Sunday, November 29, 2015

Great Christmas Tree Tour: Pam Crooks

This is the third time I’ve participated in Cheryl’s Christmas Tree tour.  The first one was for my new slim tree that we bought for our just-built sunroom in 2008.  The second time was in 2012 when I showed off my very old, but very beautiful flocked tree.  I explained how my husband complained about that tree because it was so darned big and took up valuable storage space.  Finally, last year, I caved from all that complaining and sold it (which, by the way, the new owner loved it as much as I did and even sent me pictures of it in her living room.)

So this year, I’m showing you our newest tree.  This has all the modern convenience of being pre-lit and, of course, gracefully slender.  Best of all, it revolves, which is just so cool. 
For forty Christmases, I’ve either had a star or angel on top.  But with a new tree, I was ready for a new look, and after much angst, I settled for something completely different.


Best of all, my husband (who is very happy with this tree, I must add) fashioned the perfect box for storage of that whimsical tree top, saving me from untold frustration from trying to reproduce the same look as last year.

Thank you, Cheryl, for letting me come back yet again!

I’m happy to announce my newest release, The Brewer’s Daughter, which is Book 2 of my Secret Six Series.  You can pre-order it now from Amazon.  Release date is 12/15/15.

To learn more about me and my books, visit my website:

I have a brand new food blog, too.  It’s called the Swanky Kitchen, and I’m having fun ‘making the past taste good again’ with recipes we knew and loved.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Great Christmas Tree Tour: Cousin Diana

My cousin, Diana joins the tour nearly every year. Her trees are always beautifully decorated. She made all the ornaments on her living room tree, and even gave family ornaments she made. I treasure mine. Thanks for showing us Christmas 2015, Diana!


The living room tree is decorated with about 200 handmade beaded ornaments.  The tree in the foyer has ornaments that were given to us over the years by Mom and Dad and other family members.  It also features my 12 Days of Christmas ornament collection.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Great Christmas Tree Tour: Purple Tree at the General Crook House

Purple lovers unite! Alexis, *lizzie starr, Donna Kaye, Brenda Mazur, Tina Ayers will love this tree. I was thinking of them when I took these pics. This tree is in one of the main front rooms in the General Crook house, a room which was once used for entertaining.

As a matter of fact the historical home is often still used for entertaining. It can be rented for a day or evening. My writers group once rented it for a party, and it was a lovely occasion.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The Rockefeller Center tree is located at Rockefeller Center, west of Fifth Avenue from 47th through 51st Streets in New York City. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree dates back to the Depression Era days. The tallest tree displayed at Rockefeller Center came in 1948 and was a Norway Spruce that measured in at 100 feet tall and hailed from Killingworth, Connecticut.

The first tree at Rockefeller Center was placed in 1931. It was a small unadorned tree placed by construction workers at the center of the construction site. Two years later, another tree was placed there, this time with lights. These days, the giant Rockefeller Center tree is laden with over 25,000 Christmas lights.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. The 2015 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, December 2, with live performances from 7–9pm. Tens of thousands will crowd the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions will watch it live across the globe. The Tree will remain lit and can be viewed until 8pm on January 6, 2016.

Great Christmas Tree Tour Memory Edition: Barb Hunt 2011

As Christmas approaches many of us are missing loved ones. I wanted to share this tree from the 2011 Great Christmas Tree Tour. One of my dearest friends, Barb Hunt participated with a couple of trees that year, but this one exemplifies who she was as a person.

The things that meant the most to her were family ornaments and those her nephews had made her. We hold our memories close and remember our friend/daughter/sister/aunt/niece with love. I lift prayers of encouragement and comfort to all who mark the passing of this first Christmas without her.

This is the tree in the den.  It may be smaller than the tree in the living 
room, but its every bit has important to me.  The majority of the ornaments 
haven't made the 'cut' to go on the big tree for several years.  But how can you 
throw away a Christmas ornament.  Each holds a special memory.  This little tre has in years past been decorated with just Coca Cola Ornaments, Santa ornaments and one year all the ornaments were ones I had received as gifts. This year its kind of a catch-all theme.  Marvin the Martin, Garfield, a couple of Santas, a couple of CocaCola ornaments and three of my most cherished ornaments.  (Up 
close in the middle of tree) 

In the front there is a snowman with Daniel, my nephew who is now 26, and a rocking horse with Andrew, my other nephew who is now 22. 

Twelve or thirteen years ago they thought aunt Barb would like an ornament with their names on them. On the left you can just see a pine cone decked out in globs of glue and red glitter. Andrew made that at church when he was sevenor eight. 

I realized this year's incarnation is what makes me laugh, lets me dream, and those I love that are my world.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


After years of being asked for recipes, Cheryl St.John spent a summer writing down ingredients and baking times, baking and asking for beta testers in order to put together this collection of mouthwatering recipes for Bundt cakes. 

