Monday, December 15, 2014

**GIVEAWAY** A Celebration Christmas Nancy Robards Thompson Interview/review

Welcome to today's Ho Ho Ho Harlequin Holiday Extravaganza featuring Nancy Robards Thompson and her holiday tale A Celebration Christmas. Nancy has graciously given us the gifts of a fabulous recipe and a giveaway package that includes every one of her Celebration novels, 7 in total US ONLY for the books.
Giveaway details below.
Please welcome Nancy!!!







  • ISBN-13: 9780373658503
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/21/2014
  • Series: Harlequin Special Edition Series , #2368
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 224

 

Overview

THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL
Lily Palmer is in for the Christmas of a lifetime! When the nanny signs up to watch Dr. Cullen Dunlevy's four foster kids, she's got her hands full. The Thomas clan is the most mischievous group of youngsters she's ever had to wrangle, but Lily loves the job. After all, what girl wouldn't adore spending the holidays with a warmhearted new family—and their irresistibly handsome foster dad?

The Giveaway is for all 7 of
Nancy's Celebration novels
US ONLY
Please use The Rafflecopter form below to enter
Thanks Nancy
Good Luck!

Read an Excerpt:

Cullen Dunlevy had never begged for anything in his adult life, but right now he was desperate. "I'll pay you triple your salary if you'll stay for two more hours, Angie," he said. "And you don't have to clean up after the kids."
"Dr. Dunlevy, there isn't enough money in the world to make me stay." Unmoved, the housekeeper brushed past him. She paused at the top of the stairs. "Call me when you find a home for them.''''
A home for them? They're kids, not stray animals.
Cullen glanced down at ten-year-old Megan Thomas. All the color had drained from her already pale cheeks. Then his gaze found its way back to the hall-bath toilet, which was overflowing with some kind of expanding blue goop that seemed to be growing exponentially. The prank had been the final straw, the reason for Angie's noon phone call to Cullen at the hospital, informing him he had exactly one hour to get home because she was fed up and leaving.
What happened to the theory "it takes a village"?
Couldn't Angie have a little heart? Sure, the four of them were unruly, but anyone with an ounce of compassion could see their disobedience stemmed from grief.
The kids had lost both their parents in a car accident. Their dad, Greg Thomas, had been Cullen's lifelong friend. Given the lingering sting of his own grief, he couldn't imagine what the kids must be going through. They were homeless and alone in the world except for each other. And they were at the mercy of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
A pang of guilt coursed through Cullen. He had room for them in this big, empty house, but was that enough? Didn't kids deserve two loving parents? He was married to a job that demanded sixteen-hour days. He worked and slept, only to get up day after day to repeat the routine. He didn't know anything about raising kids. Hell, he'd thought he was doing the right thing by leaving them with Angie.
Obviously that had been a colossal mistake.
Standing there, alternating glances between Megan and the creeping blue foam, Cullen realized if he were any further out of his element he might sprout fins and gills and start flopping on the tile.
He swallowed an expletive and reminded himself that he might not be the best candidate to parent his friends' children, but the one thing he could do to honor Greg and his wife, Rosa, would be to make sure the kids stayed together. The kids would live with him until he found the right family that would take all four of them.
In the meantime, he needed to convince Angie to stay just a little longer.
The kids ranged in age from five to ten years old. They were relatively self-sufficient. In other words, Angie wouldn't be warming bottles and changing diapers. Just one more hour—give or take a few minutes—during which she could go on about her usual housecleaning duties, toilet-clogging blue foam exempted, while he interviewed Lily Palmer, the nanny candidate. At least Lily had agreed to change her schedule and move up their interview to one o'clock that afternoon.
Until he'd explained his dire straits, she hadn't been free until the end of the week. At least she was flexible. Of course, he'd cushioned the story, telling her that his temporary child care had fallen through and he was in a pinch. There was no way he was going to scare her off with the gory details of pranks and temper tantrums. He prayed to God that she was right for the kids and available to start immediately.
"I'm sorry, Uncle Cullen," said Megan. Her eyes brimmed with unshed tears. He'd known Megan and her brother and two sisters since birth. Hell, he'd known their father since the two of them were in kindergarten. Uncle Cullen was an honorary title that he didn't take lightly, especially now that Greg was gone.
"I told George not to dump the potion in the toilet," she continued earnestly.
Nine-year-old George was the second oldest after Megan, and he was conspicuously absent at the moment.
