Carla Kelly’s Christmas Collection

CKCC CKSTORY: The Christmas Ornament: When the father of his now-deceased best friend hints that he should consider his daughter as a potential wife, Lord James Crandall isn’t sure he can get past the fact that he used to tease her mercilessly when she was just a girl. But once he finds out how brilliant her mind is, he’s not sure he can get past the fact that she’s a woman. Add in the fact that her charms have garnered the attentions of other gentlemen, Lord Crandall is in for quite the roller coaster Christmas.

Make a Joyful Noise: Widower Marquis Peter Chard is grateful for his two children, but not so grateful when his mother gives him the chore of recruiting people for the parish Christmas choir competition. When recently widowed and pregnant Rosie Wheatherby turns up with the voice of an angel and the looks to match, Lord Chard isn’t about to let her get away from the choir . . . or his family.

An Object of Charity: Stuck on land while his ship is being repaired, Captain Michael Lynch is approached by his late first mate’s niece and nephew. Learning they are destitute, he decides to take them home with him for the holidays, returning for the first time in 22 years ago. As he spends more time with them and unburdens his heart to the young woman, she replaces his hurt with love in time for a very special Christmas.

The Three Kings: After her brother is shot by the French in Spain, Lady Sarah Comstock is forced to travel across the war-torn countryside with a Spanish Colonel. As Christmas quickly approaches, Sarah learns about the Three Kings giving gifts to the Christ child and finds a gift of her own that she can share—her heart.

REVIEW: It’s not really a Christmas if you don’t read or re-read Carla Kelly Christmas story, and in this book you get four!

This is a reissue, so pay attention because you might own it already, and in that case, dig it out and reread it. It’ll make you feel warm all over again…

All four blurbs are sufficient enough to give you a good hook to each story, so I’m skipping on summarizing them for you.

This collection of four short Christmas novellas is classic Carla Kelly and even though the stories are short, each one delivers on plot, pace and depth of characters. Each story is unique, heartwarming and sweet romance.

I adored the hero of the first one as he awkwardly approaches the woman he finally realizes is his equal and a love of his life.

Again in the second story, I just fell for the hero that ‘fell’ into his mother’s scheme and found love in the most unexpected place.

The third story was a bit darker than the other three, and I rooted for the hero that finds himself as well as someone to love.

And in the last story, our heroine who is English finds out that she can love someone who is not. This story was fast moving with action, but it ended abruptly and it left me wanting.

Each of these stories has a bit of everything for everybody: romance, humor and what we all need for the Christmas season, faith in humanity and in our Savior.

Highly recommended!

Melanie for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

How I Became an Author by Carla Kelly

MLVK CKI suspect many of us slide into what we do in life, because the circumstances were right. I’ve always liked to write. Why? Who knows?

Purely for my own entertainment, I am certain, I wrote my first book at age 6. It was called The Old Mill, and contained two sentences. Most of my efforts were expended on the construction paper cover, with the drawing of an old mill. Here’s the crazy part: those two sentences had a plot.

From six through 12, I wrote short stories and some poetry, the usual route of young writers, I suppose. In junior high, Mrs. Berstein let me build my spelling sentences into a short story, rather than just unrelated sentences. Thank you, Mrs. B, for that exercise in bending words to my will.

In high school, I fell into the clutches of Jean Dugat, who taught English and journalism at A.C. Jones High School in Beeville, Texas. What a teacher. She was exacting, demanding and difficult. For a few years I wavered between hating her and fearing her. When I was a junior, I caught the vision that if I listened to her, and did what she demanded, I could become a professional writer.

So it proved. My senior year, I was associate editor of our high school newspaper. My specialty was feature writing, which is a nice mix of creativity with journalism. Some state awards came my way, but the best part was the confidence that came from knowing how to treat a sentence to make folks sit up and pay attention. Thank you, Miss D.

College followed and degrees in history. Papers were a breeze (refer to above paragraph). Marriage and children followed. Busy times. We lived in Wyoming, where Martin taught theatre at a community college. I spent my summers as a seasonal ranger/historian in the National Park Service, working at Fort Laramie.

