As many of you may know, our beloved sister hostess SHARON DONOVAN, tragically passed away on 11th April 2012. We who knew her, loved her, and were inspired by her courage and determination to face head on whatever life threw at her. When she could no longer see to paint she turned to writing and showed her amazing talent in the Inspirational Romance and Romantic Suspense genres, and her story 'Charade Of Hearts' was awarded the coveted Predators and Editors Award in January 2011.

This Blog was a source of great delight to her, she was one of the founder hostesses and she contributed to the fun and silliness in her own original way, and was kind enough to let her unique creation, the hunky butler 'Oliver' join us for our Friday romp and prepare 'virtual breakfast' for the guests on the following morning. It's beyond hard to have to go on without her, but we know that she would have been the first to insist that 'the show must go on.' She is, and will always be with us in spirit.
Sharon, dear friend, we will never forget you.
The Author Roast and Toast is part of the legacy you left us. Let's raise a Toast to you as well as all our guests.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Christmas party with Stacey Claus, aka Stacey Joy Netzel

MUDTRAP.COMHello and welcome to The Author Roast and Toast. Today we are having a Christmas party with


And to celebrate her Christmas books, the theme is Mistletoe and Holly! So gather round the bonfire where it’s warm and toasty. There are plenty of winter activities to keep you busy and plenty to eat and drink. But before our guest of honor arrives in the Santa sleigh, let’s take a stroll around the acres to see the show of lights.

Stars sparkle like jewels on a blanket of midnight blue. The cold North wind blows through the bristly branches of the towering pines, twinkle lights flickering in the dark like fireflies. Snowflakes dust the ground in a fleecy soft white, getting one and all in the spirit of Christmas.

The Three Chipmunks, Alvin, Melvin and Theodore, skate around the frozen pond, singing in high-pitch voices, “Hurry, Christmas, hurry fun!”

From the log cabin, smoke billows from the chimney, singeing the crisp night air with the smell of birch. And inside, where it’s warm and toasty, a decadent dessert buffet has been arranged by Oliver. The candles flicker in the mirrored wall behind the buffet, bathing the heavenly desserts in celestial light.

Among the succulent treats are apple pie, pumpkin pie, cheese cake, chocolate chiffon mousse, nut rolls and pumpkin rolls. And artistically arranged on the snowman dish are gingersnaps, chocolate chips, sugar cookies, fudge brownies, buck eyes, and peanut butter cookies. Candy dishes are filled to the brim with chocolate kisses, pecan turtles, chocolate-covered nuts and caramels and peanut brittle. Sterling silver carafes of hot chocolate, coffee and tea wait to be sampled, along with the hot buttered rum punch and hot toddies. And not to worry, there is plenty of ice cream in the freezer to complement Oliver’s apple pie!

Across the room, a birch wood log snaps and crackles in the hearth, its brilliant orange flames going up like a sorcerer’s fire.

And in the center of the log cabin, Sharon, Lyn and Mary, donned as little elves in their pointed green hats, green vests and matching slacks, and wooden clogs with jingle bells on the tips, work their magic while trimming the tree with glee. With their jack-be-nimbl e fingers, they hang beautiful blown glass ornaments, candy canes, pop corn and lots of twinkle lights.
With mischievous grins, glowing cheeks and right eyes, they hang mistletoe in every doorway, giggling like the fools they are. Sprigs of fresh and fragrant holly trim the doorway. Once satisfied, they stand back and admire their handy work and burst into song.
"Oh by gosh, by golly, it’s time for mistletoe and holly
Tasty desserts, Christmas presents,
Countrysides covered with snow.
Oh by gosh, by jingle,
It’s time for carols and Kris Kringle,
Overeating, merry greetings
From relatives you don’t know.
Then comes that big night,
Giving the tree a trim
You’ll hear voices by starlight
Singing Yuletide hollers
Oh by gosh, by golly,
It’s time for mistletoe and holly,
Fancy ties and Oliver’s pies
And guests stealing a kiss or two
As they whisper Merry Christmas to you!"

Hearing sleigh bells jingle outside, the little elves scamper down to the entrance gate, wooden clogs clunking, toe bells tinkling in their wake. The giant snowmen waves as Santa Oliver and Stacey Claus swoop down from the star-lit sky. Cuddles the red-nose unicorn, leads the way with his glowing horn. Junior, in keeping with his name of Dancer, kicks up his booted hooves in the snow as the sleigh skids to a smooth landing. And then with a robust “Ho ho ho,” Santa Oliver, hops out of his sleigh, eyes twinkling as his jolly laughter rolls through the woods and into the forest, his belly shaking like a bowl full of jelly as he lends a hand to Stacey Claus.

Stacey Joy Netzel, dressed in a red velvet gown and Santa cap, waves at the snowman and at her fans, blowing them kisses, her eyes oh so bright.

Welcome to the party! Do a little ice skating or take a ride in the Santa sleigh. But above all, have fun with Stacey and enjoy the rich blend of desserts. And don’t forget, the minute you walk through the cabin door, you’ll be walking under the mistletoe. And we all know what that means.

Oops, Oliver is already planting one on Stacey’s sweet lips!

Now for the question: How did the legend of the kissing under the mistletoe get started? Leave a comment and you have a chance to win one of Stacey’s books. In fact, Stacey Claus is feeling so generous this holiday season, she’s giving two of them away. Good luck! The winner will be announced Saturday.

PRIZE: 2 winners get an e-download of Stacey's other Christmas novella. 'Dragonfly Dreams'

Now, have some hot buttered rum and enjoy the party and hearing about 'Mistletoe Rules'!


Christmas recipe for love—combine a matchmaking Santa, lots of mistletoe, one iron-clad rule, fated hearts; mix and stir. The Riley siblings don't stand a chance.

Mistletoe Mischief: Christmas in July at the zoo is the last place single parents Eric Riley and Marissa Wilder expect to find love. Thanks to some mistletoe mischief in the form of their two young daughters and Santa, they discover Mistletoe Rules were not made to be broken.

Mistletoe Magic: Major Mark Riley plays Court Jester to Janelle Walsh's Snow Queen at the Christmas Parade and is instantly captivated by the cute redhead whose grandpa just happens to be Santa. When Mark learns she's the tenant he evicted from his newly purchased property, it's going to take a little bit of Santa's mistletoe magic to save their romance.

