping in I could see a large empty room, wooden floorboards, and a roaring fire at the far end. In front of the fire was a very big man in a red and white uniform, facing away from me, picking something up from a sack at his feet. Instead of going in and speaking to him, I backed down the steps and shook my head. My wife, sneaking up after me, peered through the crack in the door but also got the shivers.

We crunched back through the snow to the Post Office and bus stop without once looking back.

Link to short story here

The Author

James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

For more about James here’s the link to his Amazon page

Later today I have a surprise guest popping in for afternoon as it’s book launch day for the delightful Darcie Boleyn and she’s going to tell us about her book inspiration – more later.

Tomorrow it’s Sue Moorscroft’s turn to join the party  have you read her latest yet? It’s one of my top 10 books of 2016 

Finally a little reminder. Have you caught up with Sarah Morgan’s latest?

I was in WH Smith and I was delighted to see it right up there sharing the limelight. I read and reviewed this recently and this will be in my top 10 reads for 2016 along with Sue’s. Here’s the Link

About me

I’m a book lover first, falling into writing by accident. I love all books and read cross genre with usually 2-3 book on the go at any one time getting through about 300 a year. Being a NetGalley reviewer is essential to my wallet! I’m working on my sixth novel.