Day 5 of 25 days of Christmas Books

Jacqueline Diamond

Sara, an artist who’s turning 50, returns to her hometown for Christmas to face her estranged sisters—and the man she left behind—with a stunning secret.

A compulsively readable tale of love and redemption packed with heartwarming surprises, this is the third book in the Sisters, Lovers & Second Chances series by USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond.

Where/when is your book set?
The book is contemporary, set in the fictional town of Rancho Allegro in Southern California.

Who is your main character?
My main character is Sara Matchett, an artist, the family rebel, and the youngest of three sisters. About to celebrate her 50th birthday, Sara returns to her hometown for Christmas, to face her sisters—and the man she left behind—with a stunning secret. The baby she gave up for adoption years ago is having her own baby, and wants her to be the grandma.

Why is Christmas so important to the story or you?
Christmas is a time for reconnecting and for celebrating what’s important in life. In Sara’s story, the holiday family gathering brings her together with sisters whom she believes rejected her, only to discover how deep their love runs, and a man she never imagined could belong to her.

Victoria LK Williams


Meet Erin Scoggins

I absolutely love how Erin discribes the genre she writes in! “I write contemporary Southern cozies. Think Steel Magnolias with a body count.” If that doesn’t make you want to pick up one of her Wedding Crasher books, then you need to come to the south for a while and absorb some southern atmospher. Erin’s ebooks are available in Kindle Unlimited and her paperback books are available wide. You can follow Erin on Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads and Bookbub.

Book 1 in the Wedding Crasher series

Where is your favorite vacation spot? Beach, Resort, or Poolside?
The beach! I’m lucky enough to live in North Carolina, and we have some of the best beaches around. Park me on the sand in the Outer Banks with my hunky hubby for a weekend, and I’ll be a happy woman.

Everyone takes a tote bag with them when they head out for a day at the beach. What’s in yours?
I always have sunscreen, trail mix, and at least two books. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than running out of things to read before your lounge time is up.

What makes your books perfect for a beach read? The setting, the story, or the characters?
When I’m on vacation, I want books that will help me escape. That means they’ve got to make me laugh, and they have to transport me somewhere delightful.

My Wedding Crashers series is set in the fictional town of Flat Falls, North Carolina. It’s a quirky beach town filled with characters you’d like to have as friends. It has all the good stuff we like about vacation: food, family, and adventure. And who cares about all those pesky dead bodies when you get to attend a wedding on a pirate ship?

What time of day do you usually write?
I’ve got three kids who always ask for snacks as soon as I sit down to write. And then there’s the hundred-pound dog who thinks keyboard time means snuggle time, so he crawls under my feet like an ottoman.

I’d like to say I get up and write every morning at seven and write happily until noon. In the real world? I’ve written in the carpool line, hiding in the bathroom, and on the back of a takeout menu while I was waiting in line to pick up food that I didn’t have time to cook. Stories come when they’re ready, and I just have to do the best I can to catch them.

Book 2

What does writing success mean to you?
I’m on cloud nine when I hear from a reader that I’ve helped them escape from their struggles for a few hours. When somebody invites me into their life and says my books have made them laugh and brought them joy, that’s success.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I grew up shucking corn and eating boiled peanuts with my grandparents in rural North Carolina. There is nothing better for a Southern writer’s inspiration than visiting a Piggly Wiggly in the sticks on any given Sunday. The rural South is full of wonderful, hilarious people who love to tell a story, and it’s easy to find inspiration if I just slow down long enough to pay attention.

What are the key themes and messages in your books?
I love to write stories about characters who think they’re hopeless. Maybe they’ve lost a job or had a heartbreak, or maybe they’re at a crossroads and just feel lost.

The best stories are about the beautiful ways we put ourselves back together again after everything falls apart. They’re about redemption, joy, and figuring out where you belong.

