Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Romance for the Holidays Double Giveaway!

Congratulations to Eva M. and Jeannie B-P, 
winners of ebook copies of Dawnflight in the Maze’s portion of the 
Home for the Holidays Blog Hop!

A great double giveaway is going on through the end of the month.
Don't delay—enter today!

US Residents: to win an autographed print copy of Dawnflight by Kim Headlee and other novels, enter this giveaway:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

No residency restrictions to win an ebook copy of Dawnflight and lots of other great books & prizes in this contest:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Home for the Holidays Blog Hop and Mega-Giveaway!

Click on the button to visit all the hop sites for more chances to win!

Hosted and Sponsored by the authors and bloggers of: THE ROMANCE TROUPE

Grand Prize: Shopping Spree on a $450 Amazon Gift Card

Second Prize: (1) Ebook from every participating Author,
including Dawnflight by Kim Headlee.

To enter the mega-contest: Leave a comment with this post and include your email address and the type of ereader you have. Then go visit my author site (kimheadlee.com) and the other stops for more chances to enter and win!

On my blog only: Follow this blog, add me to your Google+ circles, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and leave a comment on this post about your favorite holiday recipe or tradition for up to four chances to win an ebook copy of Dawnflight—which is the Indie Book of the Day for 11/18/2013!

The phrase “Home for the Holidays” may mean different things to different people—different holidays, different religions, different countries, different traditions, and so forth—but one thing we humans all have in common is the need to gather for special occasions, usually accompanied by food! And in the 21st-century hustle-bustle of our lives, augmented by holiday stresses and pressures, we can all use the “Easy” button now more than ever.

To that end I offer a quick, simple, inexpensive treat that can be served as a dessert or breakfast pastry. And if your kids are old enough, they’ll have fun helping you with this baking project, or perhaps even doing it themselves!

Jam-filled Crescent Rolls

  • 1 tube of pre-cut crescent roll dough
  • Your favorite jam(s)
  • Melted butter (optional)

  • Preheat oven as directed on the package for the type of baking sheet or pan you plan to use.
  • Open tube and unroll each triangle.
  • Spread a small amount of jam across the base of the triangle, no more than halfway toward the point. This is the tricky part, because the jam can ooze out and burn during baking.
  • Roll the triangle loosely and place on baking sheet.
  • Brush with a little melted butter (optional).
  • Repeat for the remaining triangles, leaving at least 2 inches between crescents.
  • Bake as directed on the package, and do not over-bake!
  • Cool before serving. The jam can get very hot.

Enjoy your treats, and have a safe and blessed holiday season!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thoughts for Veterans' Day 2013

The Maze today is not draped in black—though it would be fitting. Today it’s draped in red, white, and blue.

Last week I lost a friend. Her passing hit me far harder than I ever would have anticipated, forcing me to examine my feelings in the days after her sudden and shocking death.

My conclusion was just as shocking.

Cadet Harold Headlee, USMA Class of 1951
circa 1947
Lt Col Harold "Hal" Headlee (USAF, retired) circa 2012

Please allow me to introduce you to the Vietnam veteran I honor today, my late father-in-law. He was big, loud, annoying, didn’t pay attention to anything the women in his life said, complained about the most trivial things—like the rising cost of Chicken McNuggets(tm) and the season-to-season doings of “his” Pittsburgh Steelers(tm)—and I loved him dearly.

Hal died in his sleep the morning of 1/1/2013. His oldest son Chris, my husband, found him within a few hours of his passing, and to this day I cannot imagine how awful that must have been. Chris walked in to his dad’s house expecting to act as chauffeur to help Hal pick up a brand new car he had bought the day before. He walked out with an entirely different job, one he had long expected...and dreaded: executor of his dad’s estate.

Not knowing what else to do, I threw my time, energy, and talents into helping Chris settle his dad’s affairs insofar as I was legally enabled to do. I wrote letters. I made phone calls. I researched options. I fielded questions. I emailed heirs. I made recommendations. I wrote invitations and thank-yous. I filled out paperwork, including not one, not two but three years’ worth of unfiled income taxes. I established physical and electronic filing systems for the estate’s records. I created PDF scans of important documents. I made deposits and paid bills. I set up a memorial service and interment at West Point for the ashes of Hal and his wife Jeri, Chris’s mom, who predeceased her husband by 16 years. I could go on.

The point is, over the past 10+ months I’ve done everything but mourn Hal myself.

Today I would rather have him here—in all his big, loud, annoying glory—not just because his children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and friends miss him more than my paltry words can ever describe, but because I miss him too. Today Chris and our children and I would have joined him at our local Applebee’s(tm) for their annual Veteran’s Day meal, listening to his stories of past military missions and escapades yet again.

I have to confess that I didn’t appreciate those stories as much as I should have, and I’m sorry, Hal. I have always appreciated that you gifted your children with the courage, loyalty, and integrity you acquired as a West Point cadet and subsequently honed throughout your Air Force career. I appreciate the advice and support you gave us throughout the years. I appreciate the magnitude of your distinguished service to this country—and the magnitude of sacrifice you had to make to your family as a result.

Now I fully understand the sentiment expressed by others who wish they had kept a recording of their departed loved one’s voice.

Today I would give anything to hear Harold Headlee tell one of his stories once again.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Au revoir, Diana P. of Woofville

Today the Maze is draped in black.

My friend Diana P., pictured above on 10/1/2013, departed this world at 1:27 p.m. Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 from complications following surgery for a brain aneurism she had suffered the day before. I like to imagine she was a bit PO’d that she didn’t get to vote Tuesday.

