You Want This Cole in Your Stocking – Giveaway + Blog Hop = FUN!

Welcome to the Mistletoe Hop!

badge Mistletoe HopChristmas is all about family, friends, faith and FREE STUFF!

Click on the enormous image to enter the Mistletoe Hop. You could win the grand prize of A Brand New Amazon Kindle or one of dozens of other gifts contributed by 30 awesome authors.

JessiGage_ColeInMyStocking_1400pxIn addition to the grand prize, I’m giving away a free ecopy of Cole in My Stocking, my new holiday release featuring a hot cop and the woman he’s been crushing on for years.

The blurb is below. Here’s what readers are saying about Cole in My Stocking:

“Wow.. WoW…freaking WOW! Did I mention wow?!?!? The story line was epic. The characters were well developed, real, emotional, addictive…perfectly written really!”-Becca Moree, Breathless Ink Reviews

“The relationship between these two just is hot. Everyone need a strong loving man like Cole in there lives.” – An Amazon reviewer

“I love how this novel was more than a love story, add in some danger & mystery and there my friends you have a very addictive story.” – An Amazon reviewer

All you have to do for your chance to win is leave a comment below with your email address. That’s it! Easy Peasy!

Feel free to pass it on! If you tweet about the hop or the giveaway, just say so and I’ll give you another entry, because that’s how I roll.

Don’t forget to visit the Mistletoe Hop page hosted by Paloma Beck at her beautiful blog, Romance Beckons to enter for the grand prize and to hop to other author blogs for more chances to win great prizes! You can also swing by the Facebook party for fun games and more prizes!

 

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Setting Sail with Kindle Voyage

My Kindle, My Kindle, My Kindle and Me!

Anyone remember the My Buddy commercials?

kv6This was me for the last 24 hours as I have been essentially inseparable from my new Kindle Voyage.

So, how do I like it? As if you couldn’t guess from my intro, here’s my detailed review for any of my wonderful readers who are considering this latest generation Kindle:

Appearance

As usual, Amazon does a wonderful job with packaging. The voyage came in a beautiful black-matte box with a blue lining that is as stylish and compact as the device itself. When you dig into the package, you just know you’re unwrapping something special.

kv7Then there’s the device. It is seriously so pretty.

The overall look is sleeker and more compact than the Paperwhite.

Attention to detail is evident in the sculpted back and the way the screen is flush with the edges instead of being recessed with a bevel that can accumulate dust.  When backlighting is off, light reflects off the entire face of the Voyage evenly, as you can see in this image.

Fonts are crisper than with the Paperwhite. The display is brighter when lit.

kv8Something new on the Voage: The adaptive lighting receptor, which adjusts the back-lighting of the display according to the ambient lighting. You can see in this image, the receptor is covered with a shiny finish that gives a nice, modern contrast to the matte finish of the rest of the device.

As for the display, the tool-bar-style menu at the top is the same, so Paperwhite users should be able to transition easily to the Voyage. There are a few additional options within the menus, but you’ll be able to keep your homepage looking the same as with the Paperwhite with a little tinkering (see Organization below).

kv1Functionality

The Voyage works a lot like the Paperwhite. The major difference in the controls is that you can now turn pages by pressing along the side in addition to the touch-screen page turn when you’re in a book and the swipe-style page turn when you’re navigating menus. You can even use the side-press page turn from either side to go forward or backwards in a book.

I’ve put my Voyage in a hot pink Origami case, and I love it. This is just one of the many cases you can get that’s tailor-made for the new Voyage.

Not only can I easily prop up my Voyage for hands-free reading, but the case is lighter and slimmer than the leather case I used for my Paperwhite, as you can see from the images.

kv2It was much easier to install my Voyage in the Origami case than it was to install the Paperwhite in the leather case. With the Paperwhite, I had to wrestle the device into the leather protective case, and I worried I’d never be able to get it out again without damaging the device or the case. With the Origami case, the Voyage snaps in magnetically and is held there securely.

kv4I do have a couple minor nitpicks about the Origami case. First, the standby/power button is on the back of the device. If the Origami case is in the open position, the button isn’t easy to reach to awaken the Voyage if it has fallen asleep.

Second, the Origami case is flimsier than the leather case for the Paperwhite. As you can see from this image, the case can get a little crooked. If protection of the device is more important to you than comfort when reading, you might consider a sturdier case.

