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Giving back–do you volunteer or donate to charity? 31 Days of Christmas

31dayslogoThe holidays are a great time, and provide many opportunities to give back to your community: The Salvation Army always has people out with the cans & bells, Toys for Tots, Angel Trees, helping out at local shelters (volunteering to help serve meals, etc), donations to food banks.  You name something, and there’s a good bet you can either volunteer to help or give a donation.

I like to take my son shopping and pick out a toy…or several…to donate to Toys for Tots (and bonus for me…hot fireman for eye candy lol!). We talk about the organization and what they do, so he knows that the toys go to a child who may not have many toys or get much for Christmas. I find it very important to teach him the importance of giving back and this is a way for us to have fun doing it.

swagHow do you give back? Comment below for a chance to #win a fun swag pack.  And don’t forget to enter for the grand prize—a Kindle Voyager or $199 gift card.  Make sure to stop by & give Mina Carter some love, too.  All winners announced on January 4.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!! 31 Days of Christmas

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merryChristmas
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

 

SMomnibusMy gift to 1 lucky winner is a copy of the Sassy Mates omnibus.  To enter, comment below with how you spend Christmas day. And don’t forget to stop by Mina Carter‘s blog and enter daily to win the grand prize–a Kindle Voyager or $199gift card. Winners of all contests announced January 4.
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History of Santa Claus (St. Nicholas). 31 Days of Christmas

31dayslogoWowza, Christmas is almost here. Tomorrow my son, and lots of other small children around the world, will eagerly wait for Santa Claus to come and deliver presents.  But, do you know the origin of Santa Claus?  Per History.com, legend has it that it started with a person in Holland, St. Nicholas aka Sinter Klaas, who reportedly gave all his wealth away and traveled around the country to help the sick and poor. As time passed, St. Nicholas became one of the most popular saints in Holland and he became known as the protector saint of children and sailors. It is big tradition in Holland to celebrate St. Nicholas around December 6, which is when St. Nicholas died.

santaEventually, the legend made it’s way to America in the late 1700s, with the help of Washington Irving and some news reporters. In 1804, the New York Historical Society gave out wood carvings of St. Nicholas, which had carvings of toys and stockings–which have now become the famous hallmark of Santa Claus.

For a complete history on Sinter Klaas/Santa Claus, visit History.com,  the source of the information provided in this post.

31dayssportspackIsn’t that a neat legend?  When did you learn that Santa Claus, as we know him today, wasn’t “real”—there was no jolly man in a red suit who traveled all across the world in a magic sleigh guided by flying reindeer delivering gifts to “good” boys & girls?  Comment below for a chance to #win a signed sports pack.

Don’t forget to stop by Mina Carter‘s blog, too, for all the 31 Days of Christmas fun and enter the #giveaway for a brand new Kindle Voyager (or $199 gift card). Winners from all giveaways will be announced on January 4, 2015.

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Guest author: Jessica Coulter Smith

Jessica lives in a world where warlocks, shapeshifters and fairies exist, and everyone deserves a happy ending—from tragic vampires finally finding love after centuries of being alone, to super hunky womanizing werewolves finding their destined mate—it’s all in a day’s work. Unable to find a werewolf of her very own, she decided to marry someone who thinks he’s one—minus the howling at the full moon, fleas, and a rousing game of chase-the-mailman. Okay, so he sometimes howls at the full moon. When she isn’t writing, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, reading (mostly romance), or going to the beach. She’s especially fond of bookstores and Starbucks! Author Links Facebook    Twitter    WebsitePlease welcome Jessica Coulter Smith to the blog today.  She’s given us a fun little excerpt from Red’s Big Bad Wolf, which released earlier this month and is the first in her White Paw Pack series.

Excerpt

Red blew her hair out of her face and surreptitiously glanced around the room. No, it hadn’t been her imagination. There were no less than three wolves lounging around the library. She’d noticed them when she’d exited her apartment that morning, had noticed them following her, and now they were here. And wouldn’t leave. She had a mind to go up and demand to know what was going on, but something told her Ace was behind it. Was this in response to last night’s events? She’d taken care of herself most of her life. She didn’t need his help all of a sudden.

She jerked the phone off the cradle and was about to dial his number when she realized she didn’t have it. Slamming the phone back down, she grumbled under her breath. It wasn’t that the wolves were bothering her, they were just…there. Red wasn’t used to having people follow her around. Having jumped from one foster home to another, she’d never relied on anyone but herself, and she wasn’t about to change that now. Not even for the alpha.

Red snatched a book off the stack on the edge of her desk and scanned the new barcode before entering in the metadata for the new addition to the library. It wasn’t something she was supposed to be doing since she didn’t have her degree, but the head librarian trusted her. If there was one thing Red was good with, it was data. Cold hard facts made sense to her. The feelings swarming through her every time she thought of Ace didn’t. How could she want someone yet feel the need to keep them at arm’s length?