Many of the recipes are labeled NO SKILL REQUIRED, indicating exceptional ease of preparation. If you don’t consider yourself a baker or if you’re an accomplished baker and simply want a quick recipe, you will find these cakes using box mixes are convenient and delicious. You don’t have to tell anyone you started with a mix—the cakes are so good that no one will guess preparation didn’t take hours. Bake with ease and enjoy serving a beautiful cake to family and friends. 

Cheryl's philosophy: Eat cake! It's someone's birthday somewhere

Monday, October 19, 2015

ANNOUNCING: Cheryl St.John's Great Christmas Tree Tour 2015

Yes, you read it right. I've had people asking when the tour will be revived, so 2015 is the year. Whoo hoo!

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I'll share your photos of your Christmas trees, your special tree ornaments or any decorations you'd like to share, along with a little bit about you or your Christmas traditions.

Send me an email to sign up for a date. Select two or three dates and I'll start scheduling. As the dates fill I'll post availability or work with you to find a date. If the schedule fills up, I'll do two a day. Everyone who wants to share is welcome.

Readers - I LOVE READERS! I've had lots and lots of readers share their trees.
Friends - You know I love you. Send pictures.
Authors - Include info and a link to your newest books and we'll promote books.
Editors - Readers and authors enjoy seeing your decor at home and at the office.
Acquaintances - We might not be friends yet, but we will be. I just love Christmas trees.

Please follow my blog now. You can follow or you can sign up for emails. I'll give tips on tree decorating, how to take the best photos, etc.. The blog will share to Facebook, so a lot of people will see your Christmas trees.

During November I'll be sharing a month of being grateful, so jump in.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Liz Flaherty's Drawing Winner Announced!

Jana Richards is the winner of Liz Flaherty's drawing! Congrats!

Please contact me at

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Christmas Collection and a Giveaway! from Liz Flaherty

I love Christmas. A lot. A friend of mine collects Christmas snowmen and I teased her the other day about possibly attending meetings because of the depth of her addiction. But I understand. Because I’d be there to greet her when she got to the first meeting. Not that I collect snowmen. Exactly. But I do love me some ornaments. And trees. Cheryl, when are you going to start posting pictures of people’s Christmas trees again. (Said in a pathetic whine—could you hear it in my voice?)
[from Cheryl: Okay, you've twisted my arm. This year!]

So I was excited—to the point of jumping up and down excited, when the writers of last year’s Christmas, Actually invited me to contribute to A Heartwarming Christmas, a boxed set including four anthologies. Twelve Christmas stories in all. We are all Harlequin Heartwarming authors, so the stories are, you guessed it, Heartwarming. We had the best time writing them.

What? Oh, you want to know what that has to do with ornaments? Well, the anthology I share with Rula Sinara and Patricia Bradley (how did I get so lucky—they’re great!) is called The Gingerbread Men. We had a lot of hunger-inducing conversation reaching that title, believe me, and even more when we named our own stories. Writing my story, The Gingerbread Heart, also got me out there looking for gingerbread ornaments. Just as I feared, it’s a new addiction.

Since I like sharing and because I am so excited (I know, you get it already) I’m giving away a gingerbread ornament and a copy of a backlist book to one of Cheryl’s commenters who tells us about a favorite ornament. Thanks for coming by. Below are all the particulars on A Heartwarming Christmas. I hope that’s the kind of holidays you have!


This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release Christmas, Actually. A Heartwarming Christmas will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters (no cliffhangers), for more than 1200 pages. Foreword by small town lover and New York Times bestseller Kristan Higgins.
Google Play:
B&N: B&N: 

Liz Flaherty things one of the things that keeps you young when you quite obviously aren’t anymore is the constant chances you have to reinvent yourself. Her latest professional incarnation is as a Harlequin Heartwarming author and she is enjoying every minute! She’d love to hear from you at or please come and see her at:


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cover Design of The Engagement Bargain, Sherri Shackelford

Sometimes a cover just comes together into a beautiful representation of the author's book. When this happens the author rejoices. It's not all a matter of chance though, as many can testify. Sometimes it's sending just the right information and finding the perfect pictures to accompany those art fact sheets.

Harlequin authors fill out forms online and send supporting photographs to their editors. The editors take these to the design and marketing team, where together they select color, scene and title by comparing them to all the other covers for that month, as well as the past and the upcoming month.

I asked Sherri Shackelford to share the image she included with her art fact sheets for The Engagement Bargain, and she graciously supplied this for our education and enjoyment.

Pinterest has made it more fun as well as easier to collect images. Authors can create inspiration boards for their books. CLICK HERE to see Sherri's board for this book.

Make-believe betrothal  

Rock-solid and reliable, confirmed bachelor Caleb McCoy thought nothing could rattle him—until he discovers he needs to pose as Anna Bishop's intended groom. After saving her life, his honorable code bid Caleb watch over the innocent beauty. And a pretend engagement is the only way to protect her from further harm. 

Raised by a single mother and suffragist, Anna doesn't think much of marriage—and she certainly doesn't plan to try it herself. But playing Caleb's blushing bride-to-be makes her rethink her independent ways, because their make-believe romance is becoming far too real… 

Prairie Courtships: Romance on the range 

Order Sherri's book here: