Santa’s Treasure Hunt and Blog Hop

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Welcome to Santa’s Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.

All you have to do, is follow Santa’s sleigh as he travels around the world.

Write down the Christmas word, given on each blog. Then click on the link to the next stop.

Please comment on the Christmas stories and poems that the writers have featured especially for you.

When you’ve finished the hop, email your list of Christmas words to kazzmoss@gmail.com.

Everyone with the correct list will be put in a draw to win all the eBooks in Santa’s sack and not only are there many books, but there’s also a huge range of fiction genres for you all to enjoy.

This blog is hosted by karenjmossman.com. If you get lost on your way.

Just pop over to my blog where I have all Santa’s stops linked up in order.

Meeting Nicholas

Snuggled under a blanket in her recliner, the fire roaring, Jayne sat reading a book from her favourite fantasy author while drinking eggnog. Closing her eyes, she smiled, wishing she could have a mythical adventure and a man visit from her dreams. If only romance like this actually happened in real life.
The characters—Robert and Pippa, were a lovely couple, playing in the snow while discovering their love.
Nerina—her cat, jumped up on her knee, curling up on her stomach, purring contentedly.
“Why do you always climb on me when I’m about to get up to do something,” she muttered, stroking her hand along Nerina’s black back, smiling as the purring rumbles got louder. “Such a cutie, aren’t you?”
Nerina rolled over, showing her furry stomach, batting Jayne’s hands, getting her to rub her tummy.
A faint knock made Jayne look up and frown. Head to one side, she listened for a moment. Not hearing anything, she went back to cuddling Nerina. When the knock happened again, louder this time, Jayne sat up, her cat dropping to the carpet with a hiss of annoyance.
Standing up, Jayne approached the bay window, looking out into the dark, cold night. Snow swirled in thick flurries past the window, landing on the already thick snow covering her lawn and gardens. Leaning forward, wiping a circle on the condensed window, she peered out. Squealing, she jumped back in fright. A face was at the window, large knuckles tapping on the glass.

Moving to the front door, leaving the chain on, she opened it, glancing out. Jayne found a tall man with black hair and green eyes bundled up in a coat, hat, scarf, and boots, holding a large box in his gloved hands.
“Hey,” he smiled. “Are you Jayne Brereton?”
“Who are you? What do you want?”
“Your Aunt Phoebe asked me to drop off your Christmas present,” he grinned. “Sorry if I scared you.”
Jayne took the chain off the door, opening it wider.
“You’d best come in.”
“Thanks,” he stepped over the threshold. The house shuddered around her for a moment, making her blink. Shutting the front door, Jayne accepted the parcel, placing it on the side table as the man unwound his rather long scarf.
“Would you like a hot drink? You must be frozen.”
“That would be lovely. Do you have any hot chocolate?”
“Here, let me take your coat, then you can follow me to the kitchen,” he shrugged out of his thick wool coat, letting her lay it over a chair with his scarf. Removing his boots, he padded after her towards the kitchen.
“Wow, this is amazing. Looks like a chef’s kitchen.”
“It could pass for one, though it’s a farmhouse kitchen. The cottage is about three hundred years old.”
“Lovely and warm in here.”
“Sit down. You never told me your name?”
“Nicholas Claus…”
“Welcome to my home, Nicholas. How do you know my aunt? I don’t remember her ever mentioning you before.”

Also Meet the Guys and Girls from my main book series

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Author Bio

Claire is a Multi-genre author with over thirty books to her name, from picture books for young children to adult murder mystery series. Claire is British born and lives in New Zealand with her husband, adult children, two cats and a rabbit.

Social Media Links

claireplaisted@gmail.com 

http://myjourneyintowriting.blogspot.co.nz/ 
https://twitter.com/plaistedpublish
https://facebook.com/claireplaistedauthor
https://www.linkedin.com/in/claire-plaisted-6054816a/
https://www.instagram.com/rotosis/
https://www.plaistedpublishinghouse.com
https://www.plaistedpublishinghouse.co.nz

RUDOLPH

Jump right over to Karina’s blog to collect the next word in the search

Would You Like to Fly?