Another thing I really like about the functionality of the Voyage is how easy it is to post reviews to Goodreads. While the response time of typing on the Voyage doesn’t seem much better than the Paperwhite, the accuracy seems better. I make fewer errors when trying to type out a note or review quickly.

Regarding response time, I often end up tapping a selection twice because I’m not sure it “took.” For example, when “checking” a book to put it in a category, I’ll tap a second time because it takes so long for the check to appear. Then the check appears then disappears a moment later. I have to tap a third time and wait patiently (not my thing), and lo and behold, the check appears about a second later. This is frustrating, but it’s no different from the Paperwhite.

Organization

It took some doing to figure out how to replicate the “view” I was used to on my Paperwhite home screen. I’m not sure if the collections work differently than they used to or if it was just a matter of me figuring out the right combination of views.

On the Voyage, there are two ways to organize the content of your home screen, and they can be used in any combination, making the options for viewing quite flexible. You can organize by type of item (options are: all items, books, collections, periodicals, and documents). You can also organize by filtering (options are: recent, title, author, collection).

kv9On my Paperwhite, I liked to have my home page organized as follows:

  • List vew (not cover view). This way, I can see more items per page, and less ads bombard me on the first page
  • At the top of my home page are my collections. I use collections to group my books so I don’t have to scroll through 60 pages of titles. You can see some of my categories in this image.
    • Below my list of collections I like to keep a list of all the books I’ve ever added to my kindle and not put in some category and not removed from my device. I use this list as my “action item” list. I needed to DO something with these books. For example, they might be books I’ve read and still need to review on You Gotta Read Reviews. They might be books I’m too eager to read to siphon off to the TBR category. They might be books I’ve read but haven’t yet added to a Goodreads shelf.

Figuring out how to replicate this system on the Voyage took some time. The help section in the user guide didn’t help me at all. It was more a matter of trying different things, panicking that I’d messed up my lists and categories, and trying again. I finally got it! Here’s how:

By choosing the list view, Viewing by book (type of item) and then filtering by category. These options show up on the home screen in either the list view or cover view beneath the toolbar, on the same line as the cloud | device option.

Conclusion

I’m still getting to know my Voyage. I can’t comment on battery life yet, for example. But I’m very pleased with my purchase and would recommend this device to anyone. Organizing content can be a little complicated, but for the most part, it operates just like Paperwhite users will expect.

Remember when budgeting that the price of the Voyage is just the starting point. Add at least $100 for an extended warranty (you want this) and a protective case.

Are you thinking about getting a Voyage, either for yourself or for someone on your Christmas list? What questions do you have? I’m happy to answer!

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What do Witness Protection and Kitchen Remodeling Have in Common?

They’re sharing a post today, because…

It’s Two-fer Tuesday Friday!

two thingsYou know what they say, If one good thing is good, two good things are…er good-er.

It’s a two-post kind of Friday, which means double the bloggy goodness for you! *throws confetti*

Check out today’s Free Publicity Friday with romance author Loni Flowers and then continue on to see before and after images of my recent kitchen remodel. If you’ve been wondering where I am and why I’m ignoring you, you’ll understand why after seeing the before and after shots. There was a LOT to do! Fortunately I had help!

More about that later. First, here’s a book about secrets and doing what you need to instead of what you want to and then…finding love:

Witness to my Heart By Loni Flowers

Witness to my HeartGenre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: August 12, 2014
ISBN: 978-1500677626
ASIN: 1500677620
Number of pages: 376
Word Count: 94,600
Amazon
Kindle Unlimited
$2.99

Keep a low profile. That’s what Abigale Peterson was supposed to do, especially when the person she was being protected from was one of the world’s worst crime lords. After seven years in the Witness Protection Program, she felt no safer now than she did when she was seventeen. Revenge was rarely forgotten when it came to a professional criminal like Zerilli.

Low profiles meant no social life and definitely no love life.

Paranoia and lies became daily habits, going against everything Abigale believed in, but they kept her safe. They kept everyone safe.

Until a house fire puts her out of that safety and into the arms of a stranger. Max Smith is sexy, smart, and has major attitude. He’s the only one who seems to get her. He calms her fears and comforts her from her nightmares. But he also sees right through her lies.

Before Abigale can stop, she’s in too deep; confiding too much and breaking the one rule she promised herself to uphold: Never fall in love.