As chief of staff at Celebration Memorial Hospital, Cullen ran a tight ship and prided himself on being unshakable even in the face of the most horrific medical emergencies. However, after taking in Greg's kids, Cullen had discovered he wasn't as unflinching as he thought. But wait—
"The potion?" Cullen asked, Megan's words belatedly sinking in.
"Yeah," said the little girl. "We like to pretend we're scientists and the bathroom is our lab. We make potions out of all the things we find in there."
He tried to remember where Angie stored the cleaning supplies that produced noxious fumes if mixed together—like bleach and ammonia.
"Yeah, that sounds like fun," he said. "But it can be kind of dangerous. So you have to be careful. What did you mix together to make the potion expand like that?"
The girl had started to give him a laundry list of ingredients when Angie called from downstairs, "Goodbye, Dr. Dunlevy. I'm leaving now."
He'd let her go downstairs to cool off a bit, hoping he could talk some sense into her. Or bribe her.
"Angie, please wait."
He looked at the little girl. "I need to go apologize to Angie and try and talk her into staying. We'll talk about the potion later. In the meantime, please don't conduct any more chemistry experiments. And don't flush anything else down the toilet. Will you please make sure your brother and sisters don't, either? I'm counting on you, okay?"
Megan nodded and swiped at her tears. He ruffled her hair to show her he wasn't mad at her. He was mad at the situation, but what else could he do except go down and plead with Angie?
He was so out of his league. But when he'd gotten Megan's distress call three days ago, he'd had no choice but to bring the kids to live with him.
People could say a lot of things about Cullen Dunlevy, but no one could deny that he was a man of his word.
Six months ago, after Greg and Rosa's funeral, it seemed as if the kids were settled. They were set to move in with a great couple. Dan and Carla, friends of Greg and Rosa, had agreed to take in the kids—all four of them. They'd promised to love them as their own. But then Carla had gotten sick. Terminally ill. In the weeks before the adoption was to become final, they had to back out.
No warning. No opportunity for Cullen to point out that he wouldn't make a good guardian since he practically lived at the hospital. But he'd made a promise to Megan at her parents' funeral. He'd told her if she needed anything—anything at all—she could call him and he'd be there.
When he'd made that promise, he'd intended anything at all to mean money, a ride, advice. He'd never imagined the little girl would call, asking him to give her and her brother and sisters a temporary home.
But she had called, and he intended to keep his word for as long as it took to find the kids a new adoptive family where they could stay together—all four of them.
Cullen swallowed bile as he headed toward the kitchen to try to sweet-talk Angie into staying until he'd had a chance to talk to Lily. He and the kids would sort out the blue mess in the bathroom and their behavior later.
"Angie, will you please just help me out today? I'm desperate. I need you. Just until after the interview. And maybe to show the nanny the ropes. Then you're off the hook."
When Cullen had asked Angie to watch the kids, she'd made it very clear that her schedule was full. She'd built a nice business cleaning house for many of the doctors and professionals at Celebration Memorial. In fact, she delighted in telling him she had a waiting list, which Cullen knew mostly consisted of single doctors who worked so many hours that they were never home to mess up their homes. Of course, dust fell and spiders spun webs whether or not a person was home.
Angie had found her niche. It was a pretty good gig. The only reason—besides the monetary incentive—she agreed to put in extra hours at Cullen's house to babysit was that he was her original client.
He'd milked that for all it was worth. And then he'd made her an offer she couldn't refuse. Now she was threatening to quit altogether.
Why should he be surprised? Had he ever been able to count on anyone?
"Please, Angie. Stay."
With her purse on her arm, the harried fiftysome-thing woman sighed and shot him a pained look. The unspoken reality was that the four kids needed to be watched. Like a hawk. They wouldn't sit quietly in front of the television or entertain themselves. In the three days they'd been at Cullen's house, he'd discovered entertaining themselves produced foaming blue potions that clogged toilets and stained bathroom floors.
Angie, who had confessed that she didn't like kids, had told him that while she had her eye on one or two of them, the others would be doing something behind her back.
"It's a wonder they haven't burned down the house," she'd said. Until today, Cullen thought she'd been exaggerating.
"You don't have to clean up the mess they made. I'll deal with that. All I'm asking you to do is keep the kids occupied until after I interview Lily Palmer. Play a game with them. One hour at the most and then you can go. I promise."
He wasn't even going to think about what he might do if Lily didn't work out or if she couldn't start today.
Before Angie could answer, Cullen's cell phone rang. He didn't recognize the number. So that meant he had to answer it. Lily might be calling to say she was lost…or to cancel. Maybe he shouldn't answer.
