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Posts Tagged ‘#HardmanHolidays’

The Christmas Melody long

I thought you might like to meet the characters from The Christmas Melody today!

For this story, I had the cover planned before I wrote a single word for the book. When I found the image I used on the cover, which was actually a wedding photo of a bride in a white gown, I knew it was perfect, even if she needed a different dress. (I loved the way the cover turned out, though!)

But I knew our hero was going to have longer hair. So I started looking for some inspiration and quickly decided on this guy:

Barnes 5

Ben Barnes seemed like a perfect Grayson Carter.

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He’s handsome, has that air of mystery, and the hair… he had the perfect hair for the story!

For Claire Baker, we knew from the The Christmas Confection that she had dark hair and blue eyes, but not much else.

Violett

Violett Beane made such a perfect Claire. She’s absolutely lovely.

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She also has a sweet appeal, just like Claire.

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And she has a goofy, playful side –  just like Claire!

I also needed a little inspiration for Gray’s daughter, Maddie Mae.

JoJo Kushner

JoJo Kushner was definitely how I envisioned the precocious little girl.

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Just look at that smile. That hair! Oh, I think I want my own Maddie Mae!

The song I listened to while I wrote the book was Beautiful Crazy by Luke Combs. It just seemed appropriate for the book since Claire is her own kind of beautiful crazy and Gray loves her for it!

You can find more visuals that inspired the story on my Pinterest Board

If you haven’t read the book yet, download it today!

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The Christmas Melody,  Hardman Holidays Book 7, releases today! 

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He needs a holiday miracle. . .

She’s prepared to deliver one

Claire Baker does nothing halfway. She makes it a point to follow her heart, even when it leads her to a small Eastern Oregon town to stay with relatives. In truth, she loves Hardman and the people there. Which is why she wants a recluse she met in the woods and his adorable daughter to join in the community holiday celebrations. The more time they spend together, the more she realizes she’s fallen hopelessly in love with both of them.

All Grayson Carter wants is to be left alone. That’s why he built his cabin in the middle of more than a thousand acres of woods, seeking to disappear from the world and keep his daughter, Maddie, safe.  Then a beautiful interloper appears and becomes quite determined in her efforts of drawing him back into the land of the living. As she brings him and Maddie Christmas cheer, he realizes falling in love with her could be the best and worst thing he’s ever done.

With Christmas fast approaching, a mystery to be solved, and old-fashioned holiday fun, this sweet historical romance will fill your heart with the joys of the season.

Available on Amazon!

The Christmas Melody 1

Excerpt:

But today, she had no such worries. She’d left the corset in her bedroom and enjoyed the freedom of movement she had in the britches she’d had the dressmaker sew for her despite Bett and Ari’s protests.

She leaped onto the stump where Maddie had performed and danced an impromptu jig before she pulled an arrow from her quiver, notched it in the bow, and let it fly into a tree. It hit the exact spot she’d been aiming.

Without hesitating, she grabbed another arrow and sent it zooming into the first, splitting it down the shaft.

“What are you doing, woman?” a voice bellowed behind her.

Claire spun around so fast she would have toppled off the stump if Carter hadn’t been there to catch her.

With her face mere inches from his, she could see golden flecks that seemed to spark like embers from a fire in his nearly obsidian colored eyes. He smelled of winter fires and freshly hewn wood, and all man. Involuntarily, the hand not holding her bow settled on the curve of his shoulder, finding the muscles solid and hard beneath her palm.

“Careful,” he said in a gruff tone, but he gently set her on her feet before he took a step back. “I thought I told you to stay away from here.”

“You did, but I don’t do well following orders when I find them ludicrous.”

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Christmas Confection 1

Today, I want to introduce you to the characters in The Christmas Confection.

When I wrote The Christmas Calamity (Book 3 in the Hardman Holidays series), we had the opportunity to meet Fred Decker. At that time, he was an angry, troubled, rather belligerent teen with a mother no one in town liked. During that story, I’m sure no one could have viewed Fred as potential hero material.

But then Fred made a life-altering decision to change.

Evidence of that change is seen in The Christmas Quandary (book 5). He’s become friends with Tom Grove once again and is working hard to provide he’s different from the rebellious, furious teen he’d once been.

I’ll admit, I had only a vague idea of what Fred looked like when I started mulling around ideas for this story.

Then I ended up redesigning all the covers in the series and decided to go ahead and make the cover for The Christmas Confection while I was at it.

Suddenly, I had a much clearer idea of Fred’s character.

Brady Corbet

Brady Corbet just happened to do a splendid job of fulfilling my ideas for Fred.

(Those eyes! Oh, my gracious, those blue eyes!)

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I can understand why the girls in Hardman might cast Fred a second or third glance.

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I could so easily picture this as Fred. The rather subdued, brooding look. Fred is, after all, convinced he’s not worthy —of love, respect, or just about anything good — because of his parents.

The flawed way he views himself is why Fred needs a girl who sees his actually flaws and loves him anyway.

