Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday Talk-Time - A Heartwarming Christmas for Everyone!

The Pink Heart Society is delighted to welcome Anna J. Stewart, as she talks about writing ahead of the holidays, and having a little Christmas cheer, complete with #GIVEAWAY!

I know, I know. *hangs head*. 

It's August and I'm blogging about Christmas?! Geez, am I really one of those people? You know the ones I'm talking about: the ones who decorate the house while Thanksgiving dinner is in the oven, the people who don't freak out because the holiday decorations hit the store shelves before Halloween is even over; the ones who stake out certain card stores because of ornament open houses (hey, they had a Wonder Woman ornament this year!). 

Yeah *insert guilty giggle here*. That's me. And guess what? I have a new Christmas story releasing this year! Even better? It's in a boxed set with some of the best sweet romance authors around. Total score for the holidays!

When Melinda Curtis, Anna Adams, and I wrote Christmas, Actually for Harlequin Heartwarming (Harlequin's sweet romance line) in 2014, we had no idea we'd be coming back to Christmas Town, Maine let alone bring in some of our fellow Harlequin Heartwarming authors to put their own spin on things. 

But here we are, in 2015, with A Heartwarming Christmas, a collection of 12 all-new, sweet romance novellas that all take place in the same town with criss-crossing characters and all sorts of holiday fun (all for only $.99 cents!). This was one of those projects that just kind of fell into line. 

That's not to say my story, Bells are Ringing, was a particularly easy one to write. In fact, as easy and quick as my very first novella (The Christmas Wish) was, this one felt like I was having a root canal. I'm betting my characters didn't feel much better about things, until I figured out the all important ingredient: friendship.

Wedding chapel owner Marnie Wright and handyman Sam Collins have known each other for forever. They may as well have been sandbox playmates and while Marnie considers Sam her best friend, Sam has always, and I mean always, loved Marnie. Nobody else has ever slipped into his heart, no one has ever turned his head. For him, it's always been and always will be Marnie. But now he's afraid he's waited too long to tell her the truth: she's got her eyes set on New York and a design career unless he can show her everything she wants and needs is right in front of her.

There's something comforting about a romantic relationship building out of a solid foundation of friendship, almost like having a built-in life preserver. But that doesn't mean a change in circumstance--or emotion--isn't scary. As Marnie feels the shift in her relationship with Sam begin to take hold, the desire to see where things lead erode her fear and trepidation. 


Excitement descends, those innocent moments she took for granted for so long now include a tingling awareness and hope for things she began to believe would never be part of her life. And with Sam? Someone she knows she can always rely on? Could she possibly be that lucky?

Yes, she can. That's not to say there won't be some obstacles for them to overcome, but when you have two characters who clearly care about each other from page one, finding their way to a holiday happy ever after is its own special gift. I hope you enjoy the Wright Sisters' stories, along with the other nine novellas included in this set. You can believe me when I say each one was crafted with a very special holiday in mind. 

 From Christmas Town, Maine to yours, happy reading!

What are some of your favorite things about the holidays? I'd love to hear about them. One commenter at random will be chosen to receive a signed copy of Christmas Actually, the 3-novella collection that started it all! Ready? Go!

Anna's Bells are Ringing story can be found in the A Heartwarming Christmas Anthology, available for pre-order now:


There are FOUR connected anthologies in A Heartwarming Christmas:


COMING HOME TO CHRISTMAS TOWN Anthology: Three adopted siblings gather for the holiday season and closure after their father dies.

THE FISHER BROTHERS CHRISTMAS Anthology: Three brothers with a Christmas Eve family tradition in jeopardy until love leads them home.

GIFTS OF THE HEART Anthology: In the spirit of Christmas, three siblings reconnect to find romance, special gifts – and each other.

THE GINGERBREAD MEN Anthology: When two sisters and their widowed mother are reunited for the holidays, falling in love isn’t on any of their Christmas wish lists, but sometimes the best gifts are unexpected…

Anna J Stewart has always had a story in her head or a book in her hand. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family centric stories with happily ever afters for her independent heroines. You can find Anna on her website, Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter, which includes a "subscriber only gift box" giveaway with every issue!

24 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely anthology! Will definitely seek it out to read.

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    1. Thanks, Beverley! We've had a fun time putting this together. Happy reading!

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    2. Hi Beverley! Guess what? Your name was drawn as the winner of a signed copy of CHRISTMAS, ACTUALLY! Please email me your mailing information and I'll get that off to you. authorajstewart@gmail.com. Congrats!

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  2. I've been singing Christmas carols since June!

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    1. I tend to sing them all year long. :) Love me some Christmas!

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  3. All month I've been singing five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, and a ... sorry if that song is stuck in your head now. :-)

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    1. It is, but that's okay, Patricia! :) Nothing better than Christmas. :)

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  4. I love anything Christmas in the summertime. Makes me think of snow and chilly weather instead of ninety degree temperatures here.

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  5. I have a Pandora Christmas channel I don't necessarily listen to only when I'm writing a holiday story! I've loved traveling back to Christmas Town with you and Melinda and our new neighbors! Happiest holidays ever! :-)

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    1. Something tells me I'm going to have to subscribe to Pandora, LOL. A whole channel of Xmas music?! Whee!! And yes, it's been great going back...and writing all new stories!

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    2. Swingin' Christmas Radio! All my faves! :-)

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  6. Loved hearing more about your story, Anna! It may be hot and humid right now where I live, but I'm always ready to dream about Christmas. Who needs AC? Lights, lights, lights…I'm all about the lights every year.

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    1. I think I will be, too, Leigh!! Still putting the finishing touches on Marnie and Sam, but I think they'll be very happy at the end. :)

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  7. Can't believe I'm going to say this, but I am ready for some Christmas right now. I'll enjoy fall first after this crazy hot summer. Great post, Anna.. Excited about all these wonderful holiday stories.

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    1. Yay! me, too, Carol! Can't wait to read everyone's! Definitely putting me in the holiday mood.

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  8. Harlequin Christmas books (and online deals), Hallmark Christmas movies and the music

    alysap AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. I LOVE Hallmark Christmas movies, too! Can't wait to see what they have on this year. :)

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  9. I love Christmas stories, specials, gifts and decor! Oh..who am I kidding? I just love Christmas :)

    jlipayer (at) charter (dot) net

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    1. Yay! Another Christmas person. Can't have too many of them. Thanks for stopping by, Lori!

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  10. the decorations

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  11. Anna, I can't wait to read Marnie and Sam's story! And I'll admit, while working on mine for the anthology, I did crank down the AC and walk around the house singing Christmas songs. With the 90 degree weather outside, I had to get in a winter wonderland mood lol!

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  12. Congratulations, Beverley! Your name was drawn as the winner of a signed copy of CHRISTMAS, ACTUALLY! I've emailed you privately and you can reply at authorajstewart@gmail.com. Happy reading!

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