I’ve learned some interesting things about writing after releasing fifteen short stories, novellas and novels.
I thought I would be in full control of the characters on my pages—shape them into the people in my stories. Wrong. Many times I’ve found myself writing things I had not intended, finding out more about my character’s personalities then I originally thought, and always happily surprised.
I also learned that while the time from putting pen to paper to release day can vary, I’m usually working 4 to 6 months from start to finish. That means starting a holiday story in summer. Sitting on the back deck with a warm breeze or at the beach makes it difficult to think snow, cold and jingle bells.
So, here are my top ten tips for writing a holiday romance:
- Run through your playlist and find all your holiday music
- On YouTube find the yule log
- Mix up a cup of hot chocolate (ok, a frozen chocolate Frappuccino with a peppermint stick)
- Change your computer wallpaper to a snowy scene
- Turn up the air conditioner to EXTRA HIGH
- Choose a warm cozy romantic setting
- Put some holiday decorations around your writing area
- Include a holiday tradition you love in your story
- Incorporate holiday items into your story
- Use all of the above to get into the holiday spirit then put pen to paper
Title: The Maxwell Ghost
Author: Ruth A. Casie
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
The Maxwell’s Caerlaverock Castle, on the Scottish border is in an uproar. Traitors, deception, murders and ghosts run rampant. The crops have failed and the granaries set ablaze. Rumors fly when servants Evan and his bride-to-be, Angel are found murdered and Evan’s ghost haunts the castle. Did Evan kill Angel then take his own life? Sonia, a young cook is sure everyone has it wrong. The ghost haunts the castle seeking justice. She will move heaven and earth to get to the truth, but she is helpless.
Laura Reynolds travels from England to her cousin, The Maxwell’s castle to put Evan’s ghost to rest. She has one week to complete the task or Evan’s ghost is doomed to haunt the castle forever. The Maxwell, while he loves his cousin, doubts her sorceress ways and has more important issues at hand, a traitor in their midst.
Jamie Maxwell Collins has finished his service to The Maxwell and eager for his promised farm. While long-time friends with Laura, he has little patience for her sorcery, but in order to get his farm The Maxwell requires Jamie protect and help her. Will Sonia’s information tip the scales and help them find the true murderer and bring justice to Evan and Angel? Will Sonia’s insight help Laura and Jamie realize their destinies are intertwined with hidden passions? All is in jeopardy when Laura becomes the murderer’s next target. Jamie will find he needs more than ghostly assistance to save Laura and realize they have a love that will last for eternity.
After a silent hour’s ride, they arrived at a small clearing. The Bells Burn a few hundred yards ahead. Six riders emerged out of a thicket and blocked their way. Jamie’s men were in front of Laura and kept her hidden from view. Laura looked past her protectors and caught glimpses. The riders were from Ravencroft, the Mitchell crest clear on their cloaks.
“You’re on Mitchell land,” the leader of Bryce’s guards said. Looking between her protectors, she recognized the man. He often accompanied Bryce to Glen Kirk. Laura brought her horse around the others and caught Jamie’s men by surprise.
“We are not,” she insisted.
“Lady Laura,” the man sputtered. “I didn’t see you with these men.”
“Lord Bryce has you on patrol? You can’t see a woman among five men?” Jamie’s soft cough, which she knew well, concealed his laugh.
“And you have no idea of the Ravencroft boundary? Actually, you’re deep in Reynolds’ territory. What, sir, are you and your bullies doing on Glen Kirk land?” Her temper veered sharply to anger. Now she understood. Jamie’s route, while difficult, kept them on her father’s land until the border. Bryce. She had no illusions about his interests. They most definitely weren’t for her, but for Glen Kirk. He strutted around as if the heir apparent. Well, he wasn’t and, if she had anything to do with it, he never would.
The beads around her neck warmed. A soft gasp of surprise escaped her lips. Encouraged knowing she was right Laura walked her horse closer to the Mitchell patrol.
“How. Dare. You. Stop. Me.” She spat out each word. The men were silent, like reprimanded schoolboys. “I’ll make sure to tell my father how Lord Bryce takes liberties with Glen Kirk property or should I tell him a Ravencroft patrol lost their way in the forest and I needed to provide them with directions?”
Scarlet stains appeared on the leader’s cheek. Laura was aware of the enemy she’d made, but with good cause. The Mitchell men looked at each other, not knowing what to do.
Jamie and his men understood the situation. He pulled up beside her relaxed, his face with touches of humor around his mouth and eyes. His men on either side of them.
The Ravencroft leader looked at Jamie.
“Don’t look at me.” Jamie nodded to Laura. “I’m sorry for it, but I can’t offer you any protection. You’ll have to deal with Lady Laura.”
Bryce’s man stared at her baffled.
“Forgive me, Lady Laura. We thought something improper—”
“Improper. How ridiculous.” Laura’s horse reacted to her shout. She took a strong hand and calmed him. “Lord James is my mother’s cousin. Not that I need to give you an explanation. But,” she pretended to be soothed, “I do thank you for your concern for my safety and assure you your assistance is not needed. I can certainly handle one Scot and four of his men.”
Jamie sat his mount his hand casually on his sword hilt.
“Leave us now. I’ll let my father know what’s happened here and let him decide what to tell Lord Mitchell.”
“Yes, m’ lady.” He dipped his head in a quick bow and signaled his men. They wheeled around and made a fast retreat.
Their small company didn’t move. They waited until Mitchell’s men were out of sight and hearing distance.
Christmas in July Fete Sackful of Giveaways:
Grand Prize: $75 USD Amazon Gift Card
An e-copy of The Maxwell Ghost
(plus more prizes…)
Starts July 1, 2017 12:01 am EST and ends August 1, 2017 12:00 am EST
Buy Links: https://amzn.com/B01M5JJB1I
Author’s Favorite Holiday Food/Tradition:
Butternut Squash Soup
RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Ruth also writes contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager vice president, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures. For more information, please visit www.RuthACasie.com or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.
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