Electric Eclectic's Blog

Ka, half raptor and half man, must undertake three tests to become a member of the elite Icarian Squadron, flyers who dedicate themselves to the destruction of Summia and to an alliance with Imperiana. In order for him to succeed, he must first overcome his own fears, but in the process he discovers how Imperiana has manipulated the trials and Ka’s own emotional needs. Captain Harriman, under Imperial command, is ordered to make sure the fledgling flyers bow to Imperiana’s control. Will Ka be able to survive the trials and become an Icarian as his father was in the first war between Imperiana and Summia, or will his failure lead to disgrace and exile from the Rookery?

At 113 pages, this is a great book to kick back and relax with.

I loved it. Very imaginative. Who among us wouldn’t love to be able to fly in more than our…

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Don’t Drive By Without Stopping

Electric Eclectic's Blog

A Short Hot Romantic Read

Description

Cara had been writing romance since before the break-up of her relationship at college. Although only fairly successful, a chance encounter on her way home from a Book Signing was just what she needed.

Ewan had seen the blond beauty in her red Jaguar F-Type as he drove home from what had turned out to be a career changing day. He could still scarcely believe that he was the Super Bike World Champion but all that fled from his mind when he spotted her. He tried to forget her as they parted ways on the road, but it didn’t work and he had turned around hoping to chase her down. Seeing her parked in a lay-by was just the opportunity he needed to take the plunge.

However, both Cara and Ewan left their lay-by liaison only knowing each other’s first name. The next morning…

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How to Structure Stories With Multiple Main Characters? – by K.M. Weiland…

I use multi characters to get an end result in a story… Thought I’d share this so readers can understand how it works. Enjoy the read from K M Weiland.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

on Helping Writers become Authors:

One of the most common questions I’m asked is how to structure stories with multiple main characters.

If you have two (or more) characters who are equally important to the story and receive equal POV time, how should you balance them when structuring your novel?

Continue reading HERE

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The Adventures of a Wayward Author

255275263_265398562199854_8761098585425164998_nNot sure if the fairies have landed yet, never mind the muses. Will they ever come back and let me write a decent story again or is my life situation still a bit much for them. They sure as hell don’t like Covid. No idea where they’ve locked themselves up. Maybe it’s not me who’s wayward, more likely it’s the darn muses having a laugh at my expense.


“Hey look at her trying to write,” one nudges the other.

   “I know, right. Can’t do it without us,” they giggle.

I’ll show them. I already published a story, ‘Soul Man,’ though it’s an old one so doesn’t really count. This story was released in parts in Ghostly Rites Anthologies by Plaisted Publishing. I decided it was time the full story stood on it’s own.

Description

The moon shone down eerily on the green-grey waves, glancing on the body guiding it to the shore. Gently, the waves propelled him towards the sandy beach. His body rolling over as it hit the sands; his empty eyes staring blankly up towards the wan moon as his body finally settled on the sand. His long black hair swirled in the seawater, each time the waves rushed over his body leaving seaweed and sand on his semi naked body.

Shadow of a man looking at the calm ocean on right side of image. On left is the book description.

I need new material and do I have heaps of that after my life since 2017. Oh. My. God. No wonder the muses won’t come home. Not sure I would either if I had a choice, except New Zealand is amazing compared to where I was. This is where my heart is and my adorable man.

Anyway…

I have an idea for a new type of romance. At the moment I’m calling it ‘The Book of Love.’ It’s a sexy hot tale of a frustrated woman who want’s what those erotic author write about… in her life. Sadly she is invisible to most people around her, including her family who ignore her.
   What can she do to set her life in the direction she wants? Reading erotic books and a vibrator is all she has right now. Breda want’s something real. A gentleman, a romantic and some glorious orgasms to make her scream. Instead of her dull shabby life she had.