Mistletoe Matchup: When Lisa Riley comes home for Mark's Christmas Eve wedding, her high school rivalry with Janelle's cousin, Derek Walsh, picks up right where it left off, only this time Derek's got the upper hand. Santa bides his time as they battle it out because he's waited a whole year for this mistletoe match-up.

EXCERPT from Mistletoe Mischief:

“Daddy, you’re under the mistletoe.”

Eric glanced up at a sprig of leaves and holly berries attached to the roof of the cart, then dropped his gaze to Marissa’s. “So we are,” he murmured.

Her face flushed, but he couldn’t tell if it was from embarrassment, or anticipation of a kiss. He knew the reason his pulse raced like an out of control locomotive.

“You have to kiss her,” Reese stated.

God Bless you, Reese.

Santa laid his arm across the back of the front passenger seat and craned his head around, his brown eyes twinkling. “‘Tis tradition.”

“It’s the rule,” Reese argued, frowning at Santa before turning back to Eric. “You say so every Christmas when we stand in the doorway at Grandma’s.”

“I do, don’t I?”

Reese nodded emphatically. “Every year.”

Eric faced Marissa and sighed with exaggerated reluctance. “I might’ve been able to buck tradition, but a rule’s a rule.”

Chasin' Mason...Available now! from TWRP
A Christmas anthology from TWRP Nov. 20, 2009Stacey Joy Netzel fell in love with books at a young age, so for her it seemed natural to graduate to writing them. She credits not only her parents for encouraging her dreams of becoming a published author, but also the very talented friends she’s made in WisRWA since joining in 2004. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids, a couple of horses, and six barn cats. When not writing and living life in general, she loves to read and watch movies—Happily Ever Afters a must. Published books with The Wild Rose Press include: Mistletoe Rules, If Tombstones Could Talk (paranormal novella), Welcome to Redemption (contemporary anthology with Donna Marie Rogers), Dragonfly Dreams (Christmas novella), and Chasin’ Mason (contemporary western).


  1. (Stacey steps out of the sleigh, assisted by the handsome Oliver, and claps her hands in glee!)

    Everything is so beautiful! And even from out here by the warmth of the bonfire I can smell the wonderful scents of dessert in the cabin.

    Oh! The Chipmunks are here!! How fun--I can't wait to go skating later.

    Thank you Sharon, Lyn and Mary for putting together such an awesome party for Mistletoe Rules' release. You are such good elves! And Cuddles did such a wonderful job with the sleigh. Such a smooth landing!

  2. Welcome to your party, Stacey! Can Santa Oliver bring you a hot buttered rum to take the chill out after your long voyage from the North Pole?

  3. Hi Stacey, welcome, Mary rushes over to Stacey to give her a big hug. She trips over the pointy toes on her shoes and goes flying, just missing falling into the fire. Oliver walks over Mary to get to Stacey. Mary gets up, dusts off her elf suit, and tries again. She manages to hug Stacey before Olive elbows his way in front of her.
    The chipmunks are hysterical.

  4. Hi Mary! I knew you'd get a kick out of the little elf suits with the pointed hats and clogs and bells on the toes to boot! I designed it especially for you, my friend! Hee hee Let's have a group hug with Stacey.

  5. group hug? You'll have to come over here I can barely walk in these shoes. And Junior is laughing at me. Cuddles, stop snickering, I know my hat is covering my face. Sorry Stacey, I am not know for grand entrances. But look at you, you look marvelous!

  6. Welcome Stacey!

    A rather dishevelled Lyn skids to a halt on a sled pulled by an exuberant Cuddles.

    Phew" The trouble with Cuddles is he gets a bit excited. Santa Oliver had no sooner unharnessed him from the sleigh, when he grabs me in his teeth (Cuddles not Oliver) drops me onto this sled and gallops six times round the cabin!

    May I say you''re looking lovely, that red velvet really suits you!
    Oliver, any chance of a hot toddie?
    Oliver doesn't hear Lyn, let alone see her, he's gazing in love struck awe at Stacey!

  7. Welcome Stacey!

    A rather dishevelled Lyn skids to a halt on a sled pulled by an exuberant Cuddles.

    Phew" The trouble with Cuddles is he gets a bit excited. Santa Oliver had no sooner unharnessed him from the sleigh, when he grabs me in his teeth (Cuddles not Oliver) drops me onto this sled and gallops six times round the cabin!

    May I say you''re looking lovely, that red velvet really suits you!
    Oliver, any chance of a hot toddie?
    Oliver doesn't hear Lyn, let alone see her, he's gazing in love struck awe at Stacey!

  8. Yes, your red velvet outfit is most becoming, Stacey. And what fun it will be to ice skate with Alvin and Melvin and...yes Oliver...I know you have first dibs on Stacey.
    How about a hot buttered rum or hot chocolate, Mary? That will fix ya!

  9. Well, I must say I appreciate you using that gorgeous picture in the red velvet suit. Can I really look like that for Christmas?

    Thanks so much for the hugs. Oh, come on up, Junior--I didn't mean to leave you out, cutie pie!

    Oliver, take care of Mary first you devil, and then a hot chocolate would be wonderful. Once I settle in, I might be brave enough to try some alcohol.

  10. Hi Lyn, boy Oliver is really taken with Stacey. Mary helps Lyn to straighten herself out. Here's a hairbrush Lyn. Let's walk over to Stacey and Sharon together. She always has it together that Sharon, whilst we...
    Did you notice the chipmunks in the corner, they are plotting something, Alvin is a big prankster. Let's watch them closely Lyn.

  11. There you are Lyn! Oh, that red-horned Cuddles. He will no doubt be lighting the way for all the guests with his glowing horn, huh? Are you managing to walk straight in your wooden clogs, Lyn? You know they have bells on them so when you topple over, someone will hear you. Hee hee Ah, here comes Oliver with hot toddies now that Stacey has left for a second. We'd best grab his attention before she returns!

  12. thanks Sharon something warm would be nice. Mary reaches out to take the warm mug he holds, he pushes past her and kneels by Stacey's feel. Oliver you are gonna pay.
    Junior if only you had hands. Junior looks at Mary likes she's nuts and tells her to to get a warm drink.
    I still don't trust those chipmunks.