Finished with the book, she slammed it down on the other side of her desk and reached for another volume. There were thirty new titles to enter, some of them having multiple copies. Ms. Wilburn only ordered books once every two or three months, so when she did place an order, it was usually a large one. The small library just didn’t have the finances to add to the collection every time a new book hit the market. They relied on fundraisers like bake sales, used book sales, and the fees for using the private rooms to buy their materials. As the only library within twenty miles, you’d think they’d have better resources, but the town was more worried about their high school sports teams than the town’s education. Figured. Jocks always won.

“Something wrong?” Ennis asked, as Red slammed another book down.

She glared up at him. “Why are your buddies and you hanging out in here today? You never come to the library.”

“Maybe we wanted to expand our horizons,” he said with a smile.

Red snorted.

Dalton walked up and stared at her. “Is there a problem?”

“Yeah, your pack mates and you are following me around like lost puppies.”

Dalton shrugged. “Alpha’s orders. You’re to have a security detail at all times.”

“Oh, for the love of…” She blew out a breath. “Get Ace on the phone. I want to talk to him right now.”

Ennis handed her his phone. “He’s on speed dial. Number one.”

She accepted the phone, pressed the number, and waited. It rang several times before a groggy-sounding alpha answered the phone.

“What the hell do you mean, assigning me a security detail?” she demanded.

“After what happened last night, can you honestly ask me that?”

“Ace, those three have bothered me for most of my life. Why are you suddenly interested?”

He growled. “It’s not sudden. The entire pack had orders to protect you. Those three are being punished. Severely. You’ll never have another problem out of them.”

“Then the matter is solved. Call off the watchdogs.”

Dalton glared at her, obviously not liking the comparison to a dog.

Red sighed, her anger leaving as quickly as it had come. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate what you’re doing, Ace, but it isn’t necessary. I’m a big girl and can take care of myself.”

“What would you have done last night, Red? If I hadn’t been there to stop them…” She heard him huff out a breath. “I don’t even want to think about what they’d planned to do to you. Suffice it to say: as long as you’re single and unprotected, you’re going to have a few wolves hanging around to make sure you’re taken care of.”

Her temper flared hot again. “I don’t need babysitters. Just because I don’t shapeshift into something doesn’t mean I can’t handle myself. Human’s can be quite resourceful, you know.”

“This isn’t negotiable. What time do you get off work?”

She glanced at the clock on the wall. “In about three hours.”

“I’ll pick you up.”

“Fine. But this discussion isn’t finished.”

“Yes, it is.”

Before she could utter another word, he hung up on her.

About Red’s Big Bad Wolf

Red Maybury has lived her life plagued with nightmares of something so horrific she isn’t sure she’ll ever get over it. Trust doesn’t easy come to her, especially where men are concerned, but when she discovers she’s the alpha’s destined mate, she becomes determined to overcome her fears.

Ace Silver has known for seven years that Red is his mate, but he’s a hard, domineering man and he isn’t sure she can handle him. When her well-being is threatened by three of his wolves, he realizes the only way to protect her is to claim her.

Giving herself to Ace, Red learns that in order to control her fears she must submit to him, but will it be enough? Can she face her past in order to have a future with the man she is quickly falling in love with? Or will old demons drag her down, dooming any chance they may have at happiness?

Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Vampires/Werewolves
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand

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About Jessica Coulter Smith

Jessica lives in a world where warlocks, shapeshifters and fairies exist, and everyone deserves a happy ending—from tragic vampires finally finding love after centuries of being alone, to super hunky womanizing werewolves finding their destined mate—it’s all in a day’s work.

Unable to find a werewolf of her very own, she decided to marry someone who thinks he’s one—minus the howling at the full moon, fleas, and a rousing game of chase-the-mailman. Okay, so he sometimes howls at the full moon.

When she isn’t writing, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, reading (mostly romance), or going to the beach. She’s especially fond of bookstores and Starbucks!

Connect with Jessica:

Facebook    Twitter    Website

 

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Family traditions (31 Days of Christmas)

31dayslogoThe holidays are about so many things–the major themes being giving back, spending time with family and usually a religious celebration (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc).  My family is really big on just being together–spending quality time with one another.  This is also one of my favorite things about the holidays as I love just being with my family.  My husband and I take our son down to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, walk around and see the sights, etc. Rock_Tree

I also love hearing about what traditions others have this time of year.  What are some traditions in your family?  Comment below for a chance to #win a swag pack.  Don’t forget to enter for the grand prize–a Kindle Voyager (or $199 gift card) AND to stop over at Mina Carter’s blog to see her holiday fun! swag

 
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