Will her dreams come true? How will she find her man. She adores Snyden from her latest book. He’s gorgeous, muscular and knows how to make a woman scream, after all he makes Lisa, his girlfriend in the book, scream all the time.
   Unbeknown to Breda, the characters noticed Breda’s sad, lonely life and decided to do something for her. Hang on, they’re characters in a book Breda’s reading! How could they help, they weren’t real people! The decision belonged to Snyden and Lisa. Would they pull Breda into the book and give her a good time, or would they escape the pages and turn up in her real life.

Oh the possibilities… This is why I love fiction. Be warned, this story is for adults only!! 

Historical Research for Writers

A wonderful informative post on research. I love history and have over 20 years of family history research to work with. I can find most things I look for, though this information is great reminder on what is out there. Enjoy the read.

A Writer's Path

Researching is, believe it or not, a skill that not everyone has. If you do have it you should definitely put it on your C.V.; good research is often the thing you do not see, but the want of it is blindingly obvious, especially when you write historic fiction, or you’re writing about cultures and people you don’t know anything about.

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Beware Misguided Writing Advice

Brilliant Advice … Enjoy the read.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Author Anne R. Allen published yesterday a great post titled, 10 Dangerous Critiques: Beware Misguided Writing Advice. In it, she explains how trying to please everybody who beta-reads or critiques your WIP can turn a novel into a kind of jackalope of unrelated parts.

Jackalope illustration | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Sources of the Most Dangerous Critiques

1. The Realism Brigade

These are the folks who want to know when your characters go to the bathroom and point out that it really isn’t all that romantic to have your first kiss in front of everybody at work, the window of a department store, or the middle of a snowstorm.They’ll tell you that gun has too much of a kick for a young woman to handle or that nobody could run that fast in high heels.

The truth is that most fiction is not realistic and is not meant to be.

2. The Detailers

These are…

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Meltdowns – When our emotions overload

When I look back over the amount of times I’ve moved house since I was nineteen years old… Well it’s a lot. To be precise it’s at least twenty times. We’ve had few issues with rental properties, though in the last two years there is a boom again because fewer people can afford to buy their own property. The average in New Zealand is around $975K (other than Southland). Instead of buying people are lining up to rent. One house we viewed had over thirty people sign up for the open home. It’s no wonder more people are homeless. Fingers crossed we will be able to move house this year. I’ve already had one emotional overload with things going wrong, mainly in the last forty-eight hours of our stay in Christchurch. Anxiety is horrible, though when everything turns bad within hours, it is a nightmare. I’ll admit right now, I cried for the first time since I arrived back in New Zealand in March 2019.

Luckily one of my daughters was with me, and held me, while I cried on her shoulder, stroking my back to calm me down. We managed to get everything sorted in the end, though spent $120 more than we’d ever intended. This is when I wished I sold more books and knew more about marketing, it’s a good job I’m going to do some more training this year.

What a start to a new year. Though none of this is totally crappy, it wasn’t what I needed either. There again when do we ever get what we want, life is about learning and getting your needs filled. Obviously there is something I still need to learn about life which I keep missing.

What happened?

House hunting is getting frustrating and we finally find out why. One property manager texts me and asks if we can ask our landlord to reply to her messages because they aren’t answering her calls. So I emailed them asking them to call this property manager and give them a reference. I got a concise reply, which wasn’t what I’d being expecting. In fact, I’m still peeved due to the amount of money we’ve spent only to find out our present landlord isn’t replying to any reference requests because they don’t hand them out until after the active tenancy is no longer active… aka, we’ve ended the tenancy and no longer live there. They also only do verbal references and stated we need to give 28 days notice, which we already knew. I mean we’re old hats with renting already and due to having my publishing business, I’m kept up to date with all government changes for business which includes tenancies.

Let me state now, that a landlord is not legally required to hand out a reference in New Zealand. It is something I’d think about 95% of them do. They also generally give them prior to a tenant leaving their tenancy, thereby helping them get rehomed. We also have a Bond system here to cover any damage, other than wear and tear.