He was already pushing it by leaving the hospital in the middle of the day, asking his colleague Liam Thayer to cover for him. Thayer was the one who had recommended Lily. Cullen prayed to God that she was as perfect for the job as Liam's wife, Kate, had promised.
"Please, Angie." He was relieved when she heaved a resigned sigh and set her purse on the kitchen's granite-topped center island.
"I need to take this call. Just play a game with them. Please. And thank you.
"Cullen Dunlevy," he said as he made his way to his office, where he could still hear the doorbell if the nanny arrived while he was on the phone.
"Hey, Doc, it's Max Cabot. Got a sec?"
Max was the contractor who was building the new pediatric surgical wing at the hospital. The entire Celebration community had rallied to raise money for this much-needed improvement to Celebration Memorial Hospital.
A door slammed in another part of the house. Cullen heard kids shrieking and laughing. Franklin the dog, who had come as a package deal with the kids, barked.
Had they been outside? Wasn't it raining? Judging by the noise level, they were definitely inside now.
"Hold on, Max." Cullen put his hand over the phone. "Hey, guys, can you keep it down, please? I'm on the phone. Play a game with Angie. Play that new Monopoly game we just bought."
His words were lost in the cacophony and the sound of running feet—like a herd of stampeding buffalo. He shook his head.
"Max, I have to call you back, buddy. This is not a good time. I have…a situation here, and I have an appointment that should arrive any minute."
"No problem," said Max. "If you're at home, I'm going to drop by some documents for you to review. I won't stay. It'll just be a drop and run."
Before Cullen could answer, Angie's voice screeched above the kid noise and the barking dog. "Get down! Get off me. You nasty mutt. You stink. Ugggh!" She made a guttural sound like an angry bear. "What is this? What did that dog get on my pants? Get him out of here before I open the front door and put him out myself!"
What the hell?
The dog's bark had changed to a protective growl.
The kids were all talking at once. One of them started crying as Angie continued her nasty-dog tirade.
Cullen put his hand over his free ear as he walked toward the kitchen to make sure Angie and the kids hadn't come to blows. "Good, Max. See you soon. I have to go."
Cullen hung up the phone and hurried into the kitchen.
"What's wrong?" Cullen asked. "Why all the noise?"
Angie had a wet paper towel in her hand and was dabbing at something brown and suspicious on the thigh of her khaki pants. The wet dog, a shaggy black Heinz 57 variety, had taken a protective stance and continued his growl-bark at Angie. Hannah, the youngest of the four kids, was sobbing into her hands. "You can't put him out front. He'll go away just like Mommy did."
The middle girl, Bridget, put her arms around her little sister and hugged her. "Don't worry, Hannah. I won't let her do anything to Franklin."
Angie looked over at Cullen with crazy eyes. "I did not sign up for this." Her hand made a sweeping gesture. "This dog has ruined my new pants with his filth and he's tracked up the floor I mopped. You're going to have to clean that up yourself along with the blue mess, Dr. Dunlevy, because I quit. I'm out of here."
She tossed the wadded paper towel into the garbage, grabbed her purse and speed-walked out of the kitchen toward the front door.
"Good! I'm glad she's gone," said George. He punctuated his declaration with a loud raspberry.
Oh, for the love of all things holy. "Angie, wait, please. Send me a bill for the pants. I'll replace them."
One hand on the door, she paused and looked back. "They cost ninety-five dollars. You can include it in my final paycheck, which you may mail to my house."
Ninety-five dollars? Was she kidding? Who wore expensive pants to clean a house? Of course, with her cushy gig, she didn't have to get her hands—or her pants—very dirty. Angie was all about making the most money expending the least amount of energy.
He and his colleagues were the ones who paid her.
Who was the smart one in this scenario?
Angie opened the door and nearly missed running head-on into a perky blonde who stood there smiling, one hand raised as if to knock on the door.
Lily Palmer? Had to be.
One look at her sparkling green eyes and her dimpled smile and Cullen had to fight the urge to hire her right on the spot. She looked like a blonde angel back-lit by a ray of sunshine that had finally broken through the gray storm clouds.
As the sound of bickering kids trailed through the half-open front door, he wondered if he could interview her on the front porch and not let her inside until she had taken an irrevocable pledge to work as a nanny for the month of December, which was the length of time she was available to nanny.
God, please don't let the kids run her off the same way they sent Angie packing.
"Hello," she said. Her smile didn't falter and the sparkle in her green eyes didn't fade despite the unwelcoming sounds coming from the house and the figurative horns and fangs that Angie sported as she stood next to Lily on the front-porch step.





Hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Thank you so much for having me today, Debbie! I'm thrilled to be here.
Tell my readers about A Celebration Christmas.
A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS is a Harlequin Special Edition November 2014 release. It's the seventh book in my Celebrations, Inc. series.
Here's a summary of the plot:
Lily Palmer is in for the Christmas of a lifetime! When the nanny signs up to watch Dr. Cullen Dunlevy’s four foster kids, she’s got her hands full. The Thomas clan is the most mischievous group of youngsters she’s ever had to wrangle, but Lily loves the job. After all, what girl wouldn’t adore spending the holidays with a warmhearted new family—and their irresistibly handsome foster dad?
Cullen doesn’t mind Christmas, but his Scrooge-like facade is there for a reason—to protect himself. His tough childhood caused him to hide behind his work and avoid entanglements at all costs. That includes avoiding falling for the deliciously tempting new nanny that Santa left for him this year…

One of my favorite movies, The Sound of Music, inspired me to write the book. I saw it for the first time as a play. Then I fell in love with the movie. I wanted to write a book that was a nod to that classic story that showcases how you can overcome just about anything through the power of love and family.
Of course, I changed up A CELEBRATION CHRISTMAS enough to make it my own. Some of the differences include: a holiday setting; the hero, Cullen Dunlevy, is a doctor rather than a wealthy navy captain; and Lily Palmer, the heroine, is a teacher rather than an aspiring nun. There are four kids rather than seven. Actually, in the first incarnation of this book, I gave Cullen seven foster children, but then I came to my senses. He and Lily were grateful because as it turned out, four feisty Thomas children were more than enough.


Nancy you won the coveted Golden Heart Award in 2002 and have since published 26 novels. Congratulations!!What is so important about romance?
Thank you, Debbie! I love romance for the happily ever after. In this day and age when the world can be a scary and uncertain place, it's so nice to know that you can count on romance novels having a happy ending.

Who was your inspiration for becoming an author?
For as far back as I can remember, I always wrote. I majored in journalism in college because it was practical and allowed me to write, but I never really enjoyed reporting. Reporting and writing fiction are two completely different animals. Then I read an interview with Nora Roberts in Writers Digest. I've always been a huge Nora fan. She was extolling the virtues of RWA and inspired me to seek out my local chapter. It was life-changing. After my first meeting, I got serious about writing fiction. It only took me three years to complete my first book. Ha ha! However that first book was my first Golden Heart finalist. It didn't win and it never sold, but it fueled my fire and made me more determined than ever to be a full-time writer.

Nancy the holidays are such a special time for me, each year my daughter and I go to one of the bazars in late November to buy crafts for gift giving. Is there a special event or tradition in the Thompson family?
One of our favorite family traditions is going out the Saturday after Thanksgiving and getting our Christmas tree. We usually don't decorate it for another week – it stands out on the back porch in a bucket of water soaking up all that liquid to give it a good start. This tradition started when our daughter was very young – it may even have been her second Christmas. We were so busy that we were super late buying our tree. But the time we went out to get it, the pickings were slim. I don't know if there was a tree shortage that year or if there was simply a high demand, but we ended up with the scrawniest tree you could ever imagine. We called our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. From then on, we've gotten our tree early. The whole family is involved in decorating the tree. I always make cookies and we have eggnog and listen to Christmas music as we decorate.