Pre Order Book 3 now, releases August 9, 2021

Erin’s answer to when she writes sounds like so many authors I know, myself included! And every writer knows, you have to get the words down, no matter what the obsticles. I’m ready to head to the pool, but I’ll be downloading one of Erin’s books before I go. It looks like weddings can be funny – and deadly!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet K.T. Bowes

K.T. Bowes writes mysteries with older female protagonists. I have written fourteen novels and a fantasy trilogy, but I always come back to mystery writing. Her books are available on all platforms and you can by directly from her website. Now lets find out a bit about K.T.

Have you ever been to the United States and if so, where?
I haven’t, but I’d like to. A university friend went on Camp America one summer and brought back stories of riding horses in Wyoming and falling in love. I’d enjoy seeing the rolling plains for myself. I’m happy with Husband, so don’t need to fall in love again.

What is one expression that is common to your part of the world that might be unusual to us in the US and what does it mean?
‘Don’t rip your nightie.’ It means, don’t get angry or upset. It’s a humorous rebuke. I live with Mr Super-calm, so don’t get to say it as much as I’d like

Where would you take a US visitor to your country to first and why?
That’s easy. I’d take them home, and we’d have a barbeque and some beers. Hospitality is a massive thing with Kiwis. The first thing we noticed was the big blue sky in New Zealand when we got off the plane. A friend warned us it was bigger here, and it’s true. It looks best from a friend’s garden with a bottle in your hand. Then I’d take them to Hobbiton and the set for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.

What, in your opinion, are the essential elements of good writing?
The reader has to relate to the characters. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter what happens in the plot. Empathy is one of my strengths and I love unpicking characters and reverse engineering their behaviour so I can better understand them. I derive pleasure from knowing my characters are believable enough to have fans of their own.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I write every weekday, no matter what. After exercising, I shower and go straight to my office. I tell myself I only need to write 100 words but always do more. My method is to write until it feels too hard, as though I’ve hit a roadblock. That tells me I’ve gone as far as I can for that day, so I’ll switch to another task. I’ll edit the next finished novel for a few hours and switch to admin tasks, marketing, accounts – the boring stuff which still needs doing.

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?
The Hana Du Rose Mysteries will always have a hold over me, and readers regularly plead for more of that series. But I think Pirongia’s Secret clicked most for me somehow. I loved writing a novel based in the 1990s rural New Zealand with this intensely complicated and insular small town dynamic.  

What were the key challenges you faced when drafting this book?
A Trail of Lies was one of my hardest books to write because I needed to endure a weekend in the New Zealand bush in order to appreciate what Callister went through as a runaway. I hiked into the bush with a Search and Rescue group and stayed there for two painful nights and hated every minute. I’m sure I was a liability. I couldn’t navigate and spent a lot of time running around screaming with something crawling through my clothes.

If you were a tour guide, what would you like a visitor to see?
My friend June has a waterfall at the end of her garden and glow worms. Then there’s the Kaniwhaniwha reserve at the bottom of Mount Pirongia which has a rope swing over a creek. To see the real New Zealand, you need to go off the beaten track and look for the special things that only locals know about. I think I’d do a secret tour, which included all those places.

Thanks to KT for answering our questions and sharing a bit of her writing life with us!

In my writing life, I’m thrilled to announce the final book in the Beach House Mysteries will be released on May 8th. You can pre-order now!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Mona Marple

It’s a new year, and I bet you’re ready for an adventure!

This next series of author interviews is going to be fun, and I’m sure you will learn something extra from each author. We’re traveling across the pond to meet these authors, so grab your passport. Well, virtually anyway. Just a bit of a reminder…some words may look misspelled, but that is probably because of US English vs “proper” English!

I feel blessed to call Mona not only a fellow writer, but also a friend. I have enjoyed reading her cozy and paranormal books and I bet you will too. Her books are available in Kindle Unlimited. Now for the interview…

Have you ever been to the United State and if so where?
I LOVE the USA! I’ve visited around 13 states and would love to return and visit more. I was lucky enough to visit New York for my 21st birthday, which was incredible. And I first developed my love for cacti following a trip to Arizona in 2015!

