Authors Eliza Boyd and Olivia Hardin are bringing you a collection of sweet, clean holiday romances to fill you with the Christmas spirit of love, hope, and faith. Celebrate the holidays with stories that will warm your heart this season.
And your purchase will also go to a good cause because all the proceeds of this collection will go to benefit Choices Pregnancy Centers of Greater Phoenix, Inc.
You’ll get each of these touching and uplifting stories:
Christmas Week (Holiday Harbor #1) by Eliza Boyd
She’s a single mom with deep roots. He’s a travel writer who’s never in one place for long. Is there any hope for their romance this Christmas?
Christmas Royalty (Holiday Harbor #2) by Eliza Boyd
She’s a princess getting ready to take the throne. He’s a small-town caterer raising his niece. Is there any hope for their romance this Christmas?
Merry Me on the Bayou (Love & Found) by Olivia Hardin
When one of their daughters asks the question, “How did you meet Mommy?” nostalgia and the coming holidays send Lacey and Luke on a trip down memory lane, to the time when a simple drive led to a Christmas surprise.
See Me on the Bayou (Love & Found) by Olivia Hardin
Willie Doucette believed he could never escape his rotten past, but then in the twilight of his life, he came to Simoneaux Bayou …
Sounds Like Forever by Olivia Hardin
It isn’t easy being a guardian angel, especially when Gabriel is constantly looking over your shoulder. But when Crystal detects the sound of a possible romance on Earth, she just knows she’s the angel for the job…
So some of you might know that my other pen name, C.H. Sessums writes a historical mystery series called the J.D. Pierson Case Files. That series takes place in the 1930s, but if you flash forward to 1967 the main character’s daughter, Julie meets a certain Cajun fellow named Jay Fitzroy while hitchhiking during the Summer of Love… you can read about Julie & Jay in a brand-new prequel to the Love & Found series entitled, Free Me.
Fast forward again and a certain Cajun now going by the name Willie Doucette appears in the other Love & Found books, beginning with Merry Me on the Bayou and See Me on the Bayou available currently as a part of the Let Every Heart Anthology.
When one of their daughters asks the question, “How did you meet Mommy?” nostalgia and the coming holidays send Lacey and Luke on a trip down memory lane, to the time when a simple drive led to a Christmas surprise…
Willie Doucette believed he could never escape his rotten past, but then in the twilight of his life, he came to Simoneaux Bayou …Preorder your copy of LET EVERY HEART today!
This is the most personal, most heart-felt note I’ve posted and I’ve struggled with writing it. Partly because I know I’ve been neglectful of you, my reader and I’ve felt bad about that. Also because I’m not entirely sure how to explain the meanderings of my thoughts… but I’m going to try.
You probably know that my best friend Tawdra Kandle and I wrote two books about our faith journeys, one a few years ago and the second just a few months ago. We also spent forty days taking turns penning a daily devotional during the Easter season. That was a profoundly clarifying experience for me.
You see, my Christian faith has been a significant aspect of who I am since the time I was just a little girl. One of my earliest memories was of taking a swig of my Grandma Theresa’s Holy Water and having her sit me down to tell me how special I am to God. In 2017 my Grandma left this world for her eternal home and I was left with a profoundly moving, yet unclear calling deep in my heart. Not long after that, we began the “A Pen and A Prayer” blog, now called Pens & Prayers.
Over the six years since Grandma died, I’ve been searching for something I couldn’t understand or define. In 2018 my Dad died too, and I was simultaneously lost and found in a sense. My heart was broken, but my Savior felt nearer to me than He’d ever been. Last year my granddaughter came to live with us for about eleven months and in that time we started attending a new church. And that’s when some of that inner calling began to congeal into something more tangible.
That’s when I started blogging more in exploration of my faith. I also began writing a nonfiction book surrounding life experiences through the lens of Romans 8:38-39. I hope to have that book finished by early next year.
In the midst of all of this self-discovery, I’ve also been writing mystery books in my C.H. Sessums pen name, and that meant my Olivia Hardin writing went on hiatus of sorts. But that hiatus actually became a transformation. Because I found I no longer wanted my beliefs to be just a footnote in my writing. I didn’t want to feel I had to hide it or suppress it.
