Hot Cocoa and Christmas Joy

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Today is November 3rd. Tonight’s movie is a book-to-TV. It reminds me of the cute gift idea with a spin on a classic, Hot Cocoa.,… don’t ask me why. There’s something about taking a classic idea (hot cocoa) and adding some simple ideas to make a decadent treat.

Here are a few cool recipes to follow. While you put these gifts together, you can watch tonight’s movie.

Hot cocoa with candy canes

White hot chocolate

Hot chocolate w/M&Ms 

Peanut Butter hot chocolate

On deck for the Christmas movie tonight is Christmas Joy, starring in the movie is Danielle Panabaker… aka Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost if you’re a Flash fan. Of course I’ll watch this movie. As an author… at least for me, it has/is always a dream to have a book of mine turned into a TV Movie. I have Lace, Sidney Sheldon’s series, If Tomorrow Comes , and a ton of Sandra Brown and Danielle Steel to thank.

Christmas Joy…..the book is written by Nancy Naigle.

(From Amazon)

A heartwarming Christmas story about family, friendship and finding love in unexpected places.

Joy Holbrook might be all work and no play, but that changes when her Aunt Ruby takes a fall that lands her in a rehabilitation center before the holidays. Joy takes a leave of absence from her job as a market researcher to run the family farm, even though the timing may hinder her chance at garnering the promotion of her dreams.

Ben Andrews isn’t your average accountant. He also happens to be the handiest man in Crystal Falls. He’s helped his elderly neighbor, Ruby Johnson, decorate for the annual Christmas Home Tour—and win—the last several years. He’s not about to let some drop-in niece break their winning streak.

Ruby seems overly concerned about Joy being able to handle Molly. Under the impression she’s referring Molly the bunny that is one of the menagerie of animals, Joy’s not worried at all until the next morning when a little girl named Molly shows up. For the sake of her aunt, Joy is forced to partner with Ben while Ruby is on the mend to help with preparation for the Christmas tour and, in the process finds her career-focused heart dreaming of a family.

Will the magic of Christmas help her to open her heart and find her everlasting joy?

 

From the IMDB Summary

She’s a corporate market researcher, gunning for a promotion within her firm. Just as her company’s CEO is taking notice, Joy finds out her Aunt Ruby has broken her ankle and will be undergoing surgery. Despite the less than opportune timing, Joy makes her way back home to Crystal Falls, NC to be with her Aunt. Stars seem to be aligned as Joy sees her former crush, Ben Andrews, while at the hospital. At first, Joy is focused solely on helping her Aunt heal; even taking over her position as chair of the local Cookie Crawl competition. Eventually, she begins to let Ben in and remembers there’s no place like home for the holidays. The pair work together on the Cookie Crawl to make the event a success.

 

Let’s see how #Hallmark makes this classic book into a visually cheerful TV movie.

Happy Gift Making & Merry Watching

XOXO

Your #ChristmasGeek, Carolyn

PS…. There are 51 days left until Christmas!

 

 

Christmas Shenanigans

Christmas Bingo (1)

Tonight is the 2018 Christmas Movie Kickoff!

8:00 pm            Christmas at Pemberley Manor               Hallmark Channel 

Summary….

As Christmas approaches, Elizabeth Bennett (Lowndes), a New York event planner, is sent to a quaint, small town to organize their holiday festival. When she arrives, she finds William Darcy (Rady), a high-profile billionaire lacking in holiday spirit, in the process of selling the charming estate she hoped to use as a venue. Determined to make her event a success, Elizabeth persuades the reluctant Darcy to let her hold the festival on the historical estate once known for its holiday cheer. When they wind up working together to arrange the festivities, the unlikely pair begins falling for each other. But when complications arise and the festival is unexpectedly shut down, the couple parts ways and Darcy moves forward with his plans to sell the estate. On the night before Christmas, a wistful Elizabeth hopes for a Christmas miracle to revive the festival, save the estate and rekindle her holiday romance. Starring Jessica Lowndes and Michael Rady.

What other Christmas movies has Jessica been in? 2017-Hallmark Magical Christmas Ornaments. 2016-Hallmark, A December Bride. 2015-Hallmark, Merry Matrimony

What other Christmas movies has Michael Rady been in? 2017- Hallmark, A Joyous Christmas. 2016-Hallmark Christmas in Homestead.

 

In case you missed my tv list last week… here it is again https://carolynhector.com/2018/10/19/watch-dvr-or-save-for-later-your-guide-to-2018-christmas-movies/

Here’s a game of bingo one can play while watching. I swear just from the trailer alone I hit bingo!

 

In the Mood…for the holidays?

