Doing not much for Christmas

23 of us have combined resources for this Christmas blog hop. You can win by visiting the post of a different author each day and comment on the individual posts to go in the draw to win a book at each hop.

Then by clicking on the Rafflecopter link at the end, you'll be entered in the grand Christmas Eve prize draw for a $150 Amazon gift card. Second prize: 30 ebooks. Third prize… e-books from the individual authors.

I’m writing this a little earlier than my ‘official’ blog hop day because you know what? It’s Sunday, and I’ve spent the morning working at my ‘day job’. And that’s the way it will go up to Christmas until I can finally stop and sit down. Then I can write with a clear conscience and hopefully a calm mind.

By day I’m a curtain installer – an ideal ‘other’ job for a nosy romance writer. My husband and I have worked together for the last twenty-plus years. He has a background in electronics and TV. I have a background in advertising. Good qualifications to run a curtain business???  Well yes, actually! He’s a skilled carpenter and metal-worker and there’s nothing in this world he can’t fix if it breaks down. Maybe a nuclear reactor, but happily we don’t have one of those. He’d probably give it a go.

And I spent many years setting up home decor ‘scenes’ to be photographed for catalogues and press ads, and then writing about them. I can make things look wonderful if someone else is paying for the beautiful fabrics. Together we contract to decorators and furnishing studios – and I see the most amazing homes and renovations. We have the pleasure of measuring up for everything and eventually installing it once the curtains and blinds come back from the big workrooms.

Late November and most of December can be rough though. I might see the ideal setting for a novel, or meet someone who sparks a story idea, and have very little energy left to use it until we knock off on Christmas Eve because of course everyone wants their curtains before then. Do I need to be making cakes and puddings and roasting turkeys as well? Nope – and when would I find the time anyway?

Our special treat is a whole raw ham which we bake slowly overnight, and then eat cold with salads over the next couple of weeks with whoever turns up. You see – we’re gardeners. Our big pleasure is being surrounded by plants and flowers. It’s good for the body and good for the soul. Depending on what’s happening in the garden we get our meals at some pretty strange times, but there’s always that delicious ham to cut more slices off and there are home-grown fruits and vegies on the way.

Here’s a piece of our back garden (looking suspiciously tidy, so this must have been after last Christmas.)


It’s full of life. There are birds galore, hedgehogs, lizards, even a frog among the waterlilies. He arrived last year, went away for the winter, and has now returned.

I suppose I’d better confess to one other Christmas treat – Whiskey and Walnut Log. If I make this for one of our romance writers’ meetings there are moans of appreciation and much licking of lips. Not unlike a good love scene, now I think about it!

Choose a saucepan big enough for a mixing bowl and gently melt 8 ounces of butter. (It MUST be real butter or the log won’t stay firm.)

Tip in 14 ounces of crushed plain biscuits, 1 egg, 1 cup of icing sugar, half a cup of chopped walnuts, and a quarter cup of whiskey. Combine well, cool, and dump the mixture onto a large doubled-over sheet of foil. Shape it into a log, wrap it up tightly, and refrigerate overnight.

Next day, unwrap it and slice the ends straight (yum!) Put it on a rectangular plate, make some thick icing flavoured with instant coffee granules and coat the log. Drag a fork along several times to make it look ‘wood-grained’.  Decorate with a line of walnut pieces and refrigerate (uncovered) until the icing dries. Keep it cold, and steal a slice at a time. I challenge you to make it last as far as New Year!


This is just the sort of Christmas treat the Wynn family would have on hand for the big feasts at their Scarlet Bay beach house. I can imagine the assorted female relatives trying to outdo each other with favourite old and new recipes.

I’m happy to give away two extra e-copies of the first Scarlet Bay book – HARD TO REGRET – if I draw your name from the comments on this blog post. HARD TO RESIST is the second Scarlet Bay novel, and I’m currently writing HARD TO HANDLE. Click the first two covers to reach those book pages on my website and read the start of each.

And my gift to you - whether you comment or not - is a free fifteen-minute read - a prequel to my Wellington Series. You'll meet some of the people in the books that follow on. Click this MAYBE BY CHRISTMAS? cover and see what you find.


Merry Christmas from me...


Make sure to check out the posts before and after mine to be in for those prizes.

I’m following on from Bronwen Evans -…/

Next up is the wonderful Carla Caruso, and you'll find her on