Now maybe you’re asking yourself: What does any of this have to do with anything? More importantly, what does it mean for Olivia Hardin and her books?
I’m telling you all of this because I’m about to embark on some changes to my Olivia Hardin brand and because you’ve been one of my loyal followers I wanted you to be one of the first to know.
You may—or maybe not—have noticed my Rawley Family Romances are no longer available at online retailers or my website. That’s because I will begin rewriting that series, magnifying the already present but somewhat veiled spiritual themes. I consulted a very wise and trusted friend because I was conflicted about how to launch this project. Maybe I should scrap “Olivia Hardin” entirely and start from scratch. In fact, that’s exactly what my trusted friend suggested to me.
But then not long after that conversation, the hubby and I went to the community pool on a hot Sunday afternoon. And since he’s never met a stranger, he struck up a conversation with a young woman there. She was just as talkative as he was and began asking him about his career and what he’d taught when he was a professor. He told her about his books, then he pointed at me and said, “My wife’s a writer too.”
“Ooo, what do you write?” she asked.
“Well, I write some mystery and some romance.”
“Do you write smut?” she asked enthusiastically.
And I admitted that the romance I’d been writing was in fact a bit steamy. She was enthralled by the idea she’d met a romance writer. She peppered me with questions about my books, about my stories, about how I became a writer…
Then something else happened… she started talking to me about her life. About a recent break-up with her boyfriend. About how her nephew had autism. About how she was moving into an RV for a while. About how life was hard and how she was struggling.
At the end of the conversation, I told her about the Pens and Prayers blog and about my exploration of faith. And then I told her I wanted to write her name in my prayer journal.
“Carrie. My name’s Carrie, like the movie. And I would be absolutely honored if you would pray for me. I’d appreciate that so much.”
And that’s when I decided that “Olivia Hardin” should remain and become a part of my shifting ventures.
I gave a few reasons I’ve been hesitant to write this note. But there’s been another big one too. The truth is I’ve been afraid. Afraid of how you, my dear reader might react. Will you find this declaration of my Christian faith and new direction as a writer a game-changer?
I know some of you will see the admissions I’m making here is an absolute turn-off. Maybe you’re not Christian, maybe you just don’t like the possibility that you’ll be preached to (Lord, I hope I never really get preachy.) You might have any number of reasons for needing to step away from “Olivia Hardin.” And I understand. We are all different, we are all in unique places in our lives and the truth is the new direction of “Olivia Hardin” is not the one you originally signed up for. I get it. No hard feelings and from the bottom of my heart I wish you all the best.
But I hope and pray that some of you might find my admissions and revelations here something that piques your interest. Maybe it will stir something in your soul. Maybe some of you might humble me by letting my testimony bless you. Maybe some of you might find hope and love and direction when you read my stories, both fiction and personal. Maybe some of you might even allow me to write your names in my prayer book.
So dear friends, no matter how this very personal letter is received, I want you to know how much I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. I’ve been a published writer for over ten years! It has been a fantastic journey and I’ve loved every moment of it. Some of you have been here with me since my very first books were published. I treasure each moment we’ve had on this journey (so far) and I’m looking forward with bright hope for the things that my words will do in the future. Thank you for coming along on this wild ride with me!
I haven’t done a #wellnesswednesday post in a minute, and this week seemed like the perfect time. Warning: this is a loooong one!
I’ve shared for years about my struggle with my health and my weight. I even made a Pens & Prayers post called “God Doesn’t Do Un-pretty” about how my own body image affected my first contemporary romance series (check out the blog for an updated post today at www.pensandprayers.com.) My bestie Melissa Lummis is doing amazing work discussing how we see ourselves and how we can achieve wellness too. Although she might not know it, I have been listening. Honestly, for a while, I listened and threw the things she was saying right out the window, but gradually some of her words reached a place inside me… for all its simplicity, the most basic thing I needed to learn for wellness was to be kind to myself.