There are 87 days before Christmas…64 days until you can get your hands on Her Mistletoe Bachelor but 0 days to wait to pre-order it! What are you doing to get into the mood…. for the holidays (besides celebrating Halloween & Thanksgiving)?

🎅🎄

HMB countdown

Oh The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry! The 1st time I recalled a romantic Christmas story. How about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas book old or new? Let me pass out a few good names!

The Firefighter’s Christmas Reunion Christy Jeffries and The Maverick’s Christmas to Remember 

Their Mistletoe Baby by Karin Baine

The Butterfly Bride by Vanessa Riley follow her #ButteflyBride contest 

Diamonds for the Holidays by Nicki Night

A Perfect Holiday Fling by Farrah Rochon

All He Wants for Christmas by Elle Wright

A Chase for Christmas by Candace Shaw

A Very Merry Romance by Brenda Jackson

Little Secrets : Holiday Baby Bombshell by Karen Booth

The Perfect Present featuring Rochelle Alers, Cheris Hodges, Pamela Yaye

A Wedding One Christmas by Therese Beharrie

So do you love Christmas movies?

Before I started writing, I loved (and still love) watching movies. I always dreamed of having one of my books played on TV. So here’s a list did giving you a view of some of the diverse Christmas/Holiday movies….some I’ve seen, some I look forward to watching. Tell me about your favorites. Let me know if I missed your favorite diverse holiday movies.

Also! Make sure you come back… I plan on giving you a guide to help out your holiday TV movies!

2018 Coins for Christmas TV One Essence Atkins, Stephen Bishop
2018 My Christmas Inn Lifetime Tia Mowry-Hardict, Rob Mayes, Jackée Harry, Tim Reid, Erin Gray
2018 Christmas Everlasting Hallmark Channel  Tatyana Ali, Dondre T. Whitfield
2018 Every Day is Christmas Lifetime Toni Braxton, Gloria Reuben, Towanda Braxton, Michael Jai White
2018 Jingle Belle Lifetime Tatyana Ali, Cornelius Smith Jr.
2018 A Majestic Christmas Hallmark Channel Jerrika Hinton, Christian Vincent
2018 A Twist of Christmas Lifetime Vanessa Lachey
2018 The Christmas Pact Lifetime Kyla Pratt, Jarod Joseph, Kadeem Hardison, Jasmine Guy
2018 Christmas Lost and Found Lifetime Tiya Sircar
2018 Memories of Christmas Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Christina Milian, Mark Taylor
2018 A Gingerbread Romance Hallmark Channel Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Duane Henry
2018 Focus on Love Hallmark Channel
2018 The Truth About Christmas Freeform Kali Hawk
2018 Life Size 2 Freeform Tyra Banks, Francia Raisa
2018 No Sleep ‘Til Christmas Freeform Odette Annable
2018 The Christmas Switch Netflix Vanessa Hudgens
2018 Coins for Christmas TV One Essence Atkins, Stephen Bishop
2017 Enchanted Christmas Alexa Penavega
2017 Almost Christmas movie Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Monique
2017 Miss Me This Christmas Netflix Erica Ash, Redaric Williams
2017 You Can’t Fight Christmas Netflix Brely Evans, Andra Fuller
2017 A Christmas Cruise Ion Vivica A. Fox,  Kristoff St. John
2017 Second Chance Christmas TV One McKinley Freeman
2017 Wrapped Up in Christmas Lifetime Tatyana Ali
2016 The Mistle-Tones ABC FAMILY Tia Mowry-Hardrict
2016 Merry Christmas, Baby Up Network Malinda Williams, Karon Riley
2016 A Husband for Christmas Hallmark Vivica Fox
2016 The Christmas Swap TV One Christian Keyes and Dondre Whitfield
2015 A Baby for Christmas Up Network Malinda Williams, Karon Riley
2015 A Royal Family Christmas TV One Tichina Arnold
2014 Marry Us for Christmas Up Network Malinda Williams, Karon Riley
2014 Seasons of Love Lifetime Letoya Luckett, Cleo Anthony
2014 An Envogue Christmas Lifetime EnVogue
2013 Christmas Bounty ABC FAMILY Francia Raisa
2013 A Snow Globe Christmas Lifetime Donald Faison, Christinia Milian
2013 Marry Me for Christmas TV One Malinda Williams, Karon Riley
2013 A Christmas Blessing TV One Omari Hardwick
2013 Dear Secret Santa Lifetime Tatyana Ali
2013 The Best Man Holiday movie Morris Chestnut
2013 A Very Larry Christmas movie Tatyana Ali, DeRay Davis
2013 Black Nativity movie Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker
2012 Christmas in Compton Keith David, Omar Gooding
2012 Hitched for the Holidays Lifetime Incorporates Hanukka
2011 A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas movie
2011 Deck the Halls Lifetime Kathy Najimy
2010 Christmas Cupid ABC FAMILY Christina Milian
2009 The Christmas Hope Madeline Stowe
2008 Nothing Like the Holidays movie John Leguizamo, Freddy Rodriguez, Elizabeth Peña, Luis Guzmán, Jay Hernandez, and Melonie Diaz
2007 Holiday In Handcuffs ABC FAMILY Mario Lopez
2007 SnowGlobe ABC FAMILY Christina Milian
2007 This Christmas movie Idris Elba
2007 A Perfect Christmas movie Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut
2006 The Last Holiday movie Queen Latifah, LL Cool J
2006 6 Hours to Christmas movie Damilola Adegbite, Chris Attoh
2004 Christmas at Waters Edge movie Keshia Knight Pulliam, Pooch Hall
2002 Eight Crazy Nights movie Adamn Sandler
2001 The Kudzu Christmas John Lawhorn, Chrystale Wilson
2001 Call Me Claus movie Whoopi Goldberg
2000 Holiday Heart movie Alfre Woodard, Ving Rhames
2000 A Diva’s Christmas Carol VH1 Vanessa Williams
1999 ¡Feliz Christmas, Merry Navidad! movie Carlos Soriano
1996 The Preacher’s Wife movie Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston
1990 The Kid Who Loved Christmas movie Vanessa Williams, Michael Warren