  13. Thanks for the hairbrush Mary, my hair gets frizzy enough without being full of snow and blown by the wind!

    Boy, we'll be lucky to get near Stacey, Oliver's like a momma hen with a new chick, he's not letting anyone near her if he can help it. Good job we managed to get a group hug in while he wasn't looking.

    Have you recovered from your trip? Lets straighten your hat a bit.And yes, you're right about the chipmunks Mary, and now Junior and Cuddles have joined them. What is that mischievous lot hatcing up?

  14. Whatever it is, I am sure it's not good for you and me. Let's keep an eye on them.
    Stacey looks so beautiful in that dress and her face just glow. She might be in on the trick, whatever it is.

  15. Hi Sharon.

    I wondered what those bells were for. Now I know. Gloomh!

    Oliver is rushing away to see if stacey's all right, and manages to brush inot Lyn who goes flying head over heels into a large snowdrift.

    Everyone stands around laughing uncontrolably at a paikr of size three clogs sticking up through the snow, the bells ringing like crazy.

  16. Oh, Stacey. You know your wish is Oliver's command. Here he comes with a jumbo hot cocoa and a huge smile! Poor Mary, do you really think those sweet little chipmunks are up to no good. No sooner are the words out of Sharon's mouth when Alvin skates up behind her, shoving her face first into a snow drift. Her bells jingle in mid air!

  17. What's with the wooden clogs Sharon? I always thought elves wore green shoes with curled pointy tips and bells. These darn clogs keep tripping me up and if the chipmunks do plan some joke to play on me, I can't run in these things
    Stacy is about to speak, Hold the phone, Oliver announces her. This really is thrilling.
    All in the large room hush and await her words. Stacey how does it feel to publish a book.

  18. Come on Sharon let me help you. I am afraid this is just the beginning for us today.
    If you'd take your foot out of my face, I'll pass you the clog that fell off. It's right here. Oh Shoot, Cuddles has it and just took off.

  19. Glooomph oooohm gup yump arrgh

    (Roughly translated that means 'help will someone get me out of this snowdrift!')

  20. I'm trying to find your head Sharon, but your foot in my mouth is not helping. Junior would you pull her out?
    Junior grabs Lyn by the seat of her pants and pulls, he manages to get her head and torso out of the snowbank. But he pulls so hard Lyn goes flying into a small table full of whipped cream covered delights. As she lands the food covers her and she just sits there licking the cream off of herself, laughing.

  21. Mary tries to smile at Stacey who looks at her like she's nuts.
    I can see don't wreck my party written all over her face Lyn. Let's see if we can clean you up a bit.

  22. Ah, thanks for the hand, Mary. Me toes are cold without my clog, not that it did much for warmth. Shhh...don't tell anyone but Santa Oliver made these ugly shoes for us and he worked so hard on them I didn't think we should hurt his feelings. Lyn, what a mess you are. Clean yourself up already. What do you mean I don't look too ravishing my own self? Sharon huffs, touches a bump on her forehead the size of Mt. Everest. Cuddles, come heal me!

  23. Hey Stacey. Gang! Wowwwww, what a beautiful post and party. I'm humming festive tunes and getting together a group of carolers to add to the merriment.
    Love these books!

  24. Will London street urchins do as Carolers? I've rounded up some left over from making The Christmas Carole.

  25. They musta been wasted when they made these wooden shoes. What were they thinking?
    We have to get ourselves together, Stacey is out there thrilling the crowds and we are falling all over each other. When you're done Cuddles could you zap us clean too?
    We have to get back to the roast and we don't want to look like slobs.

  26. Cuddles you go and heal poor Sharon's head and Junior, perhaps you can lick off all the cream I can't reach.

    Hi Beth, great to see you here, and thanks for rounding up the Carolers, how lovely. I hope you've managed to get Oliver to look after you properly and make sure you have a good helping of all this lovely food he's prepared.

  27. Yes thanks Beth anything to give us a chance to clean up here.

  28. Anything I and the wee tots can do to add to the merriment. Oliver is ever attentive when I'm here.

  29. Cuddles does his healing magic and the lump on Sharon's forehead goes away. Mary and Lyn get themselves together and when Oliver isn't looking, they put on the comfortable green furry slippers they've stolen from his sleigh. Giggling, they join the guests. Greeting, Beth! What sweet carolers you rounded up.

  30. One little guy named Tiny Tim has a crutch and keeps saying something about 'God Bless us Everyone.'

  31. Ah much better, I'm too spastic for clogs. These green things are so comfortable.
    So Stacey, tell us a bit about yourself, something no one knows!

  32. I'll take a pair of those green slippers, please. You all thought I was out wowing the crowds, but really, the chipmunks froze time (and I'm guessing they had help from Cuddles' magic horn) and switched me with an imposter, then whisked me away across the ice. But I escaped and skated back. They're fast little sneaks!

    Oliver, keep an eye on them, will you?

    Ladies, shall we go warm up by the fire in the cabin, where all the scrumptious treats are just waiting for us?

    Hi Beth! Thanks so much for bringing the carolers--and Tiny Tim, too. God Bless him. He deserves some pie.

  33. Hey Beth, I didn't see Tiny Tim there, yes bring him close to the fire to get warm - I kinda hope he left his Uncle Scrooge at home! Glad Oliver's looking after you, he does his best! LOL!

    Yes Stacey, let us in on a few secrets. We're all ears you know.(Pointy ones at that, since we're dressed as elves!)

  34. Gotta watch those mischievous chipmunks - and Cuddles and Junior are just as bad, they don't need any encouragement! LOL

  35. I don't think our troubles are over. The chipmunks, Alvin, Melvin and what's his name, are huddling over by the desert table eating cookies and plotting with Junior and Cuddles. Now that is scary.

  36. And while we're at it, lets push the imposter in the snow, too!

    (Dusts off hands, smiles at the girls) That was fun!

    I believe someone asked how it felt to publish a book. In a word: Awesome!

    The day I held my first print copy of Welcome To Redemption (another small town anthology written with my good friend Donna Marie Rogers) I had such happy tears in my eyes. Almost as good as holding one of my real life babies.

  37. Yes, green slippers for all the guests. Santa will never know we stole them. Ha! Stacey, tell us about a favorite Christmas memory.

  38. Something about me that no one knows? Anything I could tell you would be horribly boring. Can I make something up so people don't realize how truly dull I am?