The problem is… when you go to apply for another home, most property managers want to have a reference from your last landlord to verify you’re a good tenant. If they can’t get one, then you lose the chance of getting the house you applied for. The last thing we want in these days of Covid is to be homeless due to lack of a reference, causing a lack of a new home. Argh. When we told the property manager who’d text me, they weren’t amused as our landlords attitude. By lunchtime on Wednesday, I’d had enough and we went out for a walk and lunch. A long walk at that and considering my bad back, I’m rather proud of myself. On the way back to the hostel, my daughter stopped at the bus terminal to buy a Metro card so we could get to the Airport the following day. This is where the extra costs started. $20 later, she caught up with me in Cathedral Square and we took some photos of the tumbled down cathedral from the earthquake ten years back. (they are finally rebuilding it).

Christchurch is now a gorgeous blend of old and new, the sad part is the tumble down building and the vacant lots still fenced off. There is a lot of new central city homes looking over parklands where building have been cleared away. I wonder if some might be Red Zone areas, which can no longer be built on. I have no real idea at the moment.

Slide Show of Christchurch

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The following morning, we signed out of the hostel checking where to find the bus stop (thanks the reception) and set off to wait for the bus. The bus which never arrived. It was late. In face, it never arrived and nor did the next one. Getting worried my daughter looked on their website for information. Apparently there were disruptions for Thursday, though it didn’t say what. Digging deeper, she finally glanced at me. “The 29 bus is not running from 10 am – 1 pm due to a UNION meeting!”
What the hell? Why couldn’t some other drivers take over the run? We had a bus card, it would’ve cost us just over $5 to get to the airport and instead we ended up paying for an UBER at a cost of $30. This made us $50 over budget. I just wanted to get on the plane and fly home. Nope more instore for us. Stupidly we asked about our baggage… which ended up costing us another $40 and this is when I had my emotional meltdown on my poor daughter.

The flight was as bumpy as hell, though the flight was only an hour long due to the wind pushing us. Arriving at our airport in Palmerston North we had to get a taxi to our home at another $30 because my husband was in Wellington with our other daughter visiting our son for his birthday. Now I’m out of pocket for $120 and out of pocket due to our landlords lack of response for a reference for houses we’d applied for.

I think I have a right to be peeved with life in general, especially after all the money I wasted viewing houses we never had a chance of getting. We wish we’d known this prior to signing for the tenancy we’re in now… if we’d known, we probably wouldn’t have signed the paperwork.

I wonder what life is going to throw at us next. Hopefully nothing nasty for a damn change.

Negative Actions and Depression – Part Two

Actions Speak Louder than Words? NOPE

I’ve always known Actions and Words can hurt. Bullying is sadly still as strong today (though different) as when I was growing up. It’s not something you notice forty years ago, not to the extent it is now. You were expected to be strong and get over it. Some people still say this or make a bad joke out of a situation. Nobody ever helped me through being bullied. I was generally smiling in those days. Even if I was a bit broken underneath. It wasn’t something I understood at the time. The common comment if someone physically attacked you was ‘hit them harder than they hit you and they won’t touch you again.’ 

Personally I don’t think Actions speak louder than Words. I think they are about the same, just used in different ways and not always in a positive directions. I tend to be a calm person, kind to others, helpful and put my cheerful face on. This is the one which can be fake for many with mental health issues. I smile because it is better than crying. It is a rare event to find me teary these days, unless I’m in the UK where tears seem to hit frequently last time I was there. Mind I mentioned that in my last post.
14.55 (2)The last time I remember crying is about three days prior to my baby daughter passing away due to to many congenital defects. I went out for a walk, little money on my bankcard, the Auckland Domain was busy and nobody seemed to notice how upset I was. I had a coffee then left the café and sat on the grass where I cried quietly, tears running down my face, knowing our daughter would be leaving us to become an angel to watch over us. I didn’t want her to go. I wanted someone to talk to, nobody came. everyone was to busy. I was on my own. My husband was looking after our other children, though we managed to fly him up on the morning Anastasia passed over. She died in his arms. Even now, nineteen year later, I can’t believe she has gone. She was a beautiful baby and taught us so much during the time she was here.
The next time I cried was after her burial. I had literally switched off my emotions, I did it so well, it is probably why I don’t cry so often anymore. Anyway, I remember taking the children to the swimming pool (ACTION) that afternoon and I sat in the spa pool in a corner and cried while my husband and a few other adults watched the children play. It was better to see them happy than sad. This is also when my anxiety and depression kicked in fully, though I didn’t recognise it for what it was until a few years later.