Tempting the Beauty Queen

Tempting the Beauty Queen
Three weddings, a gala, and a beauty pageant – Oh My!
It’s gonna be a busy summer!
Miss USA has been crowned 👑 Gowns are being cleaned & properly stored 👑 Shoes are back in the box or on the rack👑
 

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Not ready to say goodbye to the sparkle? Check your local stores for the latest installment of the Once Upon a Tiara series, Tempting the Beauty Queen 👉https://tinyurl.com/ycgzpk62

 
If Kenzie Swayne didn’t require a date for a string of upcoming weddings, she’d turn Ramon Torres’s offer down flat. The gorgeous entrepreneur stood her up once, unwillingTempting the Beauty Queen Cover to let emotion interfere with his ambition. Ramon needs Kenzie’s expertise for a new business venture, so he agrees to escort her. But when secrets from their pasts are revealed, can Ramon make Kenzie his—forever?
 
Look for the paperback in stores today! OR order online and have it shipped to you! https://tinyurl.com/ycgzpk62
 
Find it digitally at your favorite places
#1Click Amazon http://amzn.to/2yF0HbR
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2yEzplL
 
And remember, you don’t have to be a Beauty Queen to enjoy these books.
TTBQ available now

You Can’t Sit With Us, Still

Why are we fighting to sit at a table where we are not wanted…by the majority?

Let’s imagine there’s a dinner and a presentation. You may be allowed to sit at the table but you’re not allowed to eat. If you want to eat, you have to sit at a smaller table mixed with a bunch of people you don’t know but are placed there simply because you have similar hue.

What am I talking about? The RWA Ritas. Every year the members of RWA pay $50 to submit their release of that year if they want a chance at winning a RITA.

RWA acknowledged in a statement  that basically, no Black author has won a Rita. Just to be clear, Beverly Jenkins (I say her name and bow down like Wayne and Garth “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy”, won RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award without ever winning a Rita.

If you follow twitter you will find that many Authors of Color #AOC are upset at this glaring mark.

In January of 2017 a group of #AOC got together and decided we are all going to

1-Judge the RWAs

and

2-Enter an eligible book. I was a part of this group.

As we all know by now, I have 6 kids in my house, 21, 17, 15, 14, 14, and 13. Five boys, one girl. Four of them are my nephews and they are growing like weeds. So between feeding 5 boys and keeping them in shoes that fit and are not torn at the bottom (the asphalt is a killer on their soles at our basketball goal). One kid plays soccer, two ran track, one does mock trial and debate. Between my kids’ schedule, work, my books on deadline, I managed to make time to read the seven entries I was given.

I gave everyone a fair shot and read from front to cover. Two of the authors in my group made it to the finals… so yay! But I also noticed, not one book given to me was written by a Black Author. It wasn’t until AFTER the Ritas were announced that we began to scratch our heads. Mind you… there are like at least 10 of us who entered and judged. That’s of the ladies I know. … not including the #AOC who may have entered (we don’t all know each other). But given that plenty of authors were upset… I believe there were more than 15 entries.

