Happy New Year!

new_yearsFrom bells to gunshots, from throwing things to receiving things, New Years is a time of traditions. Every culture has it’s own way of celebrating the new year. In the U.S., we like to watch a ball “drop” (very slowly and carefully as it’s actually made of very expensive crystals) in New York City and fire works fly. But many other places in the world have their own unique way of celebrating the new year.

Many Asian countries celebrate not with fire works, but with bell ringing to bring in the new year. In China people beat drums to welcome the bellsyear and bring good luck to all within hearing range (which, I imagine, would be every one). In Denmark, the sound of the new year is that of broken dishes being thrown at your neighbors house – all in good fun! And in South Africa it’s the sound of furniture being thrown out of windows—now there’s a novel way to clean out your house!

In many cultures, it’s not what the new year sounds like, but who you’re with. In many places in South and Central America, people want to be with their loved ones—both alive and dead broken dishesand so they’ll go the graveyard to bring in the new year with those who have already passed. In England and Scotland there’s a wonderful tradition of “First Footing” where people go from house to house on New Year’s day to visit and wish each other a happy new year. The catch is that the first person through your threshold in the new year needs to be male and carrying a loaf of bread (so the family will eat through the year), a lump of coal (so that they’ll stay warm), salt for good luck and a bottle of liquor to celebrate with.

My husband’s family in India would do what I think is the saddest thing of all—absolutely nothing! New year’s was just another night and another day. Yes, it was a holiday, so no one had to go out to work or school, but nothing special was done to celebrate the passing of the old year into the new.

In my family, my mother (who was not a cook, and only did so for major holidays) would make paella for our New Year’s paellameal. We would have hors d’oeuvres  of prunes wrapped in bacon, our paella filled with sea food, chorizo sausage, chicken and vegetables (everything, I imagine, we would want to eat through the year) and then a rum cake made by my mother’s closest friend that was more rum than cake.

So what are your family’s traditions for New Years? Whatever it is that you do, I hope it brings you a year of happiness.

Christmas Spider — from Dawn Marie Hamilton

christmas spider


Here is a little Christmas story I hope will make you smile…

When I was young, my mother gave me an ornament each Christmas for my hope chest. Remember those? When I moved out of the family home and into an apartment, she made this ornament for my first Christmas tree. Along with the delicate spider ornament came a story:

Once upon a time, far to the north, snowflakes drifted past frosted windows. Inside, a good mother busily cleaned the house, for ’twas Christmas eve. On the morrow, Christmas day, the most wonderful day of the year, the little Christ child would come to bless the house. When she finished, not a speck of dust remained. Even the spiders had fled their cozy corner on the ceiling to hide in the attic.

Beautiful ornaments adorned the Christmas tree. The children gathered round, clasped hands and sang blessed songs. While the family enjoyed the evening festivities, the spiders became frantic, for they couldn’t see the tree, nor be present for the Christ child’s visit. The oldest and wisest among them suggested they wait until the family slept then sneak below stairs.

At midnight, the house darkened and fell silent. The spiders crept from their hiding place, crept down the stairs, crept to the tree. Delighted with its beauty, they scurried all over the tree, up and down, over and under braches, viewing all the precious decorations.

The spiders loved the Christmas tree. For the remainder of the night, they danced amongst the branches, leaving the needles covered with webs. When the Christ child arrived in the morning to bless the house, he was amazed yet disturbed. He loved the little spiders, for they were God’s creatures, but the mother worked hard to make everything perfect and would be disheartened when she saw what the spiders had done.

With love in his heart and a smile on his lips, the Christ child touched the spider webs. The webs sparkled and shined, turning a shimmering silver, like tinsel.

Thus a legend was born: A spider among the Christmas tree decorations brings good fortune.

Do you have a favorite Christmas ornament?

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

~Dawn Marie

Sea Panther by Dawn Marie Hamilton – Christmas Eve Excerpt

Sea Panther
A Crimson Storm Novel
Book #1

This is
E-book: AmazonAmazon UKSmashwords, kobo,
Appleand Barnes&NobleTrade paperback:
Amazon, BAMand Barnes&Noble.


goodreads-badge-Sea Panther ~ a Scottish inspired paranormal romance with a Highlander vampire shifter hero, a modern damsel in distress, adventure, suspense, and romance. And a wee bit of time travel—just for fun.


A drunk banged into the table and broke the steamy spell holding Kimberly and Robert enthralled. She choked on a flat laugh. He cleared his throat.

The awkward moment thickened the air. Made it hard to breathe.

Kimberly twitched her nose. Now would be a good time to find a hidey-hole to crawl into. Perspiration glazed the skin between her breasts. God, her face must be the color of a ripe strawberry.

“I overheard you,” Robert said.

“Did you?” Just great.

“Aye.” His gaze dropped to the tabletop. He picked up a drink stirrer and fiddled with it.

Mesmerized, she watched large fingers nimbly tie the thin strip of plastic into a bowline knot. The naughty image of him using the same knot to tie a silk scarf around her wrists flashed in her mind. Where had that idea come from?