I knew Diana as the owner of  a “boutique” pet shop in Wytheville, VA that she had named Woofville. Though predominantly a dog lover, she had given it the official and diplomatic title of Woofville and Meowtown. In fact it was our shared love of animals and puns that had attracted me to her shop—and her soul—in the fall of 2007. She was gently but unabashedly proselytizing for Obama in those days, but her naivety didn’t deter me from forming a lasting connection to a kindred spirit.

After 2009 or thereabouts, we never talked politics again except once, earlier this fall, when she mentioned a local candidate she was supporting. He was running in a different district than mine, however, so I couldn’t have voted for him even if I had wanted to. And for Diana’s sake, I truly wanted to. Speaking as someone who in every election since 2008 has voted for the only people I can trust to govern intelligently, honestly and fairly—myself and my age-eligible family members—that’s saying something.

But we did talk, sometimes at great length, about many other things every few weeks whenever I stopped in to pick up more food and toys for my pets.

Pet product information sat at the top of our chat priority, of course. Diana taught me that the healthiest foods (Canidae for dogs and Felidae for cats, Taste of the Wild, Fromm, NutriSource, Diamond Naturals, etc.), though expensive, were the best for my cats and dogs in the long run. Her wisdom has proven itself in the noticeably reduced shedding of our seven indoor cats, the longevity of our lone outdoor cat who has carried the feline leukemia virus for eight years and counting, and the health and vigor of our new Great Pyrenees puppies that have grown to be almost as large as the goats they guard. She always was giving away samples to try before switching brands, and sometimes “just because.” In fact, last week she surprised me with an unopened case of sample packages, explaining that I was her only customer buying that brand of cat food, and she wanted me to have them as an emergency supply.

I wonder if on some level she knew she would be leaving us.

Diana loved all her customers…and their owners. She took great joy in welcoming them, especially the four-footed ones, into her shop. I cannot count the number of times I would walk in to find her sharing advice about how to care for a new puppy or socialize a rescued dog, gushing over someone’s pictures or the animal itself if it had accompanied the owner, photographing a happy pair, or manning the “Woofwash” dog-bathing station she had established in the back room. Although these days I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, I always enjoyed watching her interact with her other clients while I waited my turn.

And when it was just the two of us, we often simply chatted about our families, our vacations past & planned, and other life events. Sometimes we would vent to each other about our spouses or other frustrations. I felt her thrill and pride for me whenever I would talk about my latest published novel or progress I had made on an unpublished manuscript. I know she bought at least one of my releases, Dawnflight, and was reading it via the Kindle app on “her baby,” her wonderfully bling-encrusted smartphone. I’ll never know whether she finished it, but that scarcely matters now. I may have lost a fan, but what hurts far worse is that I have lost a friend.

Today I bid Diana P. au revoir—“until the re-seeing,” rather than the more final adieu, “unto God.” Because from this moment on, whenever I observe someone advocate for animals, or speak proudly about spouse and children, or smilingly recommend a favorite political candidate, I will see my dear friend Diana again.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Romance for the Holidays Giveaway

Enter to win some e-Romance 
for the Holidays, 
including Dawnflight by Kim Headlee.
No residency restrictions! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
US Residents: to win an autographed print copy of Dawnflight by Kim Headlee and other novels, enter this giveaway:
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

And US residents still have time to enter the Goodreads giveaway to win one of 10 print copies of Morning's Journey by Kim Headlee!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Morning's Journey by Kim Headlee

Morning's Journey

by Kim Headlee

Giveaway ends November 11, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Message from Arthur on the Eve of Samhainn

From Legion Headquarters in Caer Lugubalion, Brydein, I send you greetings.
I put pen to parchment in honor of my wife, Gyan—formally, Chieftainess Gyanhumara nic Hymar of Clan Argyll of Caledonia—who celebrates her natal day today. We have been married a few short months, just since the Calends of July, and we met each other for the first time only three months before that. Yet I feel so closely bonded with her in heart, soul, and mind that it seems as if I have known her my entire life.

If you were to ask me what first caught my attention about this remarkable woman, I would have to confess it was her exotic beauty. Her brilliant copper hair, sea-green eyes, berry lips, the wild blue doves winging across her forearm all beckoned to me to learn more about her. Since I knew her to be a warrior—though untried in battle at the time of our meeting—I had expected her to act aloof, cold, haughty, arrogant. From the moment my hand gripped her arm in welcome, I knew she was none of those things.

And I think I knew—on some level, at least, if not overtly—that my heart stood in grave danger of declaring its undying allegiance to her even as I realized that to do while she remained betrothed to Urien might plunge our lands into another war.

Fortunately for both our peoples, Gyan proved herself a canny diplomat and hid her feelings about me until the time was right for both of us to declare our love.

Problems remain, of course. Though together Gyan and I defeated the Scots and bought peace from that quarter for a season, the Saxon and Angli kings remain a looming threat. Urien stands to become chieftain of his clan, and may God deliver us all from that day. And I cannot shake the disturbing thought that, should Gyan and I have children, they might fall victim to treachery from without—or within.

But I also have deep abiding faith in that which makes us strongest: our love for each other, and the love of our God, our families, our clans, and our friends. Against an alliance of that nature no power in heaven or on earth stands a chance.
Arturus Aurelius Vetarus, Dux Britanniarum

Reblogged from Blissful Book Reviews, 31 October 2013, 
the Eve of Samhain

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1. October 21st - Kathleen Foley (Review) 2. October 22nd- Literary Redemption
3. October 23rd- Nikis Book Blog (Review) 4. October 24th - Identity Discovery (Promo)
5. October 25th - Andis Book Reviews 6. October 28th - The Caffeinated Diva (Review)
7. October 29th - Out There Reviews & Stuff (Review and Excerpt) 8. October 30th - Mamas Got Flair (Promo)
9. October 31st - Blissful Book Reviews (Guest Post) 10. November 1st - Bibliophiles Thoughts On Books (Review)