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What’s on your holiday to do list?

December 10, 2022 by in category Writing tagged as , ,

The holiday countdown has begun! Are you ready? Just 15 days until Christmas and 8 until the start of Hanukah. I’m nearly there. My Christmas shopping is finished. Our tree is up, and we’ve done a little decorating, although most of our decorations are in Arizona. The little apartment we’ve rented in California for Paul until he retires is where we decorated…that’s where the grandchildren will be. And, while I’ll be baking cookies for my family, I won’t be on a huge baking binge this year…and I’m trying to bake healthier.

HOWEVER…for many years, there have been places that I could only go at Christmas with a platter of cookies. Baking cookies has been a Christmas tradition for me, since I got my first apartment at 18 years old. I tried to add a new cookie to my repertoire every year

Some of the cookies on my list included:

  • Applesauce Fruitcake bars– my alternative to fruit cake
  • Butterballs– aka snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Tea balls
  • Candy Cane Cookies– ala Martha Stewarts Christmas book page 41
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Cinnamon Swirls
  • Double Chocolate Thumbprints- recently renamed Mud Puddles – this recipe is my own, and it’s printed in the story Love and Mud Puddles.
  • Frost on the pumpkin cookies
  • Magic Cookie Bars
  • Oatmeal Craisin cookies
  • Orange Glazed Carrot Cookies…this recipe has a story to it, and if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get the recipe and the story!
  • Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
  • Snickerdoodles
  • Sour Cream Cookies
  • Spritz Cookies
  • Sugar Cookies…or as we call them cut-out cookies
  • Thumbprint

There are more, but you get the idea…I bake cookies. One year I made over 200 dozen cookies…but that’s another story. For this year. I’ll bake a few of my family’s favorites, and some new healthier cookies that I’m hoping will become new traditions.

So, it’s perfectly fitting for me to write a Christmas romcom about cookie baking. Love and Mud Puddles released on November 30th, and it’s available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble I hope you’ll check it out. And don’t forget that I have another Christmas romcom #12DancingSantas…if you’re in the mood for holiday romance.

I’ve shared many of the recipes on the cookie list above in my Facebook group Tari Lynn & Friends. So, if you’d like them please join us, and you can join in the rest of the fun as well!

I have another story releasing in the Imperfect Date Collection in February, it’s available for preorder now! …and I can’t wait to tell you more about that!

For now, Happy Holidays to all of you and your families, and I’d love to hear what you’re baking this season!! (And if you don’t bake and just eat them, that’s okay too.)

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Once Upon the Longest Night

October 30, 2018 by in category Spotlight tagged as , , ,

Once Upon the Longest Night


Once Upon the Longest Night

Published by Once Upon Anthologies, an imprint of Ink House Books

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Participating Authors:

Release Date:

12.21.18, the longest night of the year.

Buy now!

Back cover copy:

The longest night. A vampire’s delight.

The winter solstice, a time of birth and rebirth, life and death, waning light and rising darkness. A time when those who flee the sun and crave the taste of blood find their greatest solace.

But one never knows what the longest night might hold.

Once Upon the Longest Night, a collection of adult paranormal romances, features nine novelettes of lovers and their battles against one of the greatest legends of our time: the vampire. A 15th-century seaman and the love of his life come face to face with a vengeful manjasang. In ancient Rome, a hunted priestess captured by a loyal centurion offers her aid to the enemy. With the help of a handsome Royal courier, a reluctant Romanian princess braves the curse flowing within her noble blood. Danger awaits when a vampire in the far reaches of North Dakota must endure the lethal cold to protect the woman she loves. And in a future New York, a broken general returns home for the Longest Night Ball where he meets a young male witch who might change his life forever.

This anthology combines vampire mythos and affairs of the heart with the sacred symbolism and magic of the winter season.

Sit back and let us tell you a tale. Welcome to the Longest Night.

Story Excerpt:



Linda Robertson

Bucharest was to be our last stop. Long days and longer nights were spent laying in my cabin’s narrow bed, alone. My body longed to reconvene with my lover, but his company and his conversation were missed as much as his touch. The only consolation was knowing how close Petru was. A thin wall separated us, but in his mind, so did his low birth.

I laid with my hand on that paneling, differentiating the sounds inside the adjacent cabin from the rhythmic rumble of the train. It did not take long to put aside those mechanical sounds and focus on Petru’s breathing. I distinguished his easily from Tarel’s; he slept beside me for over a year.

The train’s forlorn whistle sounded into the night, wailing for me as I suffered my longings alone, isolated and silent. I imagined how much worse it was going to get. When we arrived at Lupenegra, Petru would be much farther away than this.

Eventually, he would find another to make him smile.

That brought me to my feet.

I paced furiously, resenting the very concept of status that he had embraced. My lying mother had done this to him. The evidence was in his mannerisms, his downcast eyes and his rigid stance.

Then I stopped, remembering the snow in Budapest Station. She’s worked so hard to keep the world as she needs it to be, that she doesn’t see or care how ugly everything around her has become.

Adherence to that status concept may have been her myopic restriction, but it did not have to be mine. I was educated. I did not want to be her, and so I would not be. I would make things different. She was not here to demand obedience. She could enforce nothing.

A new plan formed.