Mentally my body image has always been a big deal, but there are some significant health reasons for me to drop pounds and get healthier. Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are all in my family history. And at 45 I’ve already developed some chronic issues. And so I’ve continued to yo-yo most of my life. For a while, I jogged regularly but the truth is I despise jogging. Hate it with a passion and it always seemed like I just had to do it as a penance for my sin… the sin of being fat, the sin of being unhealthy. And I’ve done fad diets, jumping on things like Wilder Way with some friends a few years ago, trying low sugar for a while, and even joining the keto bandwagon. Again, all of that seemed like a penalty. And my soul and my body weren’t receiving it well. Last year I thought of some of what Melissa has been saying… about how deprivation of the things I love and crave is just punishing us and how our bodies won’t respond to that.
So, I threw up my hands and gave up all the fads. Instead, I focused on making better choices without restriction of the things I loved. I chose moderation instead of deprivation. If I wanted chocolate, I had chocolate. And on those occasions when I had the urge to binge eat chocolate, I took a breath and focused on why I had that urge. Can anyone say stress-eating? I can! And I still do it sometimes. The important thing for me has been patience and love. I’m not a bad person if I overeat. It doesn’t make me a failure when I have 5 Hershey nuggets instead of just 1. I don’t deserve to be flogged if I miss one of my daily walks. If I need to I can make changes later in the day, choose to take a longer lunch walk, cut back a little on another meal or sometimes just set the thought of those extra chocolates aside and get back to my day. I don’t have to beat myself up.
Over the span of about six months, I’ve gradually followed that mantra. As part of that process, I determined not to step on the scale. This wasn’t about numbers. This was about finding balance. And honestly, my mind and my body reached a place of contentment and peace. I feel good about where I am right now. And I’m enjoying the fruits of this process too. One kind of weird thing I like is being able to curl my legs up close to my body and hug myself… I couldn’t do that about a year ago! I’ve learned a lot over the last several months. I learned that everything I need for that contentment and peace is provided for by my Creator.
My process has been to be kind to myself and to focus on all of the beautiful blessings in life… my amazing husband… my faithful dogs… my daily bible verses… my writing… soul-satisfying music… my loving friends… all these keep me grounded in one single important thing.
God made me beautiful.
Because goals are important I did set one for myself. And since I’d reached the six-month point, it was time to make a quick assessment. And guess what… I’ve exceeded that goal.
While I’m proud of that its still important for me to remember something…I was beautiful last year when I was 198 lbs. And I’m beautiful right now when I’m down to 167.
Happy New Year!
We’re all hoping that 2021 is not only going to be a happier, more hopeful time . . . but also more FUN.
That’s why these six authors decided to put together a paranormal romance/urban fantasy anthology NEW YEAR, NEW BOO–a collection of light stories that all involve new beginnings.
Releasing January 21st–and only available through the month of February–you can get your copy wherever you buy books! https://books2read.com/newyearnewboo
Grab your little bit of fun today!
A Half-Cocked Vampire by Tina Glasneck – Baby witches are cursing the moon, large unexplained crystal monoliths are sprouting up around the world, and supernatural doom is on the horizon…
New Promise, by Julie Trettel – He’s made it clear I’m not what he wants. It’s time to prove him wrong. I’ll do whatever it takes to change his mind. I’m a wolf, not a chicken shifter.
Fated Mates by Brittany Lawrence– You shine like a beacon of hope when you share your happiness. The world can see it. So can the darkness.
Something in the Water by Elva Birch – Something strange is going on in Anders Canyon.
Catnipped by Tawdra Kandle writing as Tamara Kendall-I’m a brand-new shifter slayer. When my first assignment pairs me with a super sexy angel and a hot, brooding shifter-and lands me deep in other-worldly political intrigue-I begin to wonder if I might be in over my head.
The Reaping of an Alchemist by Olivia Hardin- I’m willing to risk the depths of Hades to save my sister so when a dark and sexy reaper agrees to transport me, I’m willing to pay almost any price.
Do YOU want more FUN in 2021?
