Favorite Things Addictive Reads 2014 Holiday Giveaway!


It’s the holidays again; somehow I think they come faster every year! This year, in addition to our fabulous Holiday Giveaway, the Addictive Reads’ authors wanted to share a few of our favorite things about the holidays!

Christmas Holiday Background with Red Bauble and SnowHere is my list, and in the comments, feel free to share a few of your favorite things to be included in a drawing for a $10 Starbucks Gift Card! Also be sure to check out the other posts by following the linky at the end of the post.

1. Family:

Collage of families enjoying celebration moments together at homI grew up as an only child and only grandchild, but made up for it when I had my own family of six children. Now, my oldest three are married, so their spouses are part of the family as well as three beautiful grandchildren. Unfortunately, they all live out of town, so I love the opportunity to gather together at the holidays.

2. Traditions:Family reading

I love holiday traditions. One of ours includes riding around and looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve and then coming home to read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas  along with cups of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.


3. Christmas Movies:

Charlie Brown ChristmasThis might fall under “traditions” except I start watching holiday movies at Halloween. Always start with the Charlie Brown trio: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, then A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

GrinchAfter Charlie Brown comes How The Grinch Stole Christmas , Rudolph, Frosty,  and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Shrek The Halls, and of course the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life.


4. Little PeopleLittle People

Little People sets are my obsession. It’s possibly the reason I had six children. I have collected almost all the sets and I love their holiday sets! They are decorations that the kids, and now grandkids, can play with without fear of breaking. (Except when our pit bull get hold of the people, she loves to chew them up!)

5. Cookies

And last, what would the holidays be without baking all sorts of Christmas cookies and breads? Because of course, we have to have a reason to include “go on a diet” as part of our New Years’ resolutions!

My favorite cookie I make at Christmas, and I often make enough to give as  gifts, is the Russian Teacake. I’m including the recipe here.

Russian TeacakesTea and cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ¼ cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour

¾ cup finely chopped nuts

¼ teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 400ºF.

Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.

Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. When thoroughly cool, roll in powdered sugar again. 

That’s my favorite things, don’t forget to tell me about yours, especially if you want to be entered for a chance to win the $10 Starbucks giftcard.  And then follow the linky BELOW to get to the rest of the blogs.
An InLinkz Link-up

Exclusive Pirate’s Proposal Prologue! #pirates #POTC

Diana’s note: This is a repost. Since GoDaddy got rid of my old blog, I am reposting a few blog posts I want readers to be able to access. Thank you.

Pirate's Proposal.jpgFor Pirate’s Proposal readers, my gift to you is a never-before-seen prologue. Because you know what they say: Readers don’t like prologues. But I do. I love them! And so I hung onto this short prologue which made my heart tighten and my throat clog when I wrote it. I hope you find it as emotional. (And if you haven’t readPirate’s Proposal: Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll then check out the website links-and the great cover!-below.)

Pirate’s Proposal



Twelve-year-old Gina Santini sat on her bunk, hands tightly clasped, eyes squeezed shut. The tears musn’t escape.

“No, no, no, no,” she muttered, unable to muster any other thought.

The door separating her cabin from her parent’s cabin opened.

Mi figlia.” My daughter.

Gina looked up at her father’s voice, then jumped off her bunk and ran to him, wrapping her thin arms around his sturdy frame. He enfolded her in a hug, and for a moment, her world felt right.

But only for a moment, for then he spoke.

Figlia, your Momma, she wants to see you.”

Tears welled again, but she bravely fought them back. “Babbo, this is because she’s better, no?”

Even without his head shake, she knew the answer. Sadness surrounded him, permeated even the air he breathed.

“You need to see her, mi figlia before it’s too late.”

With a gasp, she released her father and ran into the adjoining cabin, where her mother lay in the bunk covered with a thin sheet. Gina kneeled on the floor and took her mother’s hand. So frail, so cold. No!


“Gina, amore, Momma is happy you are here.” Her voice sounded so weak.

“Don’t talk, Momma, save your breath, get well.”

“No, mia figlia, there will be no getting well. I am not long for here.”

Gina wanted to scream, stamp her feet and shake her fist at the heavens, but she resisted the urge and stayed still so she could hear her mother’s last words.

Momma gently pulled from Gina’s grasp. “I have something for you.” Momma reached across on her pillow and picked up her doll. She handed it to Gina.

“This will be yours.”

“Your doll?” Gina remembered once when she’d been little that she’d sneaked into her parent’s cabin to play with the doll and received such a scolding from her Momma to never ever touch the doll.

