Christmas Carols by Daisy Banks

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Christmas Carols Blog Tour.

Thank you, jj, for your kind offer to help me celebrate the release of my new book Christmas Carols, published by Liquid Silver Books on the 10th of August.

I know readers might think it a little odd to be thinking about Christmas in August but in Victorian England, where my story is set, people were used to starting their Christmas preparations early. One of the things I love about this era is the ingenuity of so many of its entrepreneurs.

The Christmas Card is one of those things designed and produced in this era. First used by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London on the 1st of May 1843 this proved to be a money spinner for generations of illustrators, poets, designers and producers. Cole had introduced the Penny Post in the UK. With the Christmas card he gave people a reason to use it for more than letters.

Victorian Christmas cards are often sentimental and the best of them in my opinion are self-made. This is a tradition which is delightful to follow. You send your friend not a bought card with a print out of the family’s doings in the last eleven months but a personal greeting card. You can, of course buy templates for cards but the very best ones are those with original designs and messages. If you intend to send many cards and don’t want to have to buy them I would suggest you start early. I love the snowy street scene as a basis for a card because the possibilities of making it all your own are endless.

Being in mourning Alice Broadbrace, my heroine in Christmas Carols doesn’t send cards. It would be unseemly for a widow to celebrate anything. As can be seen from this excerpt, Victorian life as a widow often proved an obstacle course to avoid scandalizing the community.

Excerpt

“Mrs. Broadbrace!”

She turned and smiled at the vicar. “Good evening, Mr. Francis. Do you wish to speak with me?”

“Indeed. A splendid recital, don’t you agree?”

“Oh, yes. Thrilling.”

“I want to thank you, Mrs. Broadbrace, for your work with the floral displays. They have been superb.”

She smiled. “I’m glad you approve of them. You are quite happy with the accounting from the wholesaler?”

“I am. The committee agreed last night it is a modest sum to pay for such exquisite work. They have also charged me to inform you they wish to offer you a quarterly sum in recompense for your efforts.”

“Oh, that is gratifying, sir. I’d be most grateful.”

“Indeed, but we’ll keep the information to ourselves, we don’t want any tittle-tattle about it.”

She sighed. Every aspect of her life seemed tinged with the threat of gossip. “Of course.”

“Are you on your way to take tea?”

“No, sir. Not unaccompanied. I’m afraid it might raise eyebrows.”

“Then, Mrs. Broadbrace, join me as my guest for tea.”

“That is kind of you, but I think I’ll make my way home now. I’ll be back here tomorrow, sir, and leave you some of my suggestions for the seasonal floral displays.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Broadbrace. Good evening.”

“Good evening.” She made her way to the church door and out into the darkness. The streetlamps flicked and the November wind, brutal as any bully, shoved at her skirt and scoured her cheeks. All the way home, as she trod the low-lit street, she hummed snips of the music that had lifted her heart.

What a wonderful evening. Next week, she would attend again.

Snowy street

Blurb

Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.

Thanks for reading

Daisy Banks

Find Daisy Banks here

Blog http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/

Website http://daisybanksnovels.yolasite.com/

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Buy Links

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Daisy Banks is the author of

Soon to be available with Liquid Silver Books Serving the Serpent

Christmas Carols

Marked for Magic

To Eternity

A Perfect Match

Timeless

Valentine Wishes

A Gentleman’s Folly

Your Heart My Soul

Fiona’s Wish

A Matter of Some Scandal

Daisy’s books are available here

Amazon    http://amazon.com/author/daisybanks

Barnes and Noble   Kobo   iTunes

Daisy Banks writes a regular monthly story in the Sexy to Go compilations.

Attribution for Snowy Street scene

Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_almoond’>almoond / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

daisy banks is an awesome author…I recommend you purchase Christmas Carols. It is a joyful pleasure.

jj Keller

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Midwest destruction… rain go away…

The midwest has been plagued with foul weather…tornados, superstorms and crop destroying rain.

A few days ago I glanced from my kitchen window and beheld a tiny robin roosting on my fence post.photo 1

It clung to the post most of the day. Many birds fluttered near and their beaks moved…in conversation? No mother to rescue the poor baby?

Two days later the sun came out, and I hurried to get the grass mowed before rain arrived later in the day. On one of my White Birch trees I found the branch hopper…

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The little fella didn’t appear to be the least bit afraid of me, nor the loud lawn mower. I sprinkled bird food [seeds] nearby, but it didn’t seem interested. Perhaps the robin was to young to consume bird food?

When the rain arrived and he remained perched on the tree branch I considered calling animal rescue.

Then…

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the mother arrived. You can barely see her through the rain-slicked window. Whoot! No longer an orphan.

jj Keller

www.jjkeller.com

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Love Hurts …in print

Barnes&Noble Love Hurts Print

Love Hurts

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Can you ever really trust in love?