If you answered yes, then NEW YEAR NEW BOO is just what you’re looking for. This anthology is a light-hearted and fun collection of paranormal and urban fantasy stories celebrating new beginnings… AND you can preorder it for just 99 cents!
To whet your appetite, I have ANOTHER teaser of my contribution right here! Check it out:
“I think you can handle yourself. But I’m still responsible for you, and I’d rather not take any chances.”
Somehow, I had the sense it was more than just responsibility, but he didn’t elaborate and I didn’t ask because he stopped, glanced left and right before rounding a crumbled tomb and entering into an area where the crypts were mostly broken and leveled into piles of stone and brick.
As I followed him, I softened my steps, sensing the place was sacred.
“I feel like I’m walking off into the past,” I whispered, edging closer to him.
“Yeah, I know. I feel it every time.”
There was an old column lying beside one of the crypts, and Ric reached behind it, emerging with a smooth-sided, opalescent brick. I was wide-eyed with fascination as he tossed it once in his palm, then crossed in front of me to a round platform of stone. Carefully, he balanced the stone on its smallest side atop the platform, then looked over his shoulder and pointed to the bag in my hand.
Instead of handing it to him, I reached inside and took the bottle of rum in one hand, then grabbed the chocolates and let the bag fall away. Crouching, he took them both from me, opening the chocolate and placing it on one side of the brick, then turning the top off of the rum to set it on the other side. Quickly he stood back and stepped away from it.
The air shimmered in waves until a ghostly image appeared. He was a skeletal figure, wearing a top hat and a tuxedo. As I studied him further, I realized he wasn’t really a skeleton, but just so thin that his skin clung tight to his bones. He was gnawing a thick cigar between his teeth, jiggling it around from one side of his lips to the other.
“Reaper Ric, so nice to see you again. It’s been a while,” he said.
“It has, Baron Cimitière. We’ve brought gifts.” My companion gestured with a wave of his palm.
The Baron didn’t so much as glance at the rum and chocolates, just continued chewing his stogie. “I see you have the spirit secured there.” He pointed to Ric’s chest where I knew the hourglass was safely stowed in his breast pocket. “But who is this lovely and studious-looking mademoiselle?”
“My companion will be joining me to deliver the reap. Miss Mack is conducting research.”
Ric’s body stiffened, but he smiled. “No, not my replacement. As I said, a researcher.”
Removing the stogie, the Baron grinned wide, then snatched up the bottle of rum and tipped it back.
Are we all ready to leave 2020 behind us?
Do we want more FUN in 2021?
If you answered yes, then NEW YEAR NEW BOO is just what you’re looking for. This anthology is a light-hearted and fun collection of paranormal and urban fantasy stories celebrating new beginnings… AND you can preorder it for just 99 cents!
To whet your appetite, I have a teaser of my contribution right here! Check it out:
Swallowing a large gulp of the delicious drink, I studied my vampire sister carefully. As always, she did her best to hide the despair living deep inside her. I’d never been in love, so it was hard for me to understand the bond of devotion that had existed between my sister and her lover, Doc. But I did know that he’d died to protect my sister and because of that, I held him in the highest of esteem.
“Doc would have liked to see this moment, ya know,” Jill told me, smiling to cover any hint of sadness. “He believed education was important.”
I nodded, swirling my glass a little. Yes, I knew that about him. Tina and I had been fortunate because in the year before he was killed, we’d gotten to spend time at the hospital with Jill and Doc and their friend, Charlie. Certainly, our mother hadn’t provided much of a home for us, so we’d formed a special bond with the three of them. A bond that was just as strong as—or more likely, even stronger than blood.
“I like to think he was watching,” I told Jill. “From somewhere.” I flicked my hand high as if pointing to the heavens.
Jill shrugged, licking her lips. A group of drunk college kids walked past us, one of the guys tripping over his feet and falling into our table. I couldn’t be sure if he’d intended it or if it had truly been an accident because as soon as he caught himself, he shot my beautiful blonde sister a very suggestive grin.
“Hey, you new here?” he asked, letting the rest of his group go on ahead as he lingered to stare down at the peek of her cleavage at the neckline.