“But, Momma, you said–”

Si, amore, she was a doll made special for me by your Nonno Enzo. But I cannot take her to a watery grave with me.”

Gina choked on the sudden lump in her throat at the thought of her Momma’s body in the ocean. But there really was no other choice once Momma…passed. They were in the middle of the ocean without land in sight, although they were sailing hard for port.

“Momma, don’t say such a thing. You will get better. We’ll reach port soon, find you a doctor–”

“No, figlia, I will not last the day, I know it.”

If that were true, Gina knew her father would turn the Gypsy Doll around and head back to the open sea. There was no reason to sail for land if they no longer needed a doctor. They owned nothing but the Gypsy Doll, a large frigate which had been Gina’s home since the day she was born. There would be no need to bury her mother, other than in a sailor’s grave, where her spirit would always remain close.

“Take her.” Momma’s voice interrupted Gina’s thoughts.

Gina took the doll, expecting her to be cold and hard as she was made of whale bone. She looked at her mother. “She’s so…warm.”

“She does often feel warm, which is odd, I know. But she is a special doll, with special powers. If you take care of her, she will keep you safe.”

A sob slipped from between Gina’s lips. “She hasn’t kept you safe.”

“Not that kind of safe, amore. She cannot prevent sickness. But she can prevent someone from being disloyal to you which can be as dangerous as an illness.”

At the moment, Gina didn’t care about loyalty; she only wanted her mother to live.

“Listen, bella mia, I will tell you the tale of the doll.”

Gina sniffed and held the doll in one hand, and her mother’s hand with the other.

“My father made her with his own hands, carved every bit from the whale bone. He made her after mi Momma was mysteriously murdered in her bed, as a tribute to her.”

Gina gasped at the thought of her Nonna being murdered.

“See, here…” At this Momma took the doll back from Gina and raised her dress. “This is the rose he carved as a reminder–your Nonna’s name was Rosa.”

On the front, where the doll’s heart would be was a tiny carved rose. “Ah, Rosa,” Gina murmured, thinking it a romantic gesture. “So he carved this to show his love for her?”

Si.” Mamma sighed, obviously thinking the rose was a romantic gesture too.

“But Nonna Rosa died when you were a young girl, si?” Gina just realized her mother was motherless much of her childhood…just as she would be. She blinked hard and swallowed. “And did Nonno Enzo make the doll soon after her death?”

Si, it helped him past the pain he said.”

Gina thought on that a minute before she asked what to her was an obvious question, “So then why does a young girl need a doll who protects against disloyal people? And how could he have ensured that anyway?”

“Ah, mia figlia, you always have been such a smart one.”

“The spell on the doll came on the eve of my wedding. Your Nonno wanted to ensure your father would always be loyal to me so he engaged a gypsy witch–”

“A witch?”
Si,” But at that Momma started coughing and couldn’t continue.

Babbo, who had been listening at the door, came and led Gina away. So many things she didn’t know, that she wanted to ask, that she wished she had more time to learn.

“But Babbo…”

“Your Momma is very tired, and needs to rest. She will tell you later.”

But later never came. Gina’s mother died that night.


I hope you enjoyed the prologue. If you would like to read more, please visit my website for reviews and buy links, now only 99 cents! Pirate’s Proposal begins the legend of “The Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll” series with The Wild Rose Press and tells how and why the cursed gypsy doll was created.

Vampires, Marshals and Serial Killers, oh my!

Diana’s note: This is a repost from my old blog from 2012. Since GoDaddy got rid of my old blog, I am reposting some blog posts I want readers to be able to access. Thank you.



Those compelling, unforgettable television characters.  Is it the writing, the role, or the actor?

I have a confession to make. I’m a TV addict. It’s insane, since I work full-time, I’m an editor, an author, a contest coordinator, a critique partner, etc, etc. But…I watch a lot of television. There are certain shows in particular that I look forward to all week (or for the entire off-season, whichever the case may be), and that I think about long after the show is over.

In each, there is one character (these characters happen to be, purely by coincidence, really, really hot, sexy men) who keeps me coming back to the show time after time, who makes me wish, as a writer, I could capture that certain something they have so that it comes across on the page. But, my theory is that it’s only partially the writing and only partially the role/character the writer created. (As much as I love the written word, each of these television shows are based on books, and while the books are highly successful, the characters DID NOT make me swoon like they do when I watch the shows. Yes, I said ‘swoon’ <g>.