Falling in love with her fiancé’s best friend is wrong—right? Not in Shania Miller’s case it isn’t. The man she vowed to marry has a second fiancée and failed to remember her after returning from Iraq. Now, unable to trust in love, she answers lonely hearts calls, saving up enough money to attend a university three hours away from the only home she’s known.

Broken hearted, Shania and her son move to Briarwood, Indiana. Struggling financially, she wonders if she’ll ever have a complete family – one with a mommy and a daddy for her son – will become a reality?

Mark Hardwick stood silently by as his friend broke Shania Miller’s heart. His faith allows him to help Shania, especially after she’s abandoned by her fiancé and family. Why then, did he hesitate when she announced her broken engagement and love for him on his wedding day?

Content warning, explicit sex scenes and violence.

Excerpt:

Shania stepped outside into the balmy night, leaving the entrance ajar enough to hear her son. She glanced at the gray rectangle mailbox, a sliver of excitement ran through her. Her fingernail slid between the lid and box. Would there be a message from Morgan, stating “I was here, where were you?” She glanced inside. No mail. No love note.

“Shania?”

She swiveled around. Morgan wore his black tux without the tie and corsage. He looked like a movie star in his breathtaking beauty, even without the smile. “You look like the newest double oh-seven.”

“We need to talk,” he responded.

The time is now, her mind shouted. She took a step. Morgan moved out of the darkness. Shania grabbed his lapels and tugged him closer. “I’d rather claim my first kiss.”

Would he? Oh, God, let him dare!

He smelled like spicy cinnamon and male aftershave. Her gut clenched in agony. His closeness was pleasure and pain. Her knees weakened. Morgan quickly moved his hands from her face to her arms, as if to hold her up.

“Ah, Shania.” He pressed his cheek against hers, taking a deep breath. “What are you doing to me? I can’t resist you.”

Genre: Romance

Digital ISBN: 978-1-61650-189-1

Length: Novel

Cover art by Valerie Tibbs
Formats: .epub, .lit, .pdf, .prc (Kindle and Mobi), .lrf (Sony Reader) and pc and raw .html

PRINT at Barnes&Noble

Amazon UK

jj Keller

Fantasies with spice and humor.
http://www.jj-keller.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02ppPAuXm3I&feature=related

All rights reserved.

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Jewel Heist now in PRINT

Jewelry designer Mary Keefe has been robbed–of a million dollars in diamonds belonging to her grandfather–by her own boyfriend, Conrad. Besides recovering the jewels, she’s got to conceive a baby within 5 days, to save her family’s legacy. Her friends have a plan, a singles cruise so Mary can find a sperm donor with the best qualities. The first mate could be the right choice–he rates a five on the Donor List. Then there’s John Wang, her neighbor in the adjoining room. Attraction sizzles between them and they’ve become friends, but he doesn’t act interested. Could be, she’s not his type.

For John Kajiyama, posing as Wang, Mary Keefe is just his type. She’s beautiful, funny and sweet…but is she innocent? Diamonds are missing and he must recover them for the insurance company. How far will he go to maintain his cover in this investigation?

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

The bag of uncut diamonds fell from the safe and poured into Mary Keefe’s palm. She gaped in wonder. A million dollars’ worth of Canada’s finest, freshly mined from Whip Lake near Yellowknife. Slivers of ice appeared in the sharp edges, indicating what lay beneath the cool surface. She ran her finger and thumb over one of the chalky exteriors, anticipating what brilliant masterpiece she could create, devising a cut plan while envisioning a beautiful engagement ring.

“Mary, I’m taking off,” Lisa said from the doorway leading into the sales room. “Dental appointment, remember?”

Mary sat at her desk and glanced at her part-time sales associate. Lisa’s bejeweled hand perched on her slender hip, and in the bright lights of the cutting room, all of her sparklers came out to play. Mary had fashioned at least two of the baubles. Unable to resist, she tore her attention away from her co-worker and focused on the rough natural diamonds. “Oh. Okay, Lisa, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Do you want me to put the closed sign on the door and lock it?” Her tone held resignation. A silvery blond eyebrow lifted. “Andre wouldn’t mind having a bit of freedom from guard duty.” Mary laughed, fingering the soon-to-be resplendent stones. She must return them to their velvet nest. “You knew I’d be fascinated with the goods.”

Lisa chuckled and glanced at her watch. “Sorry, it’s too late to cancel the appointment.”

“No, don’t worry. I’ll put these away and sketch designs between waiting on customers in the lobby.”

“You’re sure?”

Mary nodded to the door. “Yes. Please, go.”

Lisa took a step. “Good night. I’ll see you after you return from your trip.” She strode to the exit, her wide handbag flapping against her narrow side.

