It's December! And that means the start of #HarperXmas! Kicking off the festivities is Jane Lark talking about what she loves about Christmas and sharing a festive excerpt from I Found You...
What are the top three things you love about Christmas?
Buying and Decorating the Tree.
For years we had a fake tree, then about seven years ago we decided to buy a real tree, because everyone said they didn't really drop needles anymore and I got the real tree bug. Now I wouldn't be without a real tree. We put it up early to get the most out of it, so a fortnight before Christmas, and it's a family outing to go and choose it. Our tree also always has a name (because of a cartoon) and the same name, that was first given by my daughter, Roger... So like a king it's Roger the whatever number every year. And then there is the joy of opening all the boxes you haven't looked in for a year and getting out all the glittery things to decorate it I love the fairy on the top best :D It gives me good chills even thinking about it. I always call it getting Christmas out of the box.
Family and friends
We've spent most Christmas's as a little threesome, my husband, my daughter and me, but now my Mum and Dad have been freed from other commitments they come over too, and getting together with others makes it a really different sort of day. Feasting in a small crowd never quite feels the same.
I take the week off between Christmas and New Year, and I love the days in between, late starts, loads of time for writing, with the flames in the wood-burner keeping me warm as I curl up on the sofa in a Christmas Jumper, and have the christmas lights twinkling on the tree in the corner, and that's when people pop round, so there's usually lots of mulled wine, christmas port, nibbles and games. I-do-love-a-mulled-wine ;)
What was your best Christmas present?
The guitar I got when I was eight, I always wanted to be able to play an instrument and I love the guitar! It's so cool watching people play it! :D
What was you worst Christmas present?
The guitar book I got when I was eight to teach myself how to play guitar :( I'm rubbish at learning from books, I'm an activist, I never read instructions, I always learn by doing, and I am not a natural musical genius - my parents didn't pay for lessons. #I-never-learned-the-guitar... Ha Ha Ha. My brother did though, a friend taught him on my guitar. Maybe it'll be on my next to do before list.
What's you best memory of Christmas?
I can't pick just one, I have two. My first one is of my daughter, it was her second Christmas, she was 18 months old ( she is a lot older than that now). I went into her room in the morning to wake her up. She stood up in her cot rubbing her eyes and then looked at her pile of presents in sparkly paper all covered in bows with absolute awe and then excitement. The second one is from when I was about ten maybe. It was Christmas Eve and my dad had spent an hour in the kitchen in the evening. Another factor is - I had a knee length school coat with a red lining. Now after my brother and I had gone to bed, there was a noise outside my bedroom and my door opened, then my dad came in crawling upright on his knees, with a white beard made out of toilet tissue (yes, what he had been doing in the kitchen) and my school coat on turned inside out, with his shoes tied to his knees. He said "Ho, ho, ho." Then went out to go into my brother's room, and I chased him, jumped on his back and pulled off his beard :D
What are you looking forward to this Christmas?
Besides all of the above things in my best Christmas list, a tasty turkey dinner and cold turkey and bubble and squeak the day after ;)
As part of the Harper Xmas event, I thought I'd give you a little peek into Jason and Rachel's lead up to Christmas in I Found You. The story plays out over Christmas time. All my stories have a very strong family leaning as well as lead character focuses, with good and bad relationships, and in I Found You, Jason is a real family guy, so when he falls for a girl his parents don't like, it leaves him stuck in the middle and having to choose his priorities, Rachel or his family... That's a horrible ask over Christmas. (He has loads more dilemmas too, but I'll leave you to find those out in the book ;) )
Excerpt from I Found You
“I was thinking…” This was also shouted, but then he came to the bedroom door. “What would you say about going back home with me for Christmas, to Mom and Dad’s?”
My heart hammered, and my hands hesitated as I dished up his food. “Jason, they hate me.” We’d only been together for five weeks, I’d never lived this normal sort of life, but wasn’t five weeks a little early to be showing me off to his folks. Especially when they’d made it plain they disapproved of me.
“Rach.” He came toward me. “I know it’ll be difficult, but I want them to like you, and I don’t want to tell them about the baby over my cell. I want to tell them in person. Do you think you can handle it?”
I shrugged. I didn’t want to meet his family. I knew they blamed me for him and Lindy splitting up, and they liked Lindy. I wanted to be with him, yes, but I didn’t want to play the whole happy family thing with his parents. I didn’t know how to do it.
“They’ll like you…” His hand ran through my hair. “…when they meet you. They’ll see what I see in you.”
I wasn’t so sure.
He kissed my cheek, then moved behind me, wrapped his hands about my waist and kissed my neck, before whispering to my ear. “I love you, I won’t let them upset you, but I know they’ll take it better if we go there.”
I still hadn’t gotten used to him saying those words. I love you. He said them like he really meant them too.
I rested my head back on his shoulder. This was his parents he was speaking of, his parents who cared about him, and I knew he cared for them. He loved them, too. I shouldn’t keep him away from them then, just because of my fears. He’d said he was committed to me and the baby. I shouldn’t have anything to be afraid of.
I sighed, as his lips brushed my neck again. I should go back with him, and support him in putting things right with his mom and dad. I guess this was payback for crossing the bridge to the nice side of life.
“Yeah, okay, if you wanna go…”
He lifted me off my feet for a moment, swung me round and then set me back down, before turning my head and kissing my lips, then saying against them, as he looked into my eyes, “We’ll go the day before Christmas Eve and stay for five days. You’ll need to get the time off work. Will that be okay?”
“Yeah, probably, they can ask the students to do more shifts over Christmas anyway.”
“You’re wonderful. I’ll book the tickets today.”
“No, you, are the wonderful one.” I was terrified, and Christmas was only a week away. I wasn’t wonderful, and he really ought to know it before he took me home to meet his mom and dad. Perhaps I should say… I sighed. I didn’t want to risk him walking away now, I’d only just got used to his kindness, I didn’t want to lose it, or him. Seriously though when was the moment to share the reason for all the wrong decisions I’d ever made in my life and warn him there was likely gonna be a lot more. I wasn’t who he thought I was, not really.
Jason and Rachel's story in I Found You continues in their free Halloween scene in I Still Love You and I'm Keeping You, and they appear in all the contemporary books about their friends and family, Just You, I Need You and Free Me (and there's more to come).
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Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional historical and contemporary romances and a kindle bestselling author, who has been shortlisted twice for the UK's readers' romance awards. She began her first novel at sixteen, but fate derailed her. She has Ankylosing Spondylitis yet continues to have a reputation as a prolific writer. When she completed her first novel at thirty-five it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I'd like to write a novel. Now Jane is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations. She is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development and uses her knowledge of psychology to bring her characters to life.
“Basically I love two things, history and I’m a sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction, and my understanding of people helps me create the intense relationships that capture the mind and the heart.”
I Found You
On Amazon http://ow.ly/sEBvc
On Barnes and Noble http://ow.ly/rthJX
On Kobo http://ow.ly/rtihL
On Amazon http://ow.ly/vaqnc
On Barnes and Noble http://ow.ly/wtIEC
On Kobo http://ow.ly/wtJww
I Need You
On Amazon http://ow.ly/Bmc6l
On Barnes and Noble http://ow.ly/D6U6C
On Kobo http://ow.ly/D6USk
I Still Love You
On Amazon http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UF812PY
On Amazon http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UF812PY
On Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-still-love-you-jane-lark/1121368674
I'm Keeping You
To be released... Follow Jane Lark on Amazon to know when it's published.
Currently only available in ebook format via Amazon (note the free kindle app can be downloaded on any phone, tablet or laptop)