It was there that I started writing short stories about the frontier army, and found an outlet for them in magazines. A couple of Spur Awards from Western Writers of America came my way. I kept writing and selling longer and longer short stories.

A novel came next, Daughter of Fortune, which tells the story of the Pueblo Indian uprising in 1680 in colonial New Mexico. I acquired an agent along the way, and she suggested I write Regency Romances, which I am still doing. Thank you, Eileen.

I’ve become a specialist in Regencies focusing on the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy in particular. I credit my dad for that, a career officer in the U.S. Navy. Thank you, Dad.

Also along the way, I acquired some loyal readers, so there is always a market for my Regencies. I switched from Signet (two Rita Awards there from Romance Writers of America), to Harlequin in 2004, and continue to write Regencies. Harlequin also kindly let me write a novel based at Fort Laramie in 1876. It will be out in April, and has been tagged as part of a Harlequin promotional sent to 320,000 potential readers. And now there are ebooks of my earlier Signets available. Thank you, technology.

Through the years, I’ve become acquainted with helpful editors, one of whom invited me to write for CamelPress in Seattle. I’m writing a historical mystery/romance series for them, set in 1780s colonial New Mexico. I like borderlands history. I’m also taking a look at my own Mormon background with LDS-themed novels. I’ve written four of those so far.

Where from here? Who knows? I like to write.

GIVEAWAY!

What about you What’s your passion and who made an impact on it? One commenter will get a signed copy of ‘My Loving Vigil Keeping’. [*US ONLY]

Carla KellyAuthor Bio: Award-winning author Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America.

Recently, she’s been writing Regency romances (think Pride and Prejudice) set in the Royal Navy’s Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars between England and France. She comes by her love of the ocean from her childhood as a Navy brat.

Carla’s history background makes her no stranger to footnote work, either. During her National Park Service days at the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Carla edited Friedrich Kurz’s fur trade journal. She recently completed a short history of Fort Buford, where Sitting Bull surrendered in 1881.

Following the “dumb luck” principle that has guided their lives, the Kellys recently moved to Wellington, Utah, from North Dakota and couldn’t be happier in their new location. In her spare time, Carla volunteers at the Railroad and Mining Museum in Helper, Utah. She likes to visit her five children, who live here and there around the United States. Her favorite place in Utah is Manti, located after a drive on the scenic byway through Huntington Canyon.

And why is she so happy these days? Carla is enjoying writing for an LDS audience now, where she feels most at home.

Find Carla at: Her Blog

‘My Loving Vigil Keeping’ by Carla Kelly

MLVK CKBOOK BLURB: To Della Ander’s relatives, it seems like an absurd whim when the young educator accepts a contract to teach in Winter Quarters, a coal mining camp near Scofield, Utah. After all, she lives with a socially prominent family in Salt Lake City. Why teach in a place as hard as a coal mining camp, even if the Winter Quarters mines have an enviable reputation for safety?

It’s no whim to Della. She yearns to reconnect with the life she knew as a child, before tragedy yanked her from a home equal parts ramshackle and loving. But when disaster strikes, what the teacher learns in Winter Quarters will change her life forever, and her heart.

Based around the true events of the Scofield Mine Disaster of 1900, this suspenseful new romance from award-winning and bestselling author Carla Kelly is sure to please longtime fans and new readers alike. Thrilling and heartfelt, it’s a must-read.

REVIEW: Carla Kelly is an undisputed champion in storytelling, be it Regency or Inspirational. I don’t get this ‘hate-on’ of the LDS based and inspired romance that she’s been giving us from time to time. For me, a romance is a romance, hot or mild. It’s the characters and their getting to their happy ever after I love reading about, and if that is well written, plotted and passionately told, I’m there!

And that’s exactly what I got reading this story. Not to mention a piece of history I was never aware of happening in the part of our country I’ll probably never physically see, yet now I can safely say, I saw through this authors wonderful and vivid retelling of it.

Della’s journey, her attitude, strong character and conviction to persevere despite the obstacles thrown her way, was an inspiring, heartwarming and heartbreaking story to follow.