Mary sorted through nature’s mysterious stones one more time. At the click of the door, she stashed the rocks inside their dark blue bag.

The shuffle of feet drew her attention from the sack’s drawstring. Lisa must have forgotten something. Instead of her assistant, a tall thin man completely covered in black from his ski mask to leather shoes, swayed inside the room.

Her heart beating as fast as the second hands on the clock collection at the south side of the jewelry store, Mary moved around the desk, intending to stuff the pouch into the safe and slam the door. “Who are you?”

The intruder didn’t deter her. However, the metal safe seemed farther away than it had appeared a moment ago. She crept forward, keeping the dark opening in sight. “My assistant will be back in a second.”

An arm came out of nowhere and wrapped under her breasts, preventing her upper body from moving. Despite her breaths expelling fast and in short bursts, she hurled the stones and threw her head back, connecting with the chin of her attacker.

“Shit!” a man snapped. A familiar voice. Please, it couldn’t be him.

The bag hit the rim of the safe with a thunk. As with all things earthly, the jewels fell.

She screamed loud enough surely her grandfather, in his office two stories up, would hear the vocal alarm. Where was Andre? God, she hoped he was okay. One huge hand completely covered her mouth and the other twisted her arm. Deep breaths brought scents, a mixture of plant fertilizer and pungent Axe cologne into her nostrils. Beneath the soft wool, she bit her lips, trying to keep them from trembling.

“Go!” he shouted, releasing her mouth. He reached for the dark blue bag of a million dollars’ worth of jewels resting on the cream and gray tiled floor. His partner shuffled out into the lobby, and soon breaking glass rippled through the silence. Smoke billowed into the office. Damn, her new glass display cases, destroyed. Surely her grandfather heard the explosion and would come running.

Her teeth clung to her attacker’s wrist as he bent, until his hand flipped and covered her nose and mouth, forcing her to relax. He stood straight, easing the tension of the hold. Velvet rubbed against her stomach where the blouse had come free from her slacks. They had made love once, on this very floor. An image of him placing a few minor gemstones on her belly and moving them around with his tongue flooded her mind. She resented the intrusion of a romantic tryst now that Conrad Peabody’s true character had been exposed.

His gloved fingers continued to press against her mouth, jamming her teeth into the soft tissue. She finally got relief from the force when he moved his hand and used his teeth to pull off the glove. He stuffed the leather into his pocket, then transferred the bag of gems to his unencumbered hand. His breathing increased, pushing his chest against her back, as his fingers worked open the yellow binding of the casing.

Mary drew a sharp breath. There it was–the mole shaped like molar tooth–at the apex of his right thumb and index finger, confirming the identity of her attacker and thief—a dishonest, unfaithful, and untrustworthy lover. Conrad’s sigh was followed by a sickly sweet scent, which tossed her into darkness.

JEWEL HEIST: purchase at any e-book vendor of quality books.

Barnes&Noble

All Romance Ebooks (ebook only)

jj Keller

Fantasies with spice and humor.

http://www.jj-keller.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYtNMciTB34

LOVE HURTS

Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book. http://www.thewildrosepress.com print and eprint.

All rights reserved.

Diamonds used to be this girl’s best friend.

BUY

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Dents on my bum…are you kidding?

Earlier this year I was foolish and shortened my running route by creating a cross-country path. As I tripped over a rock, my left knee bent in an odd position.

The result: A torn ligament with an estimated recovery period of one year.

I believe my physician was a little scared when I bolted upright from the exam table. What? No quick-cure surgery, no braces, no miracle drugs? Nothing but time would fix the problem?

Crapola! I’m an avid exercise woman. I mean, I must get some form of vigorous physical stimulation at least three times a week or I get…let’s say cranky.

Instead of performing half-an-hour of weight lifting, I went to a solid hour. My upper body firmed and squared (not in a good way LOL).

My esteem decreased as I increased a slack size. The final insult to my lowered sense of self was when my husband announced he saw dents on my bum. (Hey, thanks.)

I immediately went into the bathroom, stripped, and glared at the full view. How had this happened?

Why? Reduced aerobic exercise. Four months had passed and I only experienced sharp twinges when I wore high heels, so I tied on my running shoes and hit the pavement. Twenty minutes later I limped home.

As a result, I had to restart my year of “rest and healing”.

From the shocked expression on friends who I haven’t seen in a while, my transformation wasn’t a good one. I certainly wasn’t keen on the new me.

I purchased new outfits— all dark colors. I’d become twice the person I’d been several months prior.

I’m determined to shave off the excess weight and try to trim down the muscles on top…except for the breasts, I kind of like the firmer, larger, upper chest.

I climbed onto a glide machine and followed with stomach exercises on the big yellow ball. Now, just a few weeks later, I see a difference in the thighs. The rear is another issue.

jj Keller
Fantasies with spice and humor.

