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Christmas Lights In The Darkness…

I haven’t blogged for a while as my mother is dangerously ill, so everyday life has taken a back seat. Between the Winter Solstice on 21st December and the start of the New Year, the days here are short and dark. It’s no wonder candles and coloured lights are so important during the holiday season. 

However you celebrate at this time of year, within whatever faith or maybe none at all, I hope you have a lovely time. Remember what the Dalai Lama says; My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. Keep your friends and family close in your hearts, and give them an extra hug whenever you can. 

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Is There Anybody There?

Before you read any further, if you’re a human and you’ve opened this blog, please go straight to the comments and type “!”. Then come back here, and read on…

I love reading other people’s blogs, and blogging myself. This site gets plenty of traffic, but not many comments. It makes me wonder whether it’s worth spending time on writing, posting and checking blog entries here, when I could be working on my next book, or out in the garden enjoying this lovely spring sunshine.

It’s not as though I’m vanishing from the blogosphere entirely. As well as my own blog on this site, I blog on 14th of each month for Authorsoundrelations.  I also contribute to Janice Rosser’s site OAPSchat, as well as taking part in blog tours, and guest spots with other authors. You can always find me at my website, christinahollis.com, too.

At the moment I’m behind with my writing schedule for 2016, so I’m going to be blogging here less frequently for a while. To paraphrase the politicians favourite phrase, I’ll be spending more time with my Work In Progress 🙂

Of course, if you want to get in touch with me, come rain, shine, or looming deadline, just add a comment below!

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Stuck For A Great Read? Try Please Release Me, By Rhoda Baxter…

On Sale Today! 

Today is the launch of Rhoda Baxter’s new book, Please Release Me.  I was ready to blog on the theme of being stuck as it’s related to her book, but I didn’t realise how apt my choice would be. I couldn’t post my blog until just now. In fact, I couldn’t do anything online at all. We’ve had no internet connection all day, so I was well and truly stuck, until Plusnet got their act together and I got back online!

So here, a bit later in the day than usual, is the news about Rhoda’s book, Please Release Me

What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you? 
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up. 

That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question. 

In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate. 

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after … 

To find out more, go to http://amzn.to/1MdM4wA.

And now here’s my free ramble on the topic of being stuck…

Losing contact with the outside world is a regular thing when you live where we do. We’re stuck in the middle of a Gloucestershire wood, and more than half a mile from the main road. March winds, summer storms or heavy winter snowfalls can, and often do, disrupt the power.  When we first moved here, going to bed by candlelight was fun—and who wants to get up early, when you’re newly married? When the children were tiny it was even better. We could all be children together, playing snowballs, building snowmen and tobogganing the length of the steep lane which usually connected us with civilisation.

It was when the children started school we discovered the downside to being stuck out in the middle of the countryside, especially in winter. During the Christmas holidays of 2011, a blizzard lasting thirty-six hours presented us with three feet of snow. For the first few days, we were without electricity, broadband, and the landline. It was freezing! We only went outside to feed the hens, top up the bird tables and thaw out their drinking water.

Carving out paths to the bee hives and poultry was fun, but getting back to school after the break wasn’t. The bus stop for the school coach is exactly two miles from our house. It’s a lovely walk, when you’re empty handed and without a deadline. When you’re weighed down with school books, gym kit, and sports equipment with the bus arriving at exactly 7:55 on the dot each morning, it was torture. We left home in the pitch dark, to trudge for three-quarters of an hour along barely cleared, and rarely gritted, lanes. Then whichever parent was driving the walking bus had to trudge all the way home again. The one left back at base spent the time making hot chocolate and bacon sandwiches ready for the frozen traveller’s  return, which is why neither OH nor I lost any weight during the week we were making all those journeys (worse luck).

Being stuck miles out in the English countryside, especially when you’ve got no power or telephone coverage could never be called a good thing, but there are advantages. It’s so quiet, you don’t get distracted by news and the internet, so you can get lots of writing done. And the scenery is amazing!