Carla Kelly manages to tell this story in such a way that it never, ever sounds preachy despite references to the Mormon religion.

While every character was well-developed with real depth to them, the history behind the mining disaster made this story more real and very emotional.

At first I wished the romance and pace of the book would have  unfolded a bit faster, but then I changed my mind. It’s the pace that allowed me to appreciate the romance and the plot more because it made the story real and had me ‘see’ history, places and people I would otherwise never ‘meet’.

This truly is an inspirational, sweet and touching romance I was glad to read.

*Book provided by Cedar Fort publisher

‘Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand’ by Carla Kelly

MDPHH CKSTORY: Playing with Fire — Young widow Roxanna Drew was fair game in the sport of cads. Her suddenly impoverished state made her as vulnerable as her beauty made her tempting to men with more money than morals. Lord Marshall Whitcomb, who held her purse strings in his pawing hands, was intent on luring her into his bed. But even more dangerous was Lord Winn, who owned the dwelling where she sought refuge. The dashing lord reminded the widow that the lure of sharing a warm bed on a winter’s night might indeed be worth the risks.

Lord Winn had trusted one woman and been betrayed. That disastrous marriage had endowed him with a wariness of females in general, and prospective wives in particular. But when the door to the dower house on one of his estates was opened by a woman with a cautious smile and memorable brown eyes, he knew here was danger to avoid at all costs — if he really wanted to…

REVIEW: I loved the start of the story in which our heroine Roxanna Drew, a widow with two little ones, is faced with a problem of where to live after she vacates her vicar husbands living. We are in her point of view as she takes her daily constitutional while she mulls over this problem, and I just kept chuckling. This story is one of those classical regency tales that will touch your heart and make your eyes mist.

She comes upon Lord Winn’s run down dower house and immediately decides to confront a care taker about renting it. The caretaker, after talking with the young widow and understanding her dilemma, is more than glad to help her out, figuring that Lord Winn wouldn’t mind if someone occupied the cottage and took care of the repairs and brought it to its former beauty.

We find our hero, Fletcher Rand, Lord Winn, as he’s trying very hard to tune out his three loving and at times overbearing sisters who would love nothing more than to see him married. This is the reason Winn is more than ready and willing to abandon London and head out to inspect many of his holdings.

One of those properties is Morland and Winn arrives in the middle of the night during the snowstorm, seeking shelter in Roxy’s home.

Carla Kelly never disappoints as she breaths life, real problems and issues, and just pure humanity into every character she introduces me to.

She makes Roxy flesh and blood, and not some over the top heroine, and the hero comes off as someone who is a mix of Beta and Alpha, and just an overall male that has many questions and doubts about love and life while contemplating a second marriage.

Carla Kelly’s writing style will pull you in her regency world so deep that you’ll never want to leave it! She has a special way of creating such vivid characters that are not just three-dimensional, but so real that you can almost touch them. And that goes for every one of them, not only the main ones.

In this story, you’ll meet Mr. Tibbi Winslow, the steward of the Morland estate who will make you wish there were more men like him to stand up to the bullies; Marshall Drew, Lord Whitcomb, the brother-in-law to our heroine, who was such a selfish and slimy character that I could have had him neutered given the chance; Amabel, Lettice and Clarice, the three sisters of our hero and as you get to know them through their brothers knowledge of them, you’ll be brought to bursts of laughter as he predicts their behavior toward him; Helen and Felicity, the two daughters of Roxy that will break your heart as you watch them burrowing into Winn’s, one small bit at the time, and you’ll even get a peek into deceased husband of Mrs. Drew, Anthony, whose love for his family never wavered and whose life was filled with love of his wife and daughters.

I really loved this story and I didn’t miss the lack of sensuality one bit. If you’re into the traditional, sweet and pure regency, you’ll not want to miss this one. On the other hand, if you’re into the erotica and sensuality filled stories, this won’t be your cup of tea.

For me, I can go both ways and at times I go out of my way to find stories such as this one. Variety is the spice of life, after all!

Book supplied by Publisher