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The Valkyrie and the MarinePippa’s RescueMemory of Love

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Dog Window Art

photo 1 photo 2

Our dogs love to look out the window and as a result…we have cute little nose marks. What do you think? Will we make a million for this type of art?

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Laughter, the best life can offer.

A Child’s Laughter

Today it rained, switching between a drizzle and a heavy thunder-booming stream. Early evening the angry gray clouds lightened and white cumulus bundles sparkled on a sky-blue ocean, so we went outside.

My dogs don’t like to go out in the rain—not even the drizzle, so when the rain dissipated and the sky whitened the girls shot out of the door.

I joined them on the deck, enjoying the sparkle of raindrops on the blades of grass. Spring flowers had yet to peek above the earth. Ducks quacking and geese attempting to oust the waterfowl from the habitat didn’t override children’s laughter.

I closed my eyes, inhaled the aromatic scents of pine trees, freshwater and blocked out all the sounds except for the joyous tribute to spring.

Children’s laughter sprinkled the air. Just across the lake two youngsters celebrated the warm, moist air. As they danced and ran about, a car pulled into their driveway. The children lifted their arms in the air and pranced toward the arrival.

In today’s society, with technology being the center of adolescents’ world, it was refreshing to see and hear youth enjoying nature and rejoicing in the return of their parent.

What are you doing to celebrate this wondrous season?

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Dance until you hit the floor

My husband and I laugh when we see the united healthcare commercial, the one where the man and woman are dirty dancing…

You know the one when she jumps and lands on the dining room table instead of into her husband’s arms. They videoconference a doctor…

We recently had hardwood floors installed and what better way than to try it out for ourselves.

IN the movie DiRty DanCing they make the moves, dancing as a whole, look so easy. It’s NOT.

My guy has a twisted arm and my butt looks like a dalmatian coat.

But, oh what fun.

Laughter is good for the soul, right?

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Pets and Fences

February 19, 2015 at 9:30 AM.

I try to walk my dogs every day. They enjoy getting out and taking in the sights and I relish the exercise and fresh air; however, this winter season is the true north of the definition…icy, chilly, the coldest season.

Yesterday, at negative ten we didn’t walk and my Sheltie exhibited HD tendencies. Today, it’s a solid one degree the sun is shining, with a slight breeze, so I smeared face cream on and bundled up.

The girls danced around, even in their harnesses. Hooked up to their extend-a-leashes we set out.

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I stayed on the sidewalks and headed toward my favorite part of the neighborhood beginning at Sandstone. The colorful houses are a throw back to the days when front porches were popular and detailing made the home unique and curb friendly. I believe, in Midwest, this is the only area with the upsurge of new homes having the classic Craftsman style and I love them.

Trotting along, trying to work off calories I gazed into the windows trying to see how people decorated close to million dollars homes. My Sheltie took off, pulling the reins, then our little rescue joined the fray and jerked off my feet I landed on a hard ice-covered snow bank.

Growls, barking, and tugging on the reins continued as I tried to sit up, but I kept slipping on the ice. The leases had clicked out of their hold position and the dogs had a couple feet of freedom and they loved it.

A large Doberman galloped toward my little dogs. In addition to the noise, my defenders footwork would have impressed a boxer-in-the-ring. My pets’ guard techniques didn’t detour the enormous dog as it took up most of the sidewalk. Its tail was not wagging.

I rolled over into the street and jumped up, then started reeling-in my pets, while commanding them to come. They weren’t buying it and continued to snarl, bark and growl.

“Katie!” Finally, the sourpuss faced owner, wearing flannel pajamas, came out and addressed the situation. Her dog dominated the sidewalk, snarling with mammoth teeth.

Katie didn’t respond, instead romped closer to my weak-assed stance in the street.

My dogs flanked me and I limped home. They seemed quite proud of themselves, almost noble, as they walked.

I’m all for letting a dog have freedom. I don’t agree with cages, but when a person lives in a neighborhood where there are children and older adults using the sidewalks, or people riding bikes on the streets, secure your pet.

We live on a lake and as much as I hated to create a fence I wanted my pets to be safe and the neighbors to not have to worry about my dogs going into their yards. Be a good citizen, take care of your pets and have consideration for your neighbors.

As I’m finishing this blog for Saturday, I’m in pain, with a sore back, two aching hips and a grapefruit-sized bruise on my left knee.

While not a fan of electric fences, I sure wish Katie’s lazy owner had installed one or at least put her on a leash so she’d stay in her yard instead of attacking my pets.

photo

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Preparing for Valentine’s Day

Greetings…

In preparing for the big heart day I’ve ordered an Olive Boat for my DH. I know it seems an odd gift, but the dish is something he’s wanted for a long time.

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Are you going to do something special for your significant other for Valentine’s Day?

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