Now, with me being a newbie author and first time entering, but some of the folks I know who entered didn’t final. I’m like What the Entire EFF!!

So let’s fast forward after the hint of #RitasSoWhite got out, the statement came out and some truly nice, genuine authors offered to pay the entree fee for #AOC. And in this case I mean African American authors because two Latinx authors finaled. Alexis Daria and Priscilla Oliveras and their books are yummazing!

Back to the entree fee… it sparked more conversation. o-MATH-ON-CHALKBOARD-facebookOne fabulous author broke down the entrees of AOC/POC vs Non-AOC and times the number of people reading, percentages, math work, carry the two… anyway… as you can see, it sparked more conversation.

The twitter conversation brought up how Harlequin is ending their Kimani line. I am a Kimani author. A lady popped on and said she always thought that Kimani’s were for AA people only and what can she do to help? My initial knee-jerk reaction while at the orthodontist’s office with my son was to list my Kimani sisters and said start there… but I asked first.. what her favorite trope was. Click here if you want to see a list I found and I’m going to weave in some recommendations later on.

I do not want this lady to think I am knocking her or making fun of her for thinking Kimani books are only for African American women. She did reach out for some recommendations. But when I want to buy a book, I read the blurbs. I love anything Presents…but I don’t pull my hand back from grabbing Caitlyn Crews’ latest off the shelf because she is white and I am not. I don’t pick my movies that way. I like a challenge. I like to see what the heroine is up against and go from there. How are they going to to fall in love, back in love, and whatever. Folks, we all fall in love. We all fall for a type of guy. These guys exist in every color. It’s not rocket science. If-you-prick-us-do-we-not-bleed

Let’s go back to the tropes. Love a Small Town romance? Globe trotting romance? Science fiction? Fantasy? (don’t get me started about the co-worker who didn’t really get into my books because they’re not relate-able yet she devoured vampire books.

 

BUT an author decided she had an answer for it all. Separate awards. For reals folks! Here is the blog…  Here’s the picture that conjures up in my mind though

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(photo credit goes to http://talesforallages.com/)

 

Does she see the dangers of going BACK in time like that? Multicultural is not a genre. Was this person afraid that by giving #AOC a chance…that it would take away from her? Did the judges who didn’t score #AOC high so they’d place worry that their spot at the table would be taken? Did the success of The Black Panther freak people out? Please take a moment to read this article where the success was said to be Hollywood’s worst nightmare. *le sigh*

And everyone has a feeling on diversity. NPR got in on the discussion. The Billion-Dollar Romance Fiction Industry Has A Diversity Problem And we found out a few hours after that posted…the interviewer was given SIX names. Five of the authors were African American and one was a POC but not African American. The topic was about the exclusion of African American romance authors. Can you guess who the interviewer chose? I’m not surprised. I once saw a clip of this TV show (it was canceled) but the horrible ex girlfriend made the comment… “I want to eat Ethiopian food without being around Ethiopian people”..I mentioned the show was canceled, right.

I have this question. Why are we getting our feelings hurt… getting frustrated over seeking acceptance from folks who DON’T want us? In high school, did we keep trying to sit at the table where there were no seats? Or they flat out said you cant sit with us

 

Why bring in our own table and invite those who WANT to sit with us–no matter the color/creed.. and what else do we say with that? Religion too. No one will be judged… unless you order your tea unsweetened, bite into string cheese rather than pull it apart, and/or sleep with socks on your feet.

I want to start my own group! Lower the membership fee. We’ll have a monthly bracket for the romance that come out that month. Each author will advance in their trope. Best Hometown Hero. Best Alpha Hero. Best.. you get it.

And we’ll name this table ..Be Our Guest.. or Best Guest.. oh! whatever!

Ma_Petite_-_Be_our_Guest_1024x1024clearly this is a work in progress but uh…bluto-animal-house

At this table we’ll have those who “get it” and those who are “woke” and down for the cause.. the cause being ROMANCE… the HEA Darlings!

 

Remember my favorite tropes.. these are just a few and my recommendations of #AOC if we share the same taste in these tropes.

 

This list, by far, does not equally represent the plethora of talented authors. My imaginary table is going to be filled with tons of people… folks on the list.. and folks I’ve met and read along the way.

 

Look! I’ve already picked out our dishes!

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And remember… You don’t have to be a Beauty Queen to read my books.

Romance Books

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up

I don’t wanna grow up… I’m a Toys “R” Us Kid…..

Toys R Us Commercial

This whole Toys “R” Us closing thing has me in tears. First of all.. This is the store where I fell in love with giraffes and tried to write my Rs backwards just to be cute.29906170001_5718315389001_5718303604001-vs

I am totally about to be so

Un-Apologetically Girly right now.

My adoptive mother was a hippie.. a feminist hippie before I knew what one was. I just knew we’d never have Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes or Apple Jacks in the house ..she rocked the belted pads (go ask someone over 50).

So when she adopted me…I was probably her worst nightmare. I loved anything she hated….and it wasn’t to be ornery or anything. She adopted me at the age of one and according to stories, I would run over to hug the ladies wearing firs and stockings. I loved bright red lipstick and high heels. To my adoptive mother’s dismay… I loved one going to Toys “R” Us and picking out materialistic things. 201956-Material-Girl

 

 

 

 

I grew up with the stuffed animals and baby dolls,  board games my brother and I fought over (I was a sore loser) and then I matured. There was one and only aisle for me!

 

 

(photo credit) http://www.lovethispic.com/image/201956/material-girl)

The Barbie Aisle!! 

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(photo is from https://totalsororitymove.com/the-pink-aisle-at-toy-stores-is-at-risk-of-becoming-extinct/)

I feel so sorry for the kids this day who will never get the chance to feel the joy and elation of turning the corner at Toys “R” Us and seeing the pink aisle…aka.. The Barbie Aisle.

Going to Toys “R” Us was my research,… my kernel for creating epic love stories at the age of ….

giphy

 

This was the initial place for what would not be considered fan-fiction…book-fodder.. plot bunnies or whatever you want to call it.

 

 

This was the way I chose which doll was going to star in my next big play and what they would wear (because God forbid that woman buy me new clothes for my dolls). I painstakingly wrote out scripts for me and my friends …and this is before copy-machines… and made a story-line for Barbie and her friends.

Do you remember the scene from The Addams Family Values?76e69b16-c7df-42ce-a5a3-280bee7f9913

Here’s the clip  if you haven’t seen the movie.

I felt the exact same way… except I believe I wanted a Kissing Barbie and instead I got a Sun Lovin’ Skipper. I believe that’s when I decided to cast my stepmother as the wicked stepmonster because she wanted me to have age appropriate dolls. As if!

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As I get older I can never remember what doll I really wanted but I know I didn’t get the one I wanted and I specifically went to the store.. picked up the box and presented it to them to make sure they understood where it was and which Barbie I wanted.

 

Anyway… I still have my Barbies for inspiration. 

 

And even on a writing retreat… I got a little creative with this horror  (yes.. I was supposed to be writing)

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Okay, enough with that…. point is… had it not been for Toys “R” Us, I wouldn’t have such a creative mind at the age of um..hmmm… giphy

 

 

 

Back then we had to drag out parents to the store. Now everything is point and click … I mean sure..we used to circle what we wanted in big-ass catalogs.. so I guess that’s kinda the same.

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(photo from https://earwaxkid.deviantart.com/art/RIP-Toys-R-Us-1948-2018-735386987)

#REBRANDING 2018

Happy New Year, y’all!!

We are currently experiencing a #SnowDay No automatic alt text available.here in Tallahassee, FL and so it gave me a chance to read all the inspiring articles in this month’s Pink Heart Society about #rebranding. My #KimaniSisters did their thing and now I’m sitting here hitting the Image result for backspacebackspace button on an idea I want to pitch…I’m seriously curled up under the covers feeling all inadequate after seeing how on-the-ball these ladies are! Image result for author envyY’all know I suffer from #AuthorEnvy (lol.. it’s a real thing! I promise!). As we all know, Kimani is closing and the questions are flowing from people….”So what now?” Um yeah, I don’t have the foggiest idea. These ladies have their shit together! Related image

 

Like.. yeah..I saw on Harlequin’s Milestones how I’m celebrating book #5 along with some other spectacular authors (some of them are to blame for a big chunk of money disappearing from my wallet lol…you know who you are!). But if you got to their amazon pages…they have SO MANY other books in the works pre-and-post Harlequin Kimani.

So back to this blog about rebranding. I took a lot of their words to heart and want to thank them.

Ac Arthur –#Rebranding – The 3 ‘R’s of Starting Over
Zuri Day – #Rebranding – The Brand That Binds
Cheris Hodges – #Rebranding – Black Love Matters
Lindsay Evans -#Rebranding – Explore Other Avenues
Synithia Williams -#Rebranding – When One Door Closes
Reese Ryan – #Rebranding – Spreading the Love by Writing for Multiple Publisher Imprints

But if you get a chance .. here’s my article. I’m so honored to have been asked to participate.

https://www.pinkheartsociety.com/single-post/January2018/CarolynHector