The season is also about good food. Is there a recipe you could share with us?
White Chocolate-Cranberry Crème Brûlée is one of my favorite holiday treats. It's easy - you don't even need a torch to caramelize the sugar, but you do have to plan ahead.



White Chocolate-Cranberry Crème Brûlée
Makes 6 servings

Cook time:3 Minutes
Prep time:15 Minutes
Bake:55 Minutes
Cool:25 Minutes
Chill:8 Hours
Broil:5 Minutes
Stand:5 Minutes


Ingredients
      2 cups whipping cream
      4 ounces white chocolate
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      5 egg yolks
      1/2 cup sugar, divided
      1/2 (15-oz.) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
      Ice cubes

Preparation
1. Combine 1/2 cup cream and white chocolate in a heavy saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and remaining 1 1/2 cups cream.
2. Whisk together egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add cream mixture, whisking until well blended. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
3. Spoon 1 1/2 Tbsp. cranberry sauce into each of 6 (4-oz.) ramekins. Pour cream-and-egg mixture evenly into ramekins; place ramekins in a large roasting pan. Add water to pan to depth of 1/2 inch.
4. Bake at 300° for 45 to 55 minutes or until edges are set. Cool custards in pan on a wire rack 25 minutes. Remove ramekins from water bath; cover and chill 8 hours.
5. Sprinkle 1 1/2 to 2 tsp. remaining sugar evenly over each ramekin. Fill a large roasting pan or 15- x 10- x 1-inch jelly-roll pan with ice; arrange ramekins in pan.
6. Broil 5 inches from heat 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar is melted and caramelized. Let stand 5 minutes. Garnish, if desired.


Nancy thank you so much for participating in my Ho Ho Ho Harlequin December Extravaganza. Here’s hoping Santa Brings you your fondest desires!
Happy holidays to you, too, Deb. Thanks so much for having me. This was great fun!

Connect with Nancy - Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Pinterest  

 My Review of A Celebration Christmas courtesy RT Magazine


 MEET NANCY:
Award winning author Nancy Robards Thompson holds a degree in journalism. She worked as a newspaper reporter until she realized reporting "just the facts" bored her silly. Much more content to report to her muse, Nancy has found Nirvana writing contemporary and historical women's fiction and romance full-time. Critics have deemed her work, "...funny, smart and observant." She resides in Florida with her husband and daughter. For more details, please visit her website at NancyRobardsThompson.com.






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14 comments:

  1. I am absolutely loving all of these wonderful Christmas-y reads you are posting each day Debbie!

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    1. Thank you Kindlemom, just call me one of the elves :) xo
      deb

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  2. Ooo first the White Chocolate-Cranberry Crème Brûlée sounds so yummy. Can I say I love this trope..woman taking care of kids for single dad...heck yes! Toss in a Christmas setting and I wants it !!!!!

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  3. I hate to say it, but we went artificial a number of years ago and I kind of like it. With the preponderance of scented candles on the market, I can find a nice pine scent anywhere!

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    1. Hi Holden. I like mine too especially the symmetry and the no needles falling and you're right you can get a pine scent today and one that's really authentic.
      Thanks for commenting and good luck ;)

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  4. For my family it's always a real tree :) Great post! Happy Holidays.

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  5. I totally snickered over your Christmas tree tradition. My mom and I usually go for the Charlie Brown trees. One year we went to get ours and dang near every tree in town was gone too. We finally found one closed stand that had tossed 3 trees to the curb and closed up shop. We ended up taking all 3 home with us because how sad to not end up being Christmas trees. Even if they were a little scraggly. lol We still get multiple trees and as I type I'm looking at a kinda lopsided one with big empty spots. lol I do adore him though :D

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    1. Oh Anna what a great tree story I LOVE it!!
      Thanks for visiting
      xo

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  6. I love real trees but I started out with an artificial one and since I like its shape and size, I haven't gone for a real one yet. Maybe next year, who knows.
    Great interview and giveaway by Nancy! I love her stories! And that recipe sounds like heaven! Yum! Thanks for the chance, Debbie!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Lorelie, I know exactly what you mean about real trees they're nice but I'm still sticking with fake.

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