MOSTLY, it’s the casting…fitting the perfect actor into that role and letting them do their thing, as only they can do.

Case in point…

1 blog-dexter


Although the author obviously did a phenomenal job of creating a serial killer we understand, admire, and even root for, I can’t imagine anyone other than Michael C. Hall in the role. He provides the perfect measure of everything that makes the character what he is…what we love: He’s emotionless, yet conflicted. He’s at war with, yet unable to control his Dark Passenger. Once in a while, we get a glimpse of the emotion we crave (although a part of us doesn’t really want to see it—because that’s not who Dexter is), whether it’s in the way he cares about his sister, or the way he reluctantly plunges a knife into the heart of someone who needs killing, even though Dexter kind of hates to do it.

2 Blog-Justified II


Ah, Raylan Givens. Out of all my examples, he’s the only one who’s through and through truly a ‘good’ guy, even though he makes mistakes, gets his a$$ kicked at times, and once in a while makes bad decisions. He’s a laid back, tough, sexy, U.S. Marshal with a trademark cowboy hat, a squinty, ‘almost’ smile and some unforgettable lines that are delivered in his smooth Kentucky drawl. They’re not cheesy, ‘over the top’ lines…they’re cool and sexy, just like Raylan. Timothy Olyphant seems to have been made for that role. He makes you believe he IS Raylan Givens.

3 Blog-True Blood

True Blood

Although it’s rather cliché, Eric Northman moves like a jungle cat. His swagger, his smoldering expression, his smooth yet raspy voice, and those hypnotic eyes that draw you in, mesmerize you, are all rolled into this big hunk of blonde and gorgeous. Alexander Skarsgard gives the role just the right mix of bad boy and sexy. No one could do it quite like he does. Understandably, Fang Bangers, (if you don’t watch the show, they’re basically vampire groupies), throw themselves at him. Somehow, when it’s Eric Northman doing the biting, getting attacked by a vampire doesn’t seem all that unpleasant.

4-Blog-Vampire Diaries II

Vampire Diaries

Damon Salvatore. Wow. I mean, just…wow. His crystal blue eyes captivate, compel you so that you can’t turn away. Ian Somerhalder plays the bad boy vampire to perfection. Even when Damon is snapping necks and literally ripping hearts from chests, he’s still sexy. (Or maybe that’s just me <g>. Whether he’s getting the s#*t beat out of him, or he’s delivering pain to someone else, or during one of those tender moments, when his perfectly sculpted face reveals every emotion he feels, (even the ones he reluctantly feels, because allowing yourself to feel is too human and painful), he does it all with an overload of sex appeal. Although the writing for the show is spectacular, no one except Ian could deliver those lines with quite the same panache. He has this combination of danger and charisma that is totally irresistible.

Just as I expected, I didn’t do any of these characters justice in my description. Seeing is believing, and in order to really ‘get’ what I mean, you’ll just have to watch.

So…what do you think? What are your favorite shows and characters and could you see anyone else playing those roles?

Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She writes paranormal and romantic suspense and is the author of five published novels, two novellas, and a handful of short stories, all through various venues–The Wild Rose Press, Dorchester, and self-publishing. Her next release is a paranormal romance, Soul Seducer, coming out June 4, 2012 as part of Adams Media’s Crimson Romance launch. For more info and to keep up with her releases, please visit her WEBSITE.


Let The Game Begin! Fiction Fanatic Feud #FicFanFeud

Want to play our version of Family Feud and enter to win a monthly prize of a $50 Amazon gift card for first place and 10 free ebooks for second place? Join our Fiction Fanatics Feud game on Facebook! The game is now live and the fun has started.

Join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FictionFanaticsFeud/

***see below for a rafflecopter link and ways to earn extra points***

After you join, answer fun questions like these:

Question 1:

Name a sport Americans love

Question 2:

Name a Halloween creature, monster, or spook

Question 3:

Name something you lose when you get older


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Keep in mind, you don’t have to do each one of these to enter, but the more you do, the more entries you accumulate.