What is one expression that is common to your part of the world that might be unusual to us in the US and what does it mean?
In my town, a lot of people say ‘duck’ as a familiar greeting. For example, someone might say ‘alright, duck?’

Where would you take a US visitor to your country to first and why?
I’d have to take a US visitor to Sherwood Forest, home of Robin Hood, and in particular to see the Major Oak tree. I live just a few miles from Sherwood Forest and I walk my pampered Labradoodle, Miss Coco, in there most weeks.

Describe your writing space.
I’m lucky enough to have a writing room, but the window is quite small and high. I’m really obsessed with windows and I love being able to see out, but a traditional desk is too low for me to see out of the window. Imagine my delight when my sweet husband made me a desk that sits right under the windowsill! I had to order a special type of high chair, my desk is so high, and now I can sit and write and see out of the window! Typically, I work on a laptop with my notes next to me, some cacti arranged on the windowsill, and a candle burning. My feet get really cold so I’ll probably be wearing fluffy socks, drinking really strong coffee, and water too (I’m giving up fizzy pop right now). And Miss Coco will probably be curled up near me. That dog has no understanding of personal space boundaries 😉

Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or to write the subsequent novels?
I find the first book hardest because everything is new. I’m trying to get a feel for the world and the characters as I write, so the first few chapters can be quite slow until I get my head around it all.
Later books in a series have a different difficulty – trying to make sure I’m not repeating plots!

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I have a day job in a law firm and I really enjoy it. I think I’ll always do both.
Although, when I was a child, I really wanted to work in a pizza parlour. I remember going to a local pizza parlour as a child and watching them roll out the dough and add the toppings. It seemed like the coolest job in the world to me!

Now wasn’t that fun? I love learning not only about the author, but where they are from. Can you image living near Sherwood Forest? I’ll be thinking about Robin Hood all evening (lol). Don’t hesitate to contact the authors and let them know what you think. And if you do read one of their books, please don’t forget to review!

Victoria LK Williams

Buy Direct and Save and sign up for my news letter while you’re there

A Special Author

I hope you have enjoyed the Christmas series of author interview! I can’t wait to start the next series; we’ll be going far and wide for this group of author.

But before I start that, I wanted to introduce you to an author who is dear to my heart. He writes non-fiction, in the gardening genre. With two books under his belt, it is easy to see the two sides of this author; serious and funny.

Meet Donald R. Williams

That’s right, Don is my husband, and I’m so proud of him. The above picture is the serious side of the man, but when you read the following exert from his newest book, you’ll discover the funny man I love.

Chapter 19

Wait A Minute… Here’s Another Thought

How do you think the plants feel about all of this? Maybe they have feelings too. After all, the Sensitive Plant’s (yes, it’s a real plant!) leaves curl up when it is touched by somebody that can’t keep their hands to themselves.  Ask yourself; do plants have eyes and ears? They can’t see or hear when you’re coming to chop of their limbs. They tolerate a lot of abuse; moved around, dug up, thrown in your trunk, starved to death, left to go thirsty, leaves falling off as they bake in the hot sun and are generally ignored.

Plants must  be tough; they can’t run away. They can’t hide from your lack of care. They don’t like being talked about behind your back by your neighbors and they hate it when the neighbor’s dog squirts on them.

Do plants have a social life? Think about it. They hang out in groups and show off their blooms when treated right. But treat them wrong? They drop their leaves when ignored and go into shock when cut back too hard. They don’t have a brain, but they communicate in ways we do not understand. You want grief, they will bring it on.

Do you talk to your plants? Do you make them feel better with your empty promises of better care? Maybe you should. You might feel better, and they might bring you more pleasure, or give you so much grief. Plants are like the Venus Fly Trap; they will grab your finger in retribution and not let go.  So, don’t stick your fingers where they don’t belong, treat your plants right, and you will get all get along fine.

