I’m delighted to welcome fellow New Jersey Romance Writers member Maria K. Alexander here today!
Hi, Babette, and thanks for having me guest blog with you today. I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about my contemporary romance, Untangle My Heart, as well as my favorite holiday, Christmas.
I walked into a retail store at the end of October and heard Christmas carols playing in the background. While at the time the sound of the catchy jingle made me want to run screaming from the store, I’m now ready to get into the spirit. Holiday traditions have been a large part of my Italian heritage. There were things you did and foods we made only certain times of the year. It gave us something to look forward to and appreciate along with the change of seasons. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite things about this time of year that I share in common with my heroine.
Christmas trees – One of the traditions in my family is to put up the Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. Seeing the white lights, colorful balls, and bows always puts a smile on my face. One of my favorite things to do is sit in a darkened room with nothing but the tree on for light.
Christmas cookies – I love baking any time of year, but there’s something special about baking at Christmas.
Gingerbread houses – We buy a kit at the craft store and assemble it together as a family. This is a new tradition I started with my children that usually only results in mild debate over which design to create.
Holiday TV shows – I can’t get enough of Christmas specials on TV, both new and old.
Christmas music – a few weeks ago, my daughter found the holiday music station on the car radio. Then there’s the songs she’s singing to prepare for the children’s choir both my kids will perform in during Christmas Eve mass.
You’ll find all this plus a few other Christmas traditions in my story, Untangle My Heart. It’s a second chance at love story that reunites two opposites attract characters. Edward Weston is from a wealthy British family, where he and his brother wore ties to dinner and were taught to suppress their feelings. Kate DiFrancesco is from a hand-gesturing, loud-talking Italian family from Northeast Philadelphia, where love and good food were in abundance. They each have their own share of emotional baggage they’ll need to put aside when danger comes knocking and work together to protect those closest to them from harm. Their journey was fun to write and very close to my heart.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition this time of year? Are there any new traditions you started on your own?
To celebrate Untangle My Heart’s Kindle and print release, I’m running a special contest through December 25th. Please to go my website at http://mariakalexander.com to enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card. The winner will be announced on the contest page of my website at on December 26th.
I hope you’ll enjoy the following blurb and excerpt from Untangle My Heart.
When her marriage ended in tragedy, Kate DiFrancesco rebuilt her life, but has never gotten over the pain of what she lost. Seeking the help of an ex-lover ignites feelings she’s promised never to have again. She’ll need to untangle herself from dangers in her past in order to break the hard shell around her heart.
Edward Weston has a lot to prove, both to his stuffy upper-crust British family, and to himself. Working alongside Kate, a woman he had a casual relationship with, stirs unexpected feelings. Helping her family makes him realize what he’s missing. For the first time, he wants more than a one-night stand.
When Kate is threatened, Edward must overcome feeling unworthy to protect the woman he loves and fight for the family he never thought he’d have.
“Good morning,” he said. “Ready to go?”
“I’m all set.” She swung her laptop bag over one shoulder and grabbed the handle of her suitcase with her opposite hand.
“I’ll take that,” Edward said, reaching for the suitcase.
“I have it,” she snapped and held firmly onto the handle. His old-fashioned ways sometimes annoyed her and today was one of those days. Why was he always trying to be nice to her? It would be easier to maintain her distance if he wasn’t so damned considerate. Damned British manners. “I don’t need your help.”
He raised an eyebrow at her outburst but let go of his hold on the suitcase. “Fine. I see someone didn’t get her coffee this morning.”
“Wrong. I had two cups.” And a restless night of sleep with alternating dreams of Edward and Lucas. Frustrated from tossing and turning all night, she’d gotten up at four and started baking.
“I made biscotti if you’d like some.” She handed him a white bakery bag, hoping her offering of food would compensate for her irritable mood.
He opened the bag and pulled one out. “Are they safe to eat or did you use arsenic instead of sugar?”
Rather than dignify him with an answer, she leaned forward and took a bite. It was still warm and the chocolate chips melted in her mouth. Edward’s gaze studied her mouth as she chewed and for a minute Kate thought he may take a nibble out of her.
“Perfectly safe. I swear,” she said after swallowing.
He popped the other half in his mouth. “Not bad.”
“Not bad, my ass,” Kate said.
“That’s pretty fine, too.”
You can buy Untangle My Heart at:
For Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00GVKRLOG
In Print from Amazon: http://amzn.com/1628302011
In Print from The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/InzITZ
Bio: A romantic at heart, Maria K. Alexander spent hours as a young girl getting lost in and wishing to be one of the heroines in the stories she read. Books gave her the ability to go to another world where she loved meeting new characters, learning about their problems, and watching them fall in love.
Maria blogs and shares her writing journey with her critique partners at: http://thevioletfemmes.com.
When not writing, Maria loves to read, bake, downhill ski, visit the beach, and watch romantic comedies. Maria lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, and writes in her “spare” time between juggling a full-time job and her kids’ busy schedules.
You can keep in touch with Maria at:
The Violet Femmes Blog: http://thevioletfemmes.com
10 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite Things – Guest Post by Maria K. Alexander, Author of Untangle My Heart”
I love how you enjoy Christmas so much!!! And, I’ve had Maria’s cookies. Delicious, and so very Italian in tradition. Cheers, Michele
I’m gearing up to make biscotti and my personal favorite, pizzelles. I’ll save you some!
Watching the lights after I’ve finished decorating the Christmas tree gives me a great deal of satisfaction and renews my childhood memories. So does watching my collection of classic holiday movies. We had Italian neighbors so I got the cookies second hand – but still yummy! Thanks for the fun post!
Hi Ashantay. I usually make up tins of cookies for teachers and a couple neighbors. They’re always a welcomed treat. Thanks for stopping by.
I love the mention of the old mixed with the new traditions. The holiday season comes alive in UNTANGLE MY HEART….lots of food and family…oh…and enough heat between Edward and Kate to melt all the NE Philadelphia snow! 🙂
Food is a big part of the holiday. It’s both a blessing and a curse! Glad you like the chemistry between Kate and Edward.
LOL Love the last line of that excerpt, Maria.
Kate is petite but like a lot of women, touchy about her curves. Which Edward absolutely loves. Thanks for stopping by.
Hi Babette, Hi Maria! Like you, it takes me some time to get into the spirit, but once I do, I enjoy the music, the sweet treats, the parties, the rolls and cookies we always make. I love holiday lights throughout the house because it makes it feel both homey and special. We always decorate sugar cookies, and put up both a train and a christmas village. The kids of course also look forward to both the advent calendar and our visiting Elf!
Best wishes for UMH!
Hi Jenna. I do have a small Christmas village that I try and put up. My son loves baking sugar cookies and eating the dough, much like Lucas in Untangle. I hope your Elf enjoys his visit.