You can gain entries by…

1) Sharing the weekly post of new FFF questions on your FB page and gain 5 entries. (5 entries per week, 20 possible per month) – Enter through Rafflecopter (you will find the Rafflecopter code on all of our ten author websites)

2)      Each month, I will include an image with the question post on the first week of the new round (the post that goes out on Sunday) and this image will be hidden somewhere on each of the 10 author websites. Find the image and send a private FB message to Alicia Dean, with the link to the page where you found the image on each site for 2 extra entries per author. You can spread this out during the 4 week round, you don’t have to visit all 10 sites at once. (10 authors times 2 entries per month for a possible 20 entries per month) – Enter through Rafflecopter

3)      Answering (even incorrectly) the weekly FFF questions gives you 3 extra entries. (3 entries per week for 4 weeks for a possible 12 entries per month) – Enter through Rafflecopter

4)      We will draw 3 names out of those who get 3 of 5 correct and those 3 will earn an additional entry. (Possible 4 per month) – We will manually add your entries to Rafflecopter

5)      If you share an author’s FFF post on your FB page (***This is only for posts that include a link or info about the authors’ books. You wouldn’t want to share something that was about their family, their day, vacations, or other non-book related posts, unless it also includes info/links to their books). You will earn one extra entry per post you share (the number possible will vary from week to week, depending on how many of our ten authors post to the group in a given week) – We will manually add your entries to Rafflecopter

6)      Randomly, our authors will be posting info on the group page about a ‘mini contest’ where you can perform a task, answer a question, etc, to earn 3 extra points. (again, this will vary from week to week) – We will manually add your entries to Rafflecopter

Here is my site so you can look for the image (and sign up for my newsletter while you’re there!):

Diana Layne

Visit each of these sites for more chances to enter!

Diane Burton

MJ Schiller

Alicia Dean

Constance Bretes

Patricia Kiyono

Leah St. James

Nancy Fraser

Kathy Wheeler


Addictive Summer Reads Blog Hop plus Edge Of Trust Cover Reveal!


I love blog hops! And this is a fun one. Each author is offering a prize plus there are seven additional gift cards up for grabs on our main event page . . .and there’s a Rafflecopter to earn extra points. Also, if you have a blog and you promote the event on your blog, you earn extra Rafflecopter points! So many chances to win! You have from June 27-30, 2014 to enter.

For myself, I am giving away (one) $10 and (two) $5 Amazon or Barnes and Noble virtual gift cards, winner’s choice.  What do you need to do for a chance to win my prize? Either subscribe to this (very new) blog (subscription link should be on the left) or subscribe to my newsletter on my homepage (scroll down past the Facebook widget).  And then tell me which you did in the comments. If you do both, then make two comments to double your chances. I will pick the winners using random.org. (Given this IS a brand new blog because GoDaddy cancelled my last one, I’m not quite sure how the comments work, we might have some glitches.)

For the Addictive Reads Blog Hop page, you can click HERE. (I’ll add the link again at the bottom of the post if you want to wait.)

Now for the cover reveal! This is for the third book in the Vista Security Series: Edge of Trust.  (This isn’t really the third Vista book, because Vista didn’t show up in The Good Daughter, only some of the characters, but Amazon did something weird with series book numbering and would no longer let me call it a “prequel” so I had to renumber the books. All these changes, Amazon, GoDaddy, drive me bonkers!)

Here’s the blurb to Edge Of Trust:

What if there was a technology so scary, reality seemed like your worst nightmare?

Burned spy Tasha Shivko must rescue her brother from a Siberian prison and the only person who can help is her former partner Matt Kincaid. But Matt, once himself held captive in a Siberian prison, flatly refuses.

Before his arrest, Tasha’s brother managed to smuggle information out of Russia about a terrorist plot using a nano virus developed by a dirty scientist. Code name: Zombie Virus–when injected it leaves its victims helpless to resist any command.

Learning of the imminent terrorist threat, ex-FBI agent turned spymaster Dave Armstrong realizes Tasha’s brother has critical information vital to thwart the plot. Dave entices Matt to join them and also pulls in Mafia princess Marisa Peruzzo who is now a reluctant mob boss. Marisa’s job: set up a deal with a Russian mobster who has the contacts they need to set their trap. Marisa isn’t that hard to convince; unbeknown to Dave, she has her own vendetta.

From New York to Russia, from Alaska to Siberia, as they work to unravel the terrifying plans of an intricate criminal network, the small but loyal team are pushed to the Edge of Trust.

And here’s the cover!! I think Shanel Anderson at The Circular Designs did a fabulous job! What do you think?

edge of trust name

And FYI: The Good Daughter is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time, tell your friends, grab your copy! Thanks!

Okay, to recap: for a chance to win one of my prizes, sign up for my newsletter or subscribe to this blog. For a chance to win one of the Addictive Reads’ prizes, go to the main event page (and scroll down) to find the linky and Rafflecopter.

Or if you’re ready to start hopping, here’s the linky:
Happy Hopping!