With over 45 years in the horticulture industry, Don has more than earned the right to poke a bit of fun at gardening. Yet, even as you read and laugh, you will also learn.

Our next series of author interviews will be from authors who live beyond the United States. England, New Zealand, Germany, and Spain will start us off. I’m so interested to hear from these wonderful authors and hope you will be too.

Happy New Year; here’s to a fantastic 2021!

Victoria LK Williams

Meet Christa Nardi

Well, the holiday season is here! It’s already December 2 and the days are just flying by. I think it would be safe to say that most are looking forward to the end of 2020 and the hopes only a new year can bring. But until then, we still have some great authors to meet!

Christa writes cozy mysteries that are all in Kindle Unlimited. You can find all her books there and also in Goodreads, where you should always leave a review for the books you read and enjoy!
You can connect with Christa on Facebook, Twitter, Bookbub, and Pinterest (you have to check out her boards!) And don’t forget to visit her website for even more great information.

How long have you been writing?
Probably since elementary grades? I wrote poetry in high school and college. Dabbled with fantasy right after college and oh, I wish I knew where that floppy disk is! I got started again probably around 2010. Mostly, as an escape from my full-time work.

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
Technically, that is the plan. I sort of retired from my full-time career in August 2020, but I am finishing up stuff and helping while they try to hire someone to replace me. So, yes, I would like it to be. That is the plan.

What is the significance of the title?
For Murder at the Theater, the significance is the setting for the murder and how Sheridan Hendley, the amateur sleuth gets involved. The “theater” is a community theater planning to showcase A Christmas Carol directed by a Scrooge type and starring a student at the college where Sheridan is a faculty member. He’s also the nephew of a good friend and the prime suspect, arrested almost immediately. A Cold Creek Cozy Mystery.

              For Holly and Holidays, Another Murder, the murder takes place at a holiday gala to benefit a local dog shelter. The killer tried to cover up the murder by adding enough of the poison in holly to make lots of people sick. The killer’s plan was that the holly would be blamed for the death as well. A Sheridan Hendley cozy mystery novella.

              For Holidays, Hijinks & Murder, the key is the “hijinks.” What is going on that gets an elf shot and then Santa killed at the mall? Stacie Maroni is the amateur sleuth here and feeling very “bah humbug.” Her friends efforts to get her in the holiday spirit for the best Christmas ever fall flat, but now she has a murder to keep her occupied. A Stacie Maroni mystery novella.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities who would star in it?
Male roles would go to the likes of George Clooney, Christian Bale, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo — so that would be Brett McMann (Cold Creek and Sheridan Hendley series), Marty (Cold Creek and Sheridan Hendley series), James Fabry (Sheridan Hendley series), and Detective O’Hare (Stacie Maroni series). I go back and forth on which one should play which character.

Female roles would go to Jennifer Garner or maybe Sandra Bullock (Sheridan), Amy Adams or Julianne Moore (Sheridan’s best friend, Kim), Daniela Ruah or Rachel Bilson (Stacie Maroni). Minka Kelly or Michelle Borth might be options for Sheridan or Stacie as well.

What book is currently on your bedside table?
Forever Saved: Forever Bluegrass #14 by Kathleen Brooks (romantic suspense for a change – that’s the latest and I’ve read the whole series and the one before it)

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Travel, walk, read, bake.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A puppy. Playful, full of spirit, energetic, and cuddly.

I just love these covers, don’t you? What are you reading? Christmas? I hope you are exploring the works of my featured authors, like Christa Nardi.

To help you get in the holiday mood, I’ve put my box set of Christmas cozies on sale through December the 25th. This set has four books, each from a different series, all with a Christmas theme. Regular $7.99–grab your copy while it’s on sale for $.99!!! Christmas Cozy Collection is available at all the major book outlets and you can even order it from your library.

Cozy Christmas Collection; Grab your copy for just .99