We arrived in Bucharest mid-morning,and boarded a carriage that would convey us the rest of the way. Only a few hours remained in our journey. As Petru held the door for me to board the carriage, snow began to fall.

And I could not help smiling. I twirled in that snow and laughed like a little girl.

Tarel, preparing to climb up with the coachman,saw me and stopped. “The solstice is a favorable time to return, is it not, voivodela?”

Due to the rigors of travelling and feeding,I had lost track of days. Considering it, I cheerfully said, “It is. I’ll be home for the longest night of the year.” I put one foot upon the step and rose, but did not climb inside the carriage. Halted there, my smile was replaced with a sober expression. “Tarel?”

“My lady?”

Using a voice full of authority, I said, “Neither you nor Petru will speak to the others of what you know of me. Do you understand?”

Tarel nodded.

I glanced down at Petru. He also nodded. His eyes remained so downcast that I could not even see that wildflower color. Or maybe his eyes were shut.

He had shouldered much during our trip, not the least of which was managing the aftermath of my feeding. Soon, that would end.

“Mulțumesc, Petru. For everything.” I closed my parasol and climbed in.

In all, our journey had taken more than three weeks,but thus it was, that the afternoon of December 21st, a Sunday and the solstice, I arrived home.

The road approaching Castle Lupenegra ran along side the mountain. A blanket of white covered the land, and the bare trees stuck up out of the snow like thousands of pikes guarding the fortress. In the wind, they shook as if menacing us, and the snow they shrugged off made an eerie haze around them. But a moment later, unburdened of snow, the branches of those firs, more verdant than I remembered, bounced as if waving to welcoming me home.

As we made the last turn the snowfall increased, but could not obscure Lupenegra’s gate, slowly opening.

My chest seized and all my thoughts skipped back to that midsummer morning when I pounded my fists at that gate trying to open it.

I shut my eyes and breathed, slow and purposeful. My hands had curled into fists and my spine had stiffened. Mindful, I opened my hands and relaxed my muscles as I released a long sigh. My body gave a jerk when the gates clanged shut behind us.

​There was no escape for me now.

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Story Summaries:

Memories of Stone by Elizabeth Vaughan: Ercula is weary, tired of fleeing, considered a monster by the Romans. But the Solstice is sacred to her goddess and she will worship at the forgotten shrine, whatever the risk.

The centurion who captures her has other plans.  @eavwriter

The Lobster Trick by Dan Stout: Jacqueline doesn’t mind her job as an overnight security guard. After all, what’s the worst that could happen at a blood bank? But when an armed group invades the building, Jacqueline is forced into action to save a handsome lab tech… and discovers that his shy smile might hide a shocking secret. @DanStout

Blooded by Linda Robertson: Miriana Jorgeta rejoiced when her distant and cruel mother, the Queen, sent her away from Romania to attend a girl’s school in England. For years, she lived a life so perfect she almost forgot about the duties of her heritage. But curses rarely remain hidden, and soon, with the help of her mother’s royal courier, Miriana must face the truth about what really lurks in her blood. @AuthorLinda

His Last Battle by Sara Dobie Bauer: Suffering from PTSD, vampire general Devlin Frost returns home from the war on Lycans and attends the historic Longest Night Ball. Here, royal witch Elijah Crow must choose three immortal suitors to compete for his love and power. When Devlin is shockingly chosen as one of the three, his immediate attraction to the young witch coaxes him into entering the fray, but this battle is for more than Elijah’s love. The broken general might also win back his ruined heart and bruised soul—if he survives the night.  @saradobie

Silver Heart by Charissa Weaks: 15th Century Italy. After a decade at sea and with an inheritance in hand, Cristiano Del Valle returns to his childhood home of Venezia in search of a new beginning. What he finds on the longest night is an ancient enemy who not only threatens the life he’s long desired but the love he thought he’d lost. @CharissaWeaks

Her Blood to Bind by Alice Black: To escape the vampire who made her, a former dominatrix takes a job in Costa Rica as an English tutor to the children of a wealthy widower. What she discovers is that her new employer is just as dangerous as her pursuer…and twice as tempting. @AliceBlackBooks

Walk with Me by Jodi Henry: After a century of killing her own kind, Arianna Guerri retired to a place no other vampire dare go. In the deadly cold of North Dakota, she built a life for herself, and fell, secretly, in love with her best and only friend. When someone burns the small town,

Arianna must face the mistakes of her past—and her feelings—if she hopes to survive the longest night. @_JL_Henry

Love on the Longest Night by Sybil Ward: Neenah and Robert are searching for true love in the same place for drastically different reasons. Can they find love together on the longest night when they’re trapped by the century’s worst blizzard and one of them is a 300-year-old vampire? @SybilWard

One Night In December by Melinda S. Collins: NYC artist, Micah Price, never believed in vampires or immortality. But after a year of researching Daniel Savoy, her family’s enigmatic annual houseguest and the only man she’s ever loved, the options surrounding the truth of his past are slim at best. When a bloody Daniel arrives on Micah’s doorstep, she refuses to leave any stone of the mystery unturned. But accepting that vampires exist is the least of her worries. Because sometimes it’s not the monsters we should fear. It’s what hunts them. @MelindaSCollins


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