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Beautiful Isabel Durant is exactly how I envision Elsa Lindstrom, Hardman’s lovely baker.

Isabel Durant

Her midnight blue eyes and golden hair are two things Fred immediately notices about Elsa, along with her smile.

I didn’t have any particular visual for Elsa’s brother, or the outlaws, but I did find a visual I loved for Fred’s three aunts that make me think of the three fairies in Sleeping Beauty.

Fred's aunts

Isn’t this such a fun photo! I have no idea what these three lovely young women are doing, but they appear to be having a great time at it. I could so easy see them in the story as Ari, Bett, and Claire.
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Oh, and I can’t forget their sleigh! Isn’t it awesome! How I’d love to go for a ride! 🙂

The Christmas Confection, Hardman Holidays Book 6, available now on Amazon.

And here is the song I listed to while I wrote the story. Love Working on You from John Michael Montgomery seemed particularly fitting for Fred.

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Confection long

The Christmas Confection

Hardman Holidays Book 6

2017 Christmas Confection

Will a sweet baker soften a hardened man’s heart?

 Born to an outlaw father and a shrewish mother, Fred Decker feels obligated to atone for the past without much hope for his future. If he possessed a lick of sense, he’d pack up and leave the town where he was born and raised, but something… someone… unknowingly holds him there. Captivated by Hardman’s beautiful baker, Fred fights the undeniable attraction. He buries himself in his work, refusing to let his heart dream.

Elsa Lindstrom adores the life she’s carved out for herself in a small Eastern Oregon town. She and her twin brother, Ethan, run their own bakery where she delights in creating delicious treats. Then Ethan comes home unexpectedly married, the drunks in town mistakenly identify her as a missing harlot, and a mishap in the bakery leaves her at the mercy of the most gossiped-about man in Hardman.

Mix in the arrival of three fairy-like aunts, blend with a criminal bent on dastardly schemes, and sprinkle in a hidden cache of gold for a sweet Victorian romance brimming with laughter and heartwarming holiday cheer.

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Christmas Confection 1

Meet Fred and Elsa

Excerpt:

“Well…” Fred gave her an odd look as he stood in the doorway with autumn sunshine spilling all around him.  “There are two other things I’d like.”

“Two?” Elsa asked, wiping her hands on her apron and facing him. “What might those two things be?” She anticipated him asking for a batch of rolls or perhaps a chocolate cake.

“My first request is simple. Please call me Fred. I’d like to think, after all this, we’re friends and all my friends call me Fred.”

Elsa nodded in agreement. “We are friends, Mr. Deck… er, I mean Fred. If you want me to call you Fred then you best refer to me as Elsa.”

The pleased grin on his face broadened. “Very well, Elsa.”

Her knees wobbled at the sound of his deep voice saying her name, but she resisted the urge to grip the counter for support. “You said there were two things you wanted, in addition to cookies. What is the second?”

“It’s a tiny little thing really,” Fred said, tightly gripping his hat in both hands.

“A tiny little thing? Then I shall take great honor in bestowing whatever it is.” Her gaze roved over the kitchen, trying to imagine what in the world Fred could want. She kept a jar full of assorted candy. Sometimes, she used the sweets to decorate cakes and cookies. Perhaps he wanted one. “A piece of candy?” she asked.

Fred shook his head. “No, Elsa. It’s sweeter than candy and far, far better.”

Intrigued, she took a step closer to him. “What is it?”

He waggled his index finger back and forth, indicating she should step closer. When she stood so her skirts brushed against the toes of his boots, he tapped his cheek with the same finger. “A little sugar right here would be even better than ten batches of cookies.”

~ Giveaway ~

red bowed packages on white background

Make sure you enter this drawing for a chance to win a box of Christmas goodies!

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Just for fun, I thought you might like to meet the characters from The Christmas Quandary (or at least their visual inspiration!).

Although Tom Grove made his first appearance in The Christmas Calamity, we didn’t know much about his appearance, other than he was one of the “big boys” at school.

So that left me plenty of room to develop his character when I decided to make him the hero in this book.

Tom has a gentle soul, one that almost seems to shine out of blue eyes. But living in the city has been hard on him.

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I knew when I found this photo of Callard Harris I’d found my Tom Grove.

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From the tousled, short hair to those blue eyes, this is how I envision Tom.

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Intent expressions and all.

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Shenae Grimes made such a lovely Lila Granger. Although her eyes are brown instead of gray, like Lila’s, she just has that lively spark about her.

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Like she’s ready for fun…

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And mischief!

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I thought Jude Law made an awesome James Grove. Can’t you see him as Tom’s father?

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And Laura Linney made the perfect Junie Grove. If you’ve already read the story, did you enjoy Junie’s character? I sure had fun writing her into the story.

joe_dempsie-as-emerson

Joe Dempsie was my choice for Emerson – Lila’s fiance.

If you want to see the rest of the Hardman Holidays characters, check out their pages in my book characters section.

Oh, for those who have read the book, you might be able to appreciate why I chose this as “the song” I listened to while I wrote the story.

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