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Guest Post: Lindsay Debout Talks About Writing Warming Stories…

Warming Stories
Today I’m welcoming an old friend of mine, Lindsay Debout. Lindsay has just self-published a book for the first time. That’s an exciting and nerve-racking time in anyone’s life, and Lindsay’s here to tell us a bit about it.
I’m pleased you invited me to drop by, Christina. Thank you! I juggle a full time job in computing with home and family life, so writing is very much an occasional pastime for me. At the beginning of the year I had an idea for a short story, and Christina persuaded me to write it down. More stories followed, until I had enough for one volume and the beginnings of a second. It’s that first volume, Warming Stories, which I’ve just self-published on SmashWords. 
Tell us about Warming Stories…
Warming Stories is a collection of erotic short stories for an adult audience. Each one is centred around a different female character and her reaction to the situation in which I’ve put her. Although I classify my stories as ‘erotic’, sex isn’t the main focus of most of them; as in real life, sex is an important part of the journey but not the only part.
I’ve done some sexy scenes in my books, but not to that extent. Is the sex very explicit in Warming Stories?
Depends on what you mean by ‘explicit’.  I wouldn’t call it hard-core, but there’s no doubt what’s happening.
So, on the scale from vanilla to kinky, where do your stories fit?
I’m not sure these days anyone would call any of it ‘kinky’. My stories are more about the relationship between the individuals rather than what they’re doing to each other. If my readers want anything at all extreme, they should look elsewhere. None of my stories feature drugs, children, animals, cruelty, or anything like that. 
How can we find out more?
Warming Stories is free to download here It’s in the Smashwords Premium catalogue, so it is available through several outlets including Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and it’s in some libraries as well. I might charge a small amount for the second volume, but we’ll see how popular Volume 1 is first.
Why did you want to write in the first place?
I loved writing the first one so much, I got wrapped up in the whole idea of telling more stories. I hope people will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
I’m sure they will, Lindsay! Your first volume of Warming Stories is already available free here,  so how about giving us a taster of your current work in progress?
I’d love to. These are the opening paragraphs from my next short story, ‘Skater Man‘:
Pippa gazed up at the misty San Francisco sky. What just happened?
Mentally she reran the last few seconds. I was walking towards Fisherman’s Wharf. There was a clang behind me, then a shout, then something hit me in the back and spun me around.
She was lying on a very lumpy mound. Strange. It’s all pavement and benches around here. An arm lifted and waved in the air. I’m not wearing anything yellow. And I don’t have tanned hands.
Her brain finally connected the dots and she hurriedly rolled sideways. The figure she’d been lying on grunted and sucked in a lungful of air. “That didn’t go well,” he gasped.
No doubt about it, he was a local. Rollerblades, knee and elbow pads, helmet, disgustingly healthy teeth and the fashionable amount of sun tan. He was probably tall, probably fit and probably healthy, but right now he was sprawled full-length on his back. The impact and then Pippa’s weight on his chest had knocked the wind out of him.
Pippa scowled down at him. “What the Hell do you think you’re doing?”
“Trying to breathe,” he wheezed. “Give me a minute.”
Slowly he eased himself up onto his knees. Pippa parked her indignation for the time being and helped him clamber to his feet. Between them they got him to a bench and he took off his helmet.
“Sorry about that. I was trying a reverse slalom around the bollards and I got the timing wrong. Are you okay?”
He was definitely tall – she’d found that out when guiding him to the bench. The T shirt stretched over the unmistakeable shape of a muscular torso.  His hair was curly. At a guess he was early thirties. Not quite Greek God material, but definitely in a pantheon somewhere.
Pippa’s analysis was interrupted by his raised eyebrow. “Oh! Sorry. I think I’m all right.” She gave herself a quick once-over. “It feels like my hand smacked the ground and my dress must have got caught somewhere.” She sighed as she inspected the rip. “Looks like I’ll be making more dusters.”
“We can sort that out. Can I buy you a coffee? It’s the least I can do.” Without waiting for her answer he stood up and offered his hand.
Pippa hesitated for a moment. He’s a complete stranger, and a hooligan on skates. Why on Earth should I trust him? And yet… I don’t get the feeling he’s making a pass. I think this is just his way. She took his hand and he pulled her to her feet.
“There’s a restaurant right across the street. I can recommend it. I often eat there.” He led her across the boulevard. Pippa followed – not that she had much choice. He hadn’t let go of her hand, and she hadn’t tried to pull free. For some reason it felt fine.
Anyway, it’ll be more interesting than what I had planned for the day. So long as I’m sensible, what can possibly go wrong? Don’t answer that.

Thanks for visiting my blog, Lindsay. Best of luck with Warming Stories!