Loni FlowersAuthor Bio:

Loni thrives off of finding the tiniest speck of romance in any plot thread and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after’s. She thrives off the sexual tension, and gets a kick out of taking her characters on a roller-coaster ride of drama-filled emotions. A romance that soothes the soul is her number one priority.

Blog:  http://www.loniflowers.com/?page_id=57
Web: http://www.loniflowers.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LoniFlowers
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLoniFlowers
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5405526.Loni_Flowers

New Kitchen-y Goodness

RT_demo1Many of you know I’ve been managing a major kitchen renovation this autumn. Here’s the proof, in case you don’t believe me. Yes, that’s me in the Tyvek suit. My awesome contractors (BYD Construction, Seattle) let me take the first sledgehammer swings in the demo phase. Here I am using a crowbar to rip up the half-wall that served no conceivable purpose in my old kitchen. That, my friends, was a satisfying day.

pre1 pre2 pre3 pre4Before I show you the finished kitchen in all its glory, I had to post a few “before” pictures. Because as a romance author, I’m all about the build-up to the big pay off.

Here’s my old kitchen. This is the mustard-yellow and brown monstrosity I’ve been living with since my husband and I purchased our first home four years ago. I’ve been making do, but it’s been a slog. I had WAAAYYYY too little storage, unacceptable functionality (non-working oven), an urgonomical disaster of a refrigerator, and let’s not even go into the aesthetics.

When I published my first novel, Wishing for a Highlander, I affectionately referred to it as Wishing for a Dishwasher. At the time, I didn’t have a working stove OR a working dishwasher in my kitchen. The shiny stainless steel number you’re seeing here is the result of my first novel soaring to best-seller status (time-travel romance & Scottish historical romance). The pictures coming up are the result of it staying there for more than two years and of the success of my other books.

I kept the dishwasher. And the kid. Everything else got tossed, including the walls, floor, and asbestos popcorn ceiling. I hope my old kitchen is burned to a cinder somewhere and that the fumes killed some evil demons.

Now for the big unveiling!!!!

Are you ready?!

MM900283640

Jessi’s New Kitchen!

kr1 kr2kr4 kr3  kr5  kr7 kr8 kr9 kr10 kr11 kr12

The cell-phone photos are not the clearest, but you get the idea. Isn’t it pretty?!

My contractor’s crew was awesome. Their attention to detail was astonishing. They cleaned up after themselves when they left every night. They were sweet to my kids. And they ate the snacks I pushed on them.

I am super thankful to all my readers who made this kitchen possible. THANK YOU if you’ve ever bought one of my books or helped promote me! And thank you for reading!

Have a wonderful weekend! I have to go cook something now.

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Winners Announced

Holiday Giveaway Winners!

congratulations-clip-artThank you to everyone who entered my new release giveaway for Cole in My Stocking! Up for grabs were:

  • $25 Gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  • 9-piece holiday charm set
  • 3 ecopies of Cole in My Stocking

 

And the winners are….

MM900283640

1st Prize
$25 gift card and ecopy of Cole in My Stocking

Glenda

2nd Prize
9-piece holiday charm set and ecopy of Cole in My Stocking

Dana

3rd Prize
Ecopy of Cole in My Stocking

Heather

The winners have been notified by email. Thank you to everyone who entered and to everyone who ran out to grab your copy of this sweet and steamy holiday romance!

JessiGage_ColeInMyStocking_1400px

Mandy never planned to return to Newburgh, New Hampshire, the hometown that unfairly branded her a slut, but she has no choice. Her father has died, and she’ll be spending Christmas settling his affairs. She hopes to get in and out of town without attracting the looks of disgust that drove her away, but when a certain Oakley-wearing, Harley-riding cop starts hanging around, an old crush is revived and the rumor mill restarts with a vengeance.

Cole has always been attracted to Mandy, but he has never acted on it. Besides being sixteen years older than her, he was friends with her father. The rumors people in town spread about her were bad enough without an inappropriate relationship adding fuel to the fire. But when Mandy returns to Newburgh fully adult and looking more gorgeous than ever, he can’t keep his distance, especially when an old secret of her father’s surfaces and puts her in danger. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, but convincing her to stay in Newburgh, with him, will take a Christmas miracle.

Reader Advisory: Contains references to a past sexual assault

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | All Romance | Goodreads

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Putting My Heart on the Page with My New Release

JessiGage_ColeInMyStocking_1400pxBullying, Death, First Crushes, and Other Life-Altering Lessons

Growing up is never easy. Everyone has horror stories from high school. Many of us can remember things we did to fit in that, in hindsight, we’re not proud of. Many of us host painful memories of being treated badly or of behaving badly. I’m certainly no exception.

Most of us don’t let our pasts define us. We grow up. We move on. Sometimes, though, our pasts reel us back in and we find ourselves having to cope with issues we’d thought long dealt with.

This is what happens to Mandy, the heroine of Cole in My Stocking. Six years ago, she fled her hometown the second she graduated from high school in order to escape her bad reputation. She builds a new life for herself in a distant city and hasn’t been back since. But everything changes when she gets a letter informing her her father is dead. Mandy must return home to deal with her father’s death and a past that she has tried everything to forget, but which has not forgotten her.

With Mandy and Cole in My Stocking, I get much more personal than I ever have before with a character or a story. Mandy’s hometown is a fictionalized version of my hometown. The cluttered mobile home she grew up in is the exact one I grew up in. Her gruff gunsmith father who died too young after living too hard–he’s my father.

I gave him a different name, but he’s the man I grew up loving and fearing, longing to please yet never quite feeling like I’d done a good enough job. My father passed away from lung cancer in 2006. He was a Vietman Veteran, a gunsmith, a Harley-riding, tatooed bad-boy who put his heart and soul into his business.

His health declined so quickly after his diagnosis that I only got one chance to see him before he died. I still remember getting the phone call from my mother. I remember not being able to process that my dad was gone.

I poured that grief into Cole in My Stocking, and I’m so glad I did. I don’t think I completely made peace with my father’s death until I finished this novel. It’s more a part of me than any other book I’ve written.

Early reviews are showing that I hit the emotional notes I was shooting for. I hope you’ll buy it, read it, love it, and pass it on to someone else. There’s a lot of my own learning in these pages, a lot of my heart. I hope it touches your heart and entertains you.

Being a sweeter romance with just a little bit of steam, this one would make an excellent Christmas gift for all the romance-loving women in your life. It’s available in ebook and Print:

Ebook:

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | All Romance | Goodreads

Print:

Amazon | B&N | Createspace

Mandy never planned to return to Newburgh, New Hampshire, the hometown that unfairly branded her a slut, but she has no choice. Her father has died, and she’ll be spending Christmas settling his affairs. She hopes to get in and out of town without attracting the looks of disgust that drove her away, but when a certain Oakley-wearing, Harley-riding cop starts hanging around, an old crush is revived and the rumor mill restarts with a vengeance.

Cole has always been attracted to Mandy, but he has never acted on it. Besides being sixteen years older than her, he was friends with her father. The rumors people in town spread about her were bad enough without an inappropriate relationship adding fuel to the fire. But when Mandy returns to Newburgh fully adult and looking more gorgeous than ever, he can’t keep his distance, especially when an old secret of her father’s surfaces and puts her in danger. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, but convincing her to stay in Newburgh, with him, will take a Christmas miracle.

Reader Advisory: Contains references to a past sexual assault

BONUS BLOG POST

Two Giveaways Because It’s My Birthday!

?????????????????I’m celebrating my birthday this week! What better way to celebrate than to give stuff away?!

*blows horn, throws confetti*

Win a $25 gift card, a set of holiday charms, and one of three e-copies of Cole in My Stocking with my Rafflecopter giveaway

 Win one of three print copies of Cole in My Stocking with my Goodreads giveaway

***

To get the most up-to-date info on Cole in My Stocking and my other books, take a look at my books page or visit my website by clicking on my cute face in the sidebar.

Thank you for reading!

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Free Publicity Friday-Beekeeper Edition

Truly by Ruthie Knox

TrulyI was in a rut. I read, like, three shifter novellas in a row that I’d gotten on discount from a small publisher, and all three were blah. The dialog didn’t grab me. There were typos. Generally, I felt like I was critiquing rather than kicking back and reading for relaxation and enjoyment.

Where does a girl turn when she needs a good book, and I mean, NEEDS. If I picked up one more dud, I was going to lose my mind. What author could I trust to lead me into a story that wouldn’t be too heavy but would make me fall in love and make me laugh and cringe with the characters and highlight awesome lines on my Kindle?

I picked up a Ruthie Knox. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

12991105I’ve read quite a lot of Ruthie. I loved Ride with Me and About Last Night. I’ve devoured everything in her Camelot series. I adored her novellas in the Strangers on a Train and Naughty and Nice anthologies.