    I mean, not many of us romance authors have the life of Joan Wilder. *grin*

  39. There is nothing like holding your first book. If you can convince yourself it's real!
    Christmas ahh.

  40. That is a fantastic moment, Stacey.
    Did someone say pie?

  41. What a festive blog. I love the Christmas pictures. You have put me in the Christmas Season although I'm not even ready for Thanksgiving. LOL.

    Stacey, I enjoyed your excerpt. Cute little Reese.

  42. A favorite Christmas memory... singing Elvis Christmas songs at night in the car on the way home from church on Christmas Eve.

    Sitting around the tree with my mom and dad and two older sisters and younger brother.

    Getting together with my entire family and their spouses and the neices and nephews every Christmas Eve and having that family time.

    My favorite thing about Christmas is always the family. Seeing the smiles on my kids' faces, watching them hug their grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins.

    Good food and better company. :)

  43. Stacey, it's your party you can make up anything you like! LOL

    I do know what you mean about holding your first book - I slept with mine under my pillow for ages!

    The cover of 'Mistletoe Rules' is lovely isn't it, so festive. I love the cover of 'Chasing Mason' too, but then I would since i'm horse crazy!

  44. Stacey,

    I didn't realize that was your first published book. Congratulations, sweetie. What a lovely Christmas present to hol;d your first book. You know I slept with mine on the pillow. I just couldn't let it go out of my hands.

  45. Sounds wonderful. My family is all so far away, there is no way to do the holiday together.
    Family always make it feel secial.

  46. Hello Mona! Thanks for coming by. Reese is a doll, isn't she? I sure hope you can stay for dessert. Yes, pie--apple with ice cream on top. Pumpkin with whipped cream. There's plenty to choose from, Mary, Sharon and Lyn went all out!

    All the Mistletoe and Holly decking the halls in the cabin look so festive! And look, Oliver's giving kisses under the Mistletoe right now!

    Christmas is the best time of year!

  47. Hello, Mona. I'm sure Oliver will be happy to fill your plate with goodies. Stacey, those are lovely family memories. You know a favorite of mine is when we were kids and put up the train. Does anyone still do that?

  48. Stacey, Christmas was always a family reunion for me too. As a kid, we used to travel to my grandparents. There were always about thirty people eating lunch and dinner. My poor grandma spent days in the kitchen. Later on, when my kids were growing, Christmas was a reunion at my parents with my Mom cooking and the aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws all present. Again more than 30 people. Now guess who the Christmas host? I am receiving, my children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins. sister and family about 40 people. A whole week of cooking.

    But it's lovely to have the family.

  49. Mary, sorry you can't all get together. Enjoy the moments you do get.

    Mona, Mistletoe Rules is my 3rd print book with TWRP, and then I have two other e-novellas with them.

    I know what you mean about putting it under your pillow. I still find myself gazing at my different covers in adoration as they sit on my desk. LOL

  50. Desert? Who said desert? OMG I haven't touch sweet for two months to lose weight, but I am craving a piece of pumpkin pie.

  51. I had an aunt and uncle who had trains, miniature villages, all kinds of stuff. Musta taken forever to put it all up! But it was so cool, with miniature figures.
    After that I found myself collecting miniatures.

  52. Sharon, we never had a train around the tree--no room in our small living room, however it sounds like a great memory. Do you still do it at your house?

    Mona, that's a LOT of cooking! I bet you're wiped by the end of the week. Glad you can get together, though.

    We take turns hosting in my family, we all live w/in a 75mi radius. And even when you're hosting, everyone else still brings a dish. The hostess just takes care of the main dish.

  53. oops, I mean dessert. Can't type fastwithout typos!!

  54. Yes Mona, desert, and you can have all you want in virtual heaven. Now when you start cooking for forty relatives, now that's gonna be the hard part. You'll have to taste it all!

  55. Mona, that is certainly what I would call a tradition passed on from generation to generation. We used to travel to my grandma's on Christmas, too, and such a tiny house was filled with relatives, food and laughter. Great memories.

  56. I have an aunt who does the entire village set up, too. Very pretty, and the set up is probably fun, but not the take down. That's my least favorite thing about Christmas.

    There's something not many people know about me...I'm really lazy taking down my decorations. The tree goes out shortly after New Years, but last year I didn't take down the rest until a week before Easter. *sheepish grin*

  57. I am sharing with you from my Mom's place in assisted living. She's dozing right now and I am checking blogs and emails.

  58. Mary, we had all the villages and little houses that lit up, tunnels, a pill to put in the train to make smoke come out, the whole nine yaredsyards. Miniatures are great. Stacey, my brother inherited the old train set. The Lionel originals still run but every year, he adds to it which is what we did when we were kids.

  59. Love the pictures! Gets one in the mood for Christmas! Congrats, Stacey!

  60. Those trains cost a fortune today too!

  61. Hey, did someone say pie? *grin* Great excerpt, Stacey, and excellent book!

  62. Hi Emma, take off your coat and come sit by the fire. Of course give Oliver your order. He does take his job very seriously. Too seriously.

  63. I'm in need of some warm tea spiked with brandy!

  64. Donna, grab a piece of pie, there are tons of pies. All kinds, what's your favorite ladies?

  65. What a fun post, getting me in the mood for Christmas.


  66. What lovely memories everyone has! I've never heard of the tradition of putting a train around the tree, but it sounds lovely. My father used to have a room which he'd converted into a train journey,though, with models of houses, farms, brides, the lot.

    I really miss Wales the most at Christmas time, all my friends and relatives are there, but we usually manage a visit for New Year This year we're going before Christmas though, as my sister's going to Canada for the New Year!

  67. Christine have some refreshments. Stacey is standing at the podium ready to speak her Christmas dreams. Then to make a toast.

    The chipmunks sneak past every guard and head straight for the table where the yummy cake glistens and waits to be cut.

  68. I have a dollhouse just packed with miniatures right down to clothing, even a crystal ball, a refrigerator that lights up, fans that turn, everything. I even have miniature wind chimes.

  69. I decorate the doll how for X mas.

    So Stacey, any new stories percolating?

  70. Oh, boy, those darn chipmunks! Here I thought they were cute but they're nothing but trouble!

    Christmas Dreams: well, there used to be a time when I wanted *things* for Christmas. But as I get older, I realize how lucky we are to have our whole family together and that is more precious than anything to me. So the thing I want most for Christmas is for everyone to be healthy and happy, and for us to be together. Now I'm getting all sappy. Sorry. *sniff* It's Tiny Tim's little smiling pixie face looking up at me.

    For a totally selfish Christmas Dream, after that first one is taken care of, I'd love to sell a book with a big enough advance and good sales so that I could write full time and my hubby could retire. He works very hard for me and our family. I work hard at writing, too, but the difference is I enjoy it.

    OMG, this pie is delicious! Oliver, is this ice cream homemade?

  71. Aw, Donna! I know how busy you are--thank you so much for taking a few minutes to attend the party.

    Oliver, Donna has a special taste for Mike's Hard Lemonaide--any way you and Cuddles could score a bottle or two?

    Donna REALLY needs a moment to put her feet up and relax.

  72. Emma, they did such a great job decorating, didn't they. That tree is magnificent! Now we all just have to make sure those darn conniving chipmunks stay out of it.

    Thank you for coming by--I know how busy you must be with the baby and writing and life in general. As a new mom, can you have brandy in your tea? *grin*

  73. Christie, thanks for coming by. Our WisRWA group raves about your books.

    Anyone ever wants a good laugh, check out Christie's blog!

    Sharon, good to hear the train is still around and that your brother is carrying on the tradition.

  74. Oliver pumps his biceps to show Stacey his ice cream is indeed home churned. Welcome to the party, Donna, Emma and Christie. Grab a plate and a drink and Oliver if he stops pumping his biceps at Stacey. Lyn, your dad's room sounds a lot like a village we created on a platform. Mary, my aunt had a dollhouse that lit up and we all contributed a piece to it to represent something in her real home. Your house sounds delightful. I bet it is near and dear to your heart.

  75. Oh My God! Can you guys see what the chipmunks are doing. The are singing about a yellow brick road and behind them are hundreds of munchkins! OH My they are eating all the food and drinking right out of the punch bowl, we need a hero.
    Somebody, quick, they are trying to kidnap Stacey. It's awful, can't you hear her screaming..,
    Help anyone. HELP1 Where are Cuddles and Junior when you need them?

  76. Christy, it's good to see you here. When is your next book coming out? I am a big fan of Christy's romantic suspenses. They make me laugh so much.

  77. Mary, would you have a pecan pie around here? I have those sudden craves due to deprivation. And Oliver, come along here. A sweet wine, please. And can you sit here? Closer please. Yeah !! Good boy!!!

    Now excuse me, Stacey, I will be hmm, busy...

  78. I'm up for pie too. I think the chipmunks are kind of cute. Pesky though.

  79. Ah, Stacey...notice I said "need"...doesn't mean I'm going to get it though. Alas!

  80. Oliver with stars in his eyes serves Mona pumpkin pie and licks off a smidgen on the side of her mouth.
    Emma her comes yours.What kind of pie for you Beth.

    Junior hold off the munchkins while I finish serving these lovely guests. All dressed so Christmas like. Beth you're wearing the beautiful green dress from last Friday. You look lovely.

  81. Wow I would have never invited those darned chipmunks had I known what little imps they are! And can they saw through the food or what? Yes, let's crack out the brandy for our tea and coffee. Emma, it'll make baby nap good!

  82. I'm the one who needs sleep, Sharon! :) He gets to sleep while he eats. If I could manage that everything would be great!

  83. You're lucky to get any sleep Emma.

    The chipmunks and the munchkins are plotting and planning. Stacey stay behind Oliver.

  84. It's all worth it. He's going to make Christmas this year! I'm so excited I get to get him a stocking and embroider his name on it! Now we'll have five...hubby, me, Iain and two rotten dogs.

  85. Great post, as always, ladies! Loved the excerpt, Stacey. Congrats on the release! I love all things Christmas. Mistletoe Rules sounds fantastic, I'd love to read it.
    And Oliver makes a studly Santa! Made me laugh out loud.
    Hm, how did the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe begin? I think by a girl who had her eye on a special boy but was too shy to say so.

  86. Well in that case, have a double, Emma and leave baby in hubby's capable hands!

  87. Cate watch out for the chipmunks and the munchkins, they'll grab any well known author and take her to no not Glenda, but the wicked witch.
    We have a special dog and unicorn watch on patrol as we speak.

  88. Hi folks, what a lot of guests how nice to see everyone.

    Sorry to be out of puff, Cuddles, Junior and me were chasing away those n+aughty munchkins who were trying to kidnap Stacey. Oliver - you're supposed to be protecting Stacey, nor strutting around showing off how good looking you are in your Santa outfit!

    Oh crumbs, lok who's just turned up, it's the sugar plum fairy and she's got everyone dancing to music from the Nutcracker Suite!

  89. The Nutcracker. I just love that music and the play. There is just something so magical about it. For a while there, I went to see it downtown every Christmas, taking turns with A Christmas Carol. I could never make up my mind which one I favored more. Hi Cate! Grab Oliver and a platter of dessert and drink of your choice. Oh Oliver, are you or are you not still the butler beneath all your padding? No, you cannot pinch the sugar plum fairy! I don't care how cute she looks in her tutu. Go pump your biceps at Stacey!

  90. (Stacey runs in out of breath)

    Okay, that's it! Darn chipmunks! Bad enough they stuffed their little cheeks at the buffet table, then they came after my plate!

    Well, Mona...look at you. Oliver's biceps are NICE, aren't they? Oh, no, don't worry, carry on. He looks like he's enjoying whatever you're up to. lol

    Emma, cyber brandy will have to do, won't it. :) I remember them getting to sleep when they ate. Rotten little spoiled kids! Wouldn't trade them for anything. *grin*

  91. I see that Lyn, she's a bit of a sneak. Dancing out there and literally hypnotizing the whole crowd. Gosh she's in league with those pesky munchkins. Look they are sneaking past Cuddles and Junior, look how they are mesmerized. Oh no! What are we gonna do now. They are getting closer to Stacey and Oliver is still zoned out on himself!

  92. Cate--so good to see you! And you answered the question. Unless I'm mistaken, you're the first one.

    And I think that's a great reason to start the mistletoe tradition. You know what's funny...just now, I realized I don't even hang any up at Christmas. OMG!