“Not interested,” she hissed, then shoved him away.
He looked a little confused, then made a move like he intended to try again, but this time his eyes met mine. I gave him a very stern frown and a shake of my head. Straightening his shirt, he finally decided not to push his luck and weaved ahead to catch up with his friends.
“If there are too many people here, we can go,” I offered my sister, leaning forward to grab her hand in mine. She yanked her palm away, and I realized too late my mistake. I shouldn’t have touched her, not at a time like this.
After swallowing, her eyes met mine, and she smiled. “I can handle it. I just fed, so I’m not starving or anything.”
I wasn’t surprised by that. Charlie kept the hospital stocked with bags of blood so that Jill could get her nourishment without taking from live humans. But that didn’t mean being in the presence of so many people wasn’t hard for Jill. She’d never spoken much about it, but I’d done research.
According to my sources, a vampire could hear the pounding heartbeat and smell the blood of a human just by being in the same room with them. And fresh blood was like a drug to them. If they gave in to that bloodlust, they could get sucked into a dark world that was hard to escape.
My eyes caught movement, and I spotted Tina returning with her drink. Just before she reached us, she got sidelined by a hunky guy in a muscle shirt.
Typical, I muttered in my mind but turned back to Jill. “Seriously, we can just go back to the hospital and hang there. Booze will be cheaper by the bottle anyway…”
“This is a big day and we are going to celebrate big. B. I. G. Big!”
Thanks to Doc, Jill’s lover, she’d managed to fight against the call of the darkness. They’d both sworn off fresh blood and supported one another in their struggles to keep that vow. For months after she became a vampire, Jill couldn’t even visit Tina and me because the temptation to feed on us would have been too strong for her to fight. Even though she’d been “clean,” so to speak, for years, a crowd even this small was a struggle.
Now both of us watched as the beefy man inched in close to Tina’s ear and murmured something that made her cheeks flame. I could have choreographed what would happen next as she slipped her phone from her back pocket and handed it to him. She tossed her head back and giggled as he plugged his digits into her contacts. Instead of putting the phone into her pants, she twisted and presented him with her backside so that he could slide it in for her.
“She’s such a…” I trailed off without finishing, shaking my head before taking another sip of my martini.
Jill began to giggle, then side-eyed me over the rim of her glass. “She really, really is.”
To this day my absolute favorite Trivia from Olivia is from the third book in my Lynlee Lincoln urban fantasy series. In the story Lynlee gets visited by brownies, little magical creatures, who warn her of danger. And that’s where my hometown trivia comes into play…
Just before the turn of the twentieth century a man by the name of Arthur Stilwell was in the process of building a railway to connect Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico. His original plan was to purchase the Houston East and West Texas Railroad and then to create a port terminal in Galveston, Texas.
Stilwell’s plans changed when, as he recounts in his autobiography:
I was warned by my nightly advisors not to make Galveston the terminal of the Kansas City Southern Railroad, because that city was destined to be destroyed by a tidal wave.
You see Stilwell claimed that from about the age of four he received messages from spirits which he called “brownies.” As a child he would warn his mother that relatives would be visiting days before the persons would actually arrive. He also pointed out his future bride when he was just 14 years old and in fact within five years Jennie Wood became his wife.
As to the railroad, Stilwell said that the brownies advised him to end the railroad at Lake Sabine and to build the terminal at the site which is present day Port Arthur. He followed their instructions, “not deviating from the plans revealed.” Just five years later the hurricane of 1900 devastated Galveston Island, killing around 8,000 people.
On April 7, 1924 Time Magazine featured an article titled “Brownies” which related the guidance Stilwell received from his nightly visitors. Other authorities at the time, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, believed Stilwell might truly have been psychic. I even located for auction a copy of one of Doyle’s books which was inscribed: “Yours in the great cause of Spirit-/Arthur Conan Doyle,/May, 31/22”
So there you have it… my all time fave Trivia from Olivia. The first book int he Lynlee Lincoln series is FREE so grab your copy now!