Like any hard-core fan, I haven’t been smitten with all things Ruthie. I wrinkled my nose at the whole serial novel thing she did with Roman Holiday and have still not purchased it, even though it’s out in the full version now. It’s on my “someday” list.

But Truly was awesome, and it was just what I needed to get out of the bad-book rut.

Right from the beginning, Ruthie dropped me in a bar in New York with May as she hopes against hope some kind and matronly tourist from Wisconsin will notice she’s just been mugged and offer a shoulder to cry on and a phone to use, maybe even a ride to the airport, where the fairies of air travel will grant her passage back to Wisconsin despite her lack of identification. What she gets instead is Ben, a taciturn beekeeper with a face and manner about as welcoming as a pitchfork.

But it turns out Ben is exactly what she needs. And he’s not all that unwelcoming once May gets past his gruff exterior. In fact, Ben turns out to be a decent host as he welcoms her into his home and a great tour guide as he shows her a thrilling, honest New York she hadn’t yet met in her brief stay.

Ben helps May discover things about herself that a kinder, gentler person would not have. Ben sees in her a creative free spirit dying to break free from the mold of steady, average May her family’s words and actions have created for her.

As always, Ruthie entertains me, makes me think, and inspires me in equal measure. Her voice makes her such a wonderful author to read. She writes from a place of intelligent curiosity about human nature in a way few other writers do. She just clicks for me, and Truly was right on par with what I’ve come to expect from her.

Here are a few of my favorite lines:

Ben was far from her ideal shelter, but he was sturdy, and he was offering food.–Kindle location 532.

He made his face stern and uncompromising in the mirror. “No kissing, no touching, no f—ing,” he told himself. “Be normal.”–Kindle location 1589

That was life. There were always so many of these awkward moments, these miscalculations between two people. There was beer breath and the occasional need for lube. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t magical.–Kindle location 1939

Ben wasn’t easy, and he refused to behave in a way that the movie reel in her head could work with.–Kindle location 2879

And some fantastic dialog to leave you with:
“Tell me,” he repeated. “I don’t care what it is. Tell me I’m a shitty kisser or you’re worried my dick’s too small. Tell me you want me to tie you up and lob tennis balls at you. Tell me you’re worried about flesh-eating bacteria. I don’t give a shit what you say, but you’re going to tell me.”

“Tennis balls?”

“Tell me.”–Kindle Location 3672

And there you have it. May and Ben in a nutshell. Don’t you want to read their story? It’s a 5-star winner. Ruthie’s one of my go-to gals for when I NEED a good book. So go get Truly. You won’t regret it.

 

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New Release and Giveaway

Sweet Holiday Second-Chance Romance

Wow, is it new release time again already?!JessiGage_ColeInMyStocking_1400px

Help me celebrate the Nov 1st release of Cole in My Stocking with TWO giveaways!

I’ve got a Rafflecopter going that you can enter with just a couple clicks. Prizes include a $25 gift card, a set of holiday bracelet charms, and e-copies of Cole in My Stocking.

Over at Goodreads, you can enter to win one of three print copies of Cole in My Stocking. A print book would make a great Christmas gift for a girlfriend or mom. It’s a sweeter romance about a girl who ran from her troubled past and a cop in her hometown who wants nothing more than for her to make peace with that past and move back.

Here’s the blurb and links. Thanks for reading!

Mandy never planned to return to Newburgh, New Hampshire, the hometown that unfairly branded her a slut, but she has no choice. Her father has died, and she’ll be spending Christmas settling his affairs. She hopes to get in and out of town without attracting the looks of disgust that drove her away, but when a certain Oakley-wearing, Harley-riding cop starts hanging around, an old crush is revived and the rumor mill restarts with a vengeance.

Cole has always been attracted to Mandy, but he has never acted on it. Besides being sixteen years older than her, he was friends with her father. The rumors people in town spread about her were bad enough without an inappropriate relationship adding fuel to the fire. But when Mandy returns to Newburgh fully adult and looking more gorgeous than ever, he can’t keep his distance, especially when an old secret of her father’s surfaces and puts her in danger. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, but convincing her to stay in Newburgh, with him, will take a Christmas miracle.

Reader Advisory: Contains references to a past sexual assault

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | All Romance | Goodreads

 

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