I tend to get off track. I do remember a lot of action and words during these years. I have a mind which if triggered, it over things everything for days. Lack of sleep is something I’ve suffered from for years. I can’t even blame my kids, though I’m sure as a parent, this is when it starts.

I grew up learning to help others, doing voluntary work, helping my mum put of posters for the history society, doing a paper round to earn some pocket money. Most of my childhood was fun and filled with cycle rides down country roads, playing cricket on the school grounds, going carol singing at Christmas. I went to church, sang on stage, in my late teens i joined a theatre group and we did a few musicals.
Behind the scenes of life were the actionable bullying, be it kids from school or my sister. I don’t recall having many issues with my brother, though like all siblings I’m sure we fought at times.

Needless to say, do actions really speak louder than words? I don’t think they do. Words can be hurtful and push you to the edge the same as seeing a comment on social media from someone you know. Nobody is positive 100% of the time. Reminding a friend in person or private chat is far better than announcing it to the world in a social media group, none of us know how close to the edge a person is with their mental health. I have had to breakdowns due to others and life situations. They aren’t nice at all, and the worst of it. Both incidents were brought on by friends, both in actions (how they spoke to me in person) and what they actually did. This is now why I trigger so much easier and have anxiety. Then came covid, within months of me returning to New Zealand, which also didn’t help, nor did changing where we lived. I’ve lost contact with a lot of old friends in the area and due to one thing or another, I don’t really see any of them and some don’t seem to be interested in re-connecting either. I do leave messages at times, so it isn’t all on me. As for family here. Not heard a peep out of most of them in the last two and a half years.

In the publishing world, I’ve assisted many authors and writers with various information. Many have never said thank you, several others have technically scammed me. Now that did hurt. You help make sure three books an author has published won’t get you sued due to copyright infringement and help them with a fourth which they have to pay for. Then you’re waiting on book five which your contractor is working on and it suddenly appears to be published. WHAT THE HELL… Apparently, I didn’t do much and I was to expensive. I beg to differ, especially with the amount of time I wasted on them. This was from an author who I did FREE work for. They never contacted me, which is what upset me more than anything. Lesson learnt. I don’t do FREE work for anyone anymore. I’m worth more than that. As I say to people…You pay your plumber, then pay me for work done. This particular author is now blocked on social media. Talk about action speaking as loud as words…

Due to all this one of my main phrases I use is ‘Are you sure.’ This links back to my insecurity and when people help me. Their usual reply ‘If I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t ask.’ I need to remind myself to stop and realise this. It’s been difficult to move through this.
I may be quiet, though it doesn’t mean I’m not helping someone somewhere or having a few moments to myself. We all need to be more respectful of each other. We all fail at this at some time or other. Stop with the negative actions and words, be nice. We are humans first. Everything else is learnt behaviours from those around us. Value each others opinions, even if you don’t agree with them. It is their choice, not yours.

Then I found this, my friend/sister posted this on Facebook. It’s a preview of a story written by an up and coming author who has given permission to share. We will learn more about this new author at a later date. Anyway, this post resonates with me and what I’ve written.

“It’s not easy being the good guy, you know? You have to remember things like trust, loyalty, morals and respect. You have to stand your ground and maintain your focus, even when all around you, others begin to fall. You must control your emotions and confront your fears. You must learn to read between the lines, to see past the masks of illusion and find the truth. You must learn from the past, no matter how ugly it is, so you can make the right decisions, not for yourself, but for the sake of a better future.
But above all, you must understand that life in general, runs on free will. There cannot be light without the darkness, there cannot be life without death, and there cannot be free will, without something to challenge it. Life is about choosing wisely, and having the freedom to do so without being judged, for it is not up to the people to judge one another. No, Death is the ultimate judge, and those who choose wisely the path they walk, should have no reason to fear him.”

Be safe. Be good. Stay positive.