I’m thinking I probably continued to believe in Santa until I was about eight or nine. Then when I finally figured it out I was too afraid to tell mom and dad – hey, if they knew I knew, then they might not get me anymore Santa gifts. Plus, my little sisters still believed and so I didn’t want to ruin things for them.
My mom does an awesome Santa Claus. She doesn’t wrap gifts, she sets everything up under the tree. For instance one year we got an entire set of Heart Family dolls and matching playsets. She laid out all of their clothes and put the little kiddie ones on the swing set with the daddy one standing behind them. And the mommy one was propped up next to the bassinette with the baby. What a thrill to get up and see all of it magically there on Christmas morning!
So then, I figured it all out. My brain began spinning and I realized that there was no longer any fear that Santa wouldn’t come if I didn’t go to sleep – all I had to do was wait for mom to finish then I could sneak into the living room for a peek. But eventually, a peek wasn’t enough. I had to inspect things. Now generally our gifts were laid out in order of age under the tree. Sometimes what was in my spot wasn’t the color or choice that I wanted. I was the oldest so I’m sure mom thought it was appropriate for me to get the Strawberry Shortcake doll, but I thought the Blueberry Muffin doll was cuter, so I switched them. And the next year I wanted the Red Rainbow Bright Sprite, not the White one!
In retrospect I figure I’m lucky Santa ever brought me anything again – afterall I think stealing your sister’s gifts would be a good reason to end up on the naughty list. To this day I sometimes wonder if my baby sis ever forgave me for taking Blueberry Muffin.
Oh yeah, by the way, sorry, sis… (Just in case Santa is reading this!)
These are some of the memories I was channeling when I wrote The Crazy Thing ’bout Christmas. Have you preordered your copy?
So what are some of your favorite Christmas or Santa stories?
Boy meets girl. It’s the way romances usually begin . . . and while we all love a happy ending, it’s the #MeetCute that wins our hearts.
How did you two meet?
The #MeetCute Books each have a unique answer to that query. Some might make you swoon, others might make you giggle . . . and some may make you blush.
Twelve authors. Twelve stand-alone contemporary romance novels. Twelve stories that will make your heart beat a little faster.
Because it’s all about the #MeetCute.
For each #MeetCute Book, we’ll share a couples interview in the style of the “When Harry Met Sally” clips. (Check them out here!)
In WHAT I WASN’T LOOKING FOR Mary and Austin are just looking for a summer fling… but sometimes love finds you when you least expect it.
Austin: Well, the first time she met me, she thought I was so hot, she sold me a bag of ice.
Mary: Pftt… puh-lease. We met at church. He walked right into the middle of mass, and I knew immediately he was out of place.
Austin: Hey! I do go to church, you know. I’m not a heathen or something.
Mary: Fine, you go to church. But you’re not Catholic. None of the Catholics I know have foot fetishes. And they certainly don’t let it show during mass either.
Austin: (smug grin) I do not have a foot fetish. I have a toe fetish.
Mary: (laughing) Oh my word, do you know how disgusting that sounds?
Austin: (leaning forward and cupping a hand to his mouth) Don’t tell her, but the truth is I have a fetish for that sexy red nail polish. And when she starts wiggling those toes . . . (whistles suggestively)
Mary: (rolling her eyes and smacking his arm) Austin Hayworth, we were in church. I cannot believe your mind was in the gutter during mass.
Austin: Listen, babe, I’m no longer talking about church. I’ve moved on. I’m talking about when you wiggle your toes while I’m doing that thing ….
Mary: (blushes and slaps her hand over his mouth with an embarrassed giggle) Austin!
Austin: (shoving her hand away) See that pretty blush on those cheeks? And that laugh. It’s no wonder a simple summer fling stole my heart.
Mary: You didn’t know it stole your heart at the time.
Austin: I knew it. You had me long before I drove away from Simoneaux Bayou after that first week. You were the one who had to be convinced.
Mary: True. I admit it. I fought it a long time, but in the end, there was just no resisting his charms.
Austin: Just remember what I said. I want this to be the longest fling in the history of flings.
Mary: Almost sounds like forever.
Austin: (winking at her before taking her hand in his) Forever just might do.