    That's going to change this year!

  93. I know what's wrong with Oliver, it's the thought of poor, sweet, Emma, dare I say it, breastfeeding.
    He's trying to get a look and ignoring protecting Stacey.
    Sharon can't you control that butler, the munchkins are close now and the chipmunks are on the tables dancing and laughing over it.

  94. Mistletoe, the stuff is everywhere the mesmerized crowd is trying to grab some, what will they do with it?

  95. Hypnotizing people with my dancing? More like stunning them with horror! I can't dance.

    Another thing you didn't know about me.

    No-Oliver--seriously, I can't dance. Don't make me...no...

    Oh. Wow. You're good. You lead so well, I feel like I'm floating.

    Ah, the sugar plum fairy put some magic dust on my green slippers. Finally, though, I know how it feels to be light on my feet.

  96. Stacey has no idea how close she is to being taken by the munchkins, they may be small but together, whew!

  97. Don't look now but Frosty the Snowman who was waving merrily to the guests at the entrance gate is now chasing the chipmunks and trying to get some pie! And from the size of him, he'll eat everything in sight Holy moly! Or is it Nessie from across the pond? He's risen! And he's coming to get us! Where can we run for cover?

  98. Sharon hold onto me, at least we can try to protect each other as the second wave heads toward Stacey.
    Who invited those chipmunk trouble makers anyways. Can we capture them?
    Oh no they are throwing pies!
    Splat, mmmmmm, chocolate cream.

  99. Look out for Frosty. He's carrying a dozen pies at a time and he isn't missing. Sharon opens her mouth to speak and splat another pie. Pumpkin you say?

  100. Hey, I have a great idea! Party hop on over to Emma Lai's blog to read another excerpt of Mistletoe Rules, leave a comment and you'll be entered into her contest for a TWRP gift certificate.

    Then ride the sleigh back here to tell me how you liked it. Oliver, Cuddled and Junior, would you be so kind to man the sleigh? We can all meet back at the bonfire.


    Then I'll post a brand new excerpt from the last story, Mistletoe Match-up.

    Mary, Sharon, Lyn...can I post a spicy one?

  101. Already was there, good blog Stacey, but ahem, haven't you noticed the pies whizzing past you and the munchkins, the darn munchkins, are trying to grab you!

  102. I have Mary. Things are getting out of hand and Oliver clearly can't be counted on between flirting with the ladies and himself, and trying to serve whats left of the desserts.

    I think I may need to call my dad, Santa Butch. He'll set everyone straight.

    He's got a list. One side says Naughty, the other says Nice.

    You hear that Munchkins? Alvin? Theodore, Simon?

  103. Good thing we ditched the wooden clogs, Mary. Now we can run. BTW, I invited the chipmunks. They are so cute and swore they'd be good as gold. Who knew?

  104. A hush comes over the room. That threat made an impression I think.

  105. They are cute, Sharon. I probably would've fallen for their chubby little cheeks, too. *grin*

    To all the guests, don't forget to answer the question where the Mistletoe tradition came from for a chance to win either an e-copy of Mistletoe Rules or Dragonfly Dreams. I'll pick two winners on Saturday after I get back from taking the kidlets and my nephews swimming at the school pool. :)

  106. Oliver runs out, leaps on the table and blows a whistle. He tells everyone inthrees to leave, including the three chipmunks, the three stooges and the three mean munchkins. Then he commands Cuddles to rub the ruptured pies with his magic horn and they are as good as new. Junior takes the first bite and says they are delicious. Oliver, still pumping his biceps, slices a huge apple pie for Stacey, a triple scoop of ice cream atop and serves it with a roguish wink. All is right once more. Great excerpt, Stacey!

  107. Mary sits down, thank goodness the place is quiet now. Only invited guests.
    Whew, but look at me I'm covered in pie. How about zapping me and Lyn Cuddles, and whilst you are at it, how about a nice outfit.
    Peace finally, So Stacey how did you know you were meant to write? Oliver if you don't stop shoving me away I will hit you with one of my wooden clogs. Please. Stacey...

  108. How did I know I was meant to write? I always read like crazy. And my first ever manuscript took me 8 years to write. It was something I enjoyed doing. Once it was finished, I felt great. I'd started tons of stories w/o finishing them. But it didn't take long before I was bored. So I started another book, based on secondary characters from the first book. And I joined RWA, went to my first local chapter meeting, and suddenly, sitting there at about age 32, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up! It was a great feeling, but a little scary. :)

    Now, I've got that excerpt from the third story, Mistletoe Match-up. It's not really that spicy, though.

  109. Mistletoe Match-up: Derek and Lisa
    (Lisa's invited him in for hot chocolate)

    What was he thinking? That they’d sit down and talk over the good times like old friends? Good times
    didn’t exist between them because they’d never been friends. A smart man would leave now, before
    something she said or did reawakened his inferiority complex.

    Surprising regret blew in with the snow when he halted. “On second thought, I should probably get

    Lisa followed his gaze and noted the time. “Wow, I’m sorry.” She moved back into the doorway. “I didn’t realize it was so late.”

    Something about her tone of voice kept his feet rooted to the porch. Regret? Disappointment? Recalling her uncertainty when she’d invited him inside, he capitulated to his self-destructive curiosity and took another step so only two feet separated them. “I do have one question.”

    Wariness flitted across her face. She grasped the edges of her unzipped coat and pulled them together before crossing her arms in a gesture of defense. But she met his gaze and held her ground. “Just one— and nothing personal.”

    Spoken like someone with secrets. Derek filed that information for later, then pointed skyward
    without breaking eye contact. He tried, but couldn’t hold back a smile. “What’s the deal with the
    mistletoe rules?”

    Her head tilted up, then her eyes closed. “Stupid mistletoe.”

    After a deep, resigned breath, she met his gaze again, her cheeks stained bright red. “The official
    rule in the Riley house is that you’re not allowed to refuse a kiss if you’re caught under the mistletoe.”

    He grasped the doorframe with one hand, and lifted the other to brush her hair back from her cheek. She came across like she didn’t want this, but her breath hitched when he leaned close. Good so far. Better yet, she didn’t retreat.

    He threaded his fingers through her soft hair and skimmed along the smooth nape of her neck. Her gaze dropped to his mouth, then her lashes drifted closed, fanned against her flushed cheeks. The vision drew him like a magnet. He played with fire but couldn’t locate any common sense to fight the flames.

    “What happens if you break the rule?” He whispered the question only inches from her mouth.

    “Bad luck. Like you said at the wedding.”

    The husky rasp of her voice and her warm breath burned Derek faster than a scalding gulp of hot chocolate. “Considering your Christmas Eve, I don’t imagine you want to jinx Christmas Day…do you?”

    One heartbeat of hesitation. “Not really.” He closed the distance until their mouths became one. Eyes closed, he savored the silky sensation of her lips against his. But with someone like Lisa, it wasn’t enough. He wanted—needed—to taste her.

    At the first swipe of his tongue, she angled her head and opened to him with a soft sound of surrender. Her moist, sweet essence tantalized his taste buds, drawing him deeper. Typical Lisa fashion, she didn’t allow him full control. Hands swept under his open jacket, nails raked the muscles of his back through his dress shirt. She eliminated all space between them, her breasts pressed against his chest as her tongue sought equal access to the recesses of his eager mouth.

    The material of their clothes did nothing to contain the heat of their bodies. A low groan rumbled from his throat, and he brought his other hand up to cup her face. Derek walked her backward, intent on continuing the kiss inside, out of the harsh winter wind chilling his backside.

    The chime of the grandfather clock shattered their moment of passion. Lisa jerked back, putting distance between them without completely pulling free of his touch. While they both caught their breath, Derek gazed down into her wide gray eyes, as confused as she looked.

    What the hell did this mean? Them not fighting—her kissing him back like she couldn’t get enough. Hell, he wanted more. Right now.

  110. I have to have it now.
    Wonder what the truth is about some of these things. Who woulda thought that you'd have to kiss if you stood under a plant of some kind.
    What would the stand under me plant be for singing?

  111. Good question, Mary. *grin* I'd have to avoid it at all costs!

  112. I definitely appreciate the Mike's Hard Lemonade, thanks! You guys really know how to have a good time, that's for sure. ;-)

  113. I'm gonna start my own plant thing.
    Any man who stands under a tree, has to give his girlfriend or wife $5.-. Hey you never know it could catch on.

  114. Welcome Donna, enjoy your drink.
    Have some pie, these are fresh. Your favorite type. No calories and no cholesterol. Not very filling, but eh, it's pie.

  115. Oh, Mary, I think I might go deer hunting this weekend. In blaze orange without a gun. You know how many men will be standing under trees in WI for the next week?

    What if their in a tree? How about we make that $10.

    (stacey snaps fingers and bats eyelashes at Oliver to soften the delivery)

    Oliver, my friend Donna has been working so hard taking care of her family she's had barely any time to write. Can you please fetch her a lemonaide and then rub her feet? (I'll thank you under the mistletoe later.)

  116. Donna, it's been years since I heard of Mike's lemonade. A friend of mine used to drink it. Wow, thanks for the memory!

  117. Hay, did someone slip something into my last drink?

    I just said their when I meant to say they're.

    I thought it tasted awfully good.

    Bring me another won!

  118. Oh, boy! I just thought of something else you guys don't know about me.

    I've never been drunk.

    Swear to God.

    How funny if I got sloshed at this wonderful Christmas party? *grin*

    Oooh, my sister's will be so mad they weren't hear.

  119. $10.- it is! Now if only I had the power. Your weekend would be memorable.
    Look at all this food. Have your guests do seconds!

  120. I have, but just once, that's all it took. I don't drink at all now.

  121. Mary, that is too funny. Why stop with a fiver? Make it a ten? Oops, that might be taken as something else! Stacey, I honestly have no idea where the legend came from. But you know I always hated the artificial. Seems like the myth only works with the real thing. Is it poisonous to pets, I wonder. I was shocked when my cat ate my veregated ivy. Then I learned it would be fatal. He didn't even get sick.

  122. He musta used one of his nine lives.

  123. Sharon, I had a kitty die from eating one of my house plants years ago. Had him for 2 years and he'd never touched them. Go away for a week (not the first time, either) and he chewed on it. *frown*

    A quick google search says it is. "Mistletoe poisoning is rare but it does occur if the pet eats a large number of the berries."

    Junior-stick with the pies, cutie pie! *GRIN*

  124. Stacey, how funny. You know the first thing I thought of is an office party at Christmas. Shy people sometimes wind up wearing lampshades on their heads. Well, since this is Christmas and it's your party, you can cry if you wanna or get drunk if you wanna, too. Oh Oliver, another of whatever you gave our fair Stacey!

  125. You know Stacey, I've never been drunk either - merry though, yes, very merry and giggly!

    Wonderful excerpt by the way - I'm definitely going to have to get this!

  126. These comments do not always come in order. Not funny about your kitty, Stacey. What a heartbreaking thing to have happen. I never knew you cannot give a cat aspirin either. Just like chocolate and dogs. But our dog Buttons loved chocolate kisses and ate them every Christmas. He was another one that lived to be 20 and that's old in doh years!

  127. One time we went to a friends house they had a pot plant. I had no idea they had one in their yard, they never said a word. Although the tons of peace sign jewelry on my friend should have given me a clue. Anyways, while we were having dinner Junior ate the whole thing. Walked around mellow and happy for days though.

  128. Mary, that is so funny. Junior, you hippie, you! Would this be the peace sign friend?

  129. That's the one. I thought it was funny, he was fine. She was annoyed about her plant.

  130. That's okay, Sharon, it was a long time ago. Glad your kitty was okay, and so glad to hear Junior had no ill effects from the pot plant. LOL

    And part of the reason I've never been drunk is because I've seen enough of other's in that state. It does make for some good laughs!

  131. I just prefer to be in control of myself, like you said it's more fun often times to watch others act foolish.
    I don't think I'd ever be an alcoholic or a drug addict, I can't take not being aware of myself. I don't want to look as dumb as I did that one time, ever again!

  132. Am I hearing bells? Sleigh bells? Oh-look up there-in front of the moon. It's a sleigh, but ours is right here!

    Could it really be Santa?

    Squee! It is! And he's just brought me a present on my release day, delivered it right to the party!

    The first review for Mistletoe Rules just came in!

    Night Owl Reviews gave it a 5 Star, Reviewer Top Pick! Signed by Diana Coyle!

    Thank you, Diana! Thank you, Santa! I can't believe you snuck that over to me when it hasn't been posted to the NOR review site yet!

    Santa, can you tell Diana she's invited for a drink, some pie, a warm place by the fire and a mistletoe kiss from Oliver?

  133. Let's all raise our glasses to Stacey, a great review is such a boost to your writing power isn't it?
    Congratulations, great news!

  134. Congatulations Stacey, oh a good review is so encouraging isn't it, especially the first one, it's always nerve wracking waiting for that one - I'm so glad it was so fantastic - top pick, that's wonderful! Why don't you post the link here?

  135. Poor Oliver. Did he get a peak? I'm quite open about breastfeeding to the embarrassment of many. Not my problem though. My kid has to eat! :)

    I slipped out for a nap. Had to stop back and check on the party though. Looks like it's still hopping.

  136. Hi Emma, I have the utmost respect for women who are able to breast feed. I think it makes a bond between mother and child like no other!

  137. Sharon if you don't mind I am gonna keep the outfit, never know when you might need one. It fits wonderfully, but the shoes, no wood okay.
    The hat could use a few more bells.
    But it's very soft. Junior grabs Mary's hat and takes off. Typical.

  138. Fun (and warm) excerpt. Wish I knew the power of mistletoe when I was younger! Beautiful cover. Good luck on your holiday book.

  139. Hi Danielle, thanks for stopping by, make yourself at home. Have a drink, eat pie. Please eat the pie. We have tons of them.

    We could have carried the stuff around with us right Danielle!

  140. I was the same way, Emma, so don't worry about it. I covered up, but didn't go hide to feed them. Oliver probably enjoyed that peek! LOL

    Thanks for the congrats on the review. I can't post a link because it's not on the website yet. However, I can tell you she said:

    "This is the perfect anthology that mixes lots of mistletoe, plenty of passion and one jolly old man – Santa himself – and produces three fantastic stories to sink your teeth into!"

    What a great way to add to the party!

    And, I've just uploaded the Book Trailer that I finished at 1 AM this morning...if anyone wants a peek. (Sorry, Oliver, not as titalitaing as Emma breastfeeding)


  141. Hi, Danielle! Yes, the power of mistletoe. *grin* Thank you for stopping by!

  142. Congratulations, Stacey. There is nothing like a fabulous review and no doubt, you are floating on air. A toast here Oliver! Hi Danielle, yes grab some pie and cookies and a hot drink. Emma, Oliver only pretends to blush! Oh, it's snowing again.

  143. Let's all curl up with Stacey's book, get some home made hot chocolate,(lots of marshmallows), Oliver can light the fire. The rush of guests has slowed. And you have shocked us all with your surprise good news. We can put on our pink fuzzy slippers and put our feet up on the coffee table. Ahh! Sound good?
    Then we can watch the beautiful crystals of snow fall in lazy circles on the way to the ground. People are all still welcome, this fireplace is immense and the room echoes it's so big. The couches surround a warm glowing fire, so there is lots of room for all.

  144. Mary I forgot to answer you before. You can keep your comfy green outfit and the wooden clogs too. Stacey, the red dress is yours for the holiday festivities. Ah, yes, a seat around the fire sounds like utter bliss! Well I'm off to have some dinner now. Stacey, you have been a delightful guest. We enjoyed roasting you so very much. Stay as long as you like. People drop in and out at all hours. Best of luck with sales and a big hug for the review. Happy Holidays!

  145. Please Sharon, may I keep my pretty green outfit too?

    Oh isn't it lovely to be cosy and warm inside here, sipping hot chocolate and marshmallows and watching the snow floating down like little white feathers. Oliver's made sure the reindeer have shelter and hay, the chipmunks are stuffed full of peanut brittle, cookies and Stacey's special Christmas cake, and are fast asleep on the rug, snuggling up with Cuddles and Junior.

    Loved your video Stacey, and congrats again on the review. What a lovely book this will be for folks to buy for Christmas!

  146. I've been invaded for the evening and into tomorrow by nephew munchkins to play with my munchkins, but I will pop in here and there to see if you all are napping or talking.

    I had the most wonderful time today. You all made me feel so welcome (Especially Oliver--btw, hubby's gone deer hunting now--meet you by the mistletoe) and it was a blast so far!

    Thanks for checking out the video, Lyn. :)

  147. It's been wonderful having you today, Stacey, you've been a great special guest.

    I hope you've had a wonderful release date and sell loads of books.

    I'm sure Santa Oliver will be only too happy to drive you home in the sleigh, if he can rouse Cuddles and Junior to join his reindeer. Hmm, I did notice he seems to have an awful lot of mistletoe arranged in that sleigh! LOL

  148. The green suits are very warm and comfy, right? You may have it as an early Christmas present, Lyn. We all get to keep our beautiful cyber clothes! Stacey,, you have the perfect middle name. It was a joy to roast you today!

  149. My mom always said I was such a Joy to have (labor was less than 3hrs--lol).

    Thanks for the beautiful red suit to keep, my hubby will really appreciate that. And I won't tell him about the mistletoe in the sleigh if no one else does. :)

  150. We are the souls of discretion Stacey!

  151. Hi Patsy, do come and have some mulled wine, or whatever you fancy, as always, there's plenty of food around, just help yourself. That rumbling noise? No it's not thunder, it's the chipmunks, snoring!

  152. What a wonderful way to start out the season! So much nicer than the naughty text holiday card I blogged about over at www.pinkfuzzyslipperwriters.blogspot.com. Wonderful toast and tease! Can't wait to download this to my e-reader.

  153. Thank you for stopping by, P.L. and Scarlett! Hope you enjoy the book. :) Gotta go check out that card at Pink Fuzzy Slippers. :)

  154. Hi Patsy and Scarlett! Oliver is still serving desserts and hot toddies. Grab one or him. LOL Stacey, we had so much fun and are all now in the mood to decorate and bake for Christmas. Loads of luck with sales.

  155. Heading out to return the nephew munchkins to their mother--but will be back tomorrow to make sure I send out Mistletoe Rules and Dragonfly Dreams to the two winners!

    Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us!

    Sharon, Mary, Lyn, Oliver, Cuddles, and Junior--you all know how to throw a party!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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