“What the rest of the crew has been trying hard not to tell you is I have a rare blood disease.” Her wayward thought splintered at the unemotional statement of fact.

She gazed into his eyes, searching for something empathetic to say.

“I have to take it easy until my doctors can find a donor with the right DNA makeup to help me. That is why I sleep a lot.”

“I’m sorry.” Oh, that sounded lame. Worse yet, she’d been thinking about sex. Kinky sex. My God, what had come over her lately? She’d never thought of having that kind of sex with Jason. Heat rose from toes to face. Thank God Robert couldn’t read minds. She reached for her mug, but it was empty.

“Dance with me?” He grasped her hand.

She nodded, and followed him onto the dance floor. “When they find a donor, will they be able to make you well?”

His eyes clouded. “I hope so.”

So did she.

He tucked her close, held her tight, smooth cheek against the rasp of whiskers, as they swayed with the other couples to the sweet melody of an Irish love song. She embraced hard muscle as she wrapped her arms around him.

How could a virile man like Robert be critically ill?

When the song ended, she pulled away, feeling awkward. He seemed uncomfortable too. They returned to the booth at the same time as the twins.

The moment Robert sat, his cell phone buzzed. He grabbed it from his belt. “Aye.” A dark expression hardened his features. “Do what you can. Tell Colin to be ready to motor out and set sail as soon as we arrive.”

Alarm pinched. Something bad must have happened.

He returned the phone to his belt and pulled her to her feet.

“What’s up?” Davey asked.

“We have trouble.” Robert pushed Kimberly through the crowd toward the back door. Davey and John followed. Once they were out in the night air, Robert answered Davey’s question, “It appears Miss Scot is wanted by the sheriff’s department.”

Kimberly wanted to explain, but he cut her off.

“Colin is stalling the deputies, which will buy us some time but not much. You two…” He directed an intense stare at the twins. “Go to the boat and make ready to cast off on Colin’s order. I will borrow a launch, and we will rendezvous offshore.”

John and Davey disappeared into the shadows.

“Come.” Robert tugged on her arm.

They ran down the back alley away from the Christmas gaiety. By the time they reached the outskirts of town, Kimberly panted for breath. She still hadn’t figured out how to explain the situation. “Captain, I—”

“Just answer one question. Did you break the law?”

“No.” She shook her head with force. “Definitely not.”

“Then you can explain later. Now, we need to hurry.” He led her behind a waterfront hotel. They jogged across the manicured lawn to a private dock with a Zodiac tied to it. Luck was with them. Keys dangled from the ignition.

The inflatable boat raced out into the dark night. When the town with its twinkling lights looked like a miniature holiday village, Robert idled the engine, and they drifted.

“I’m sorry. I’ve done nothing wrong.” Kimberly found it hard to believe the mess that had caught up with her.

~Dawn Marie

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas by Dawn Marie Hamilton – Christmas Eve Excerpt

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas
A Highland Gardens Novella
Book #2.5

Available at Amazon for Kindle
and in trade paperback.
FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas—a Scottish historical time travel romance with Highlanders, scheming faeries, a mischievous brownie, magic, adventure, and romance set in 16th century Scotland and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.


“Can we make snow angels?” Scott hollered over bantering voices.

“Yes, please,” Young Iain begged too.

Laurie urged the lads into jackets and the entire family trudged out into the snowy garden. Patrick flicked a switch. Light illuminated the area, making the snow sparkle. The lads fell onto their backs in the snow, waving their arms and legs. The imprints left behind were the images of angels. Laurie made a large one. Patrick’s even larger.

If a once powerful warrior could display a playful side so could she. Isobell dropped onto her back to make an angel of her own. To her utter surprise, Archie threw off his plaide and plopped beside her in naught but his trews and leine. As they spread their arms to make angel wings their fingers touched. Their gazes met. A thrill shot through her.

Archie’s eyes flared. He must have felt it too.

She couldn’t let the moment pass without making one last memory with him. Isobell squeezed his fingers. “Come with me. I ken a special place.”

Archie grabbed his plaide and they slipped away from the others frolicking in the snow. She guided him through the inn’s garden, along the well-trodden woodland trail, through the meadow and into Laurie’s garden and the privacy of the orchid room. Was doubtful the family or guests would visit on this most special of nights—Christmas Eve.

“Why have you brought me here?” he asked.

“Why do you think?” She hoped her smile appeared sensual.

He raised a brow. She pressed against him, grasped his hands and pulled his arms around her, placing them on her bum. His response, a firm squeeze, urged her on. Stretching up onto the balls of her feet, she leaned in and kissed him as sweetly, as passionately, as her heart demanded.

A rough sound erupted from deep within his throat, a growl, a demand, and the kiss intensified into a meeting of mouths and tongues, wet and wild. Isobell’s breath came from Archie and his from her. When the fever calmed, forehead resting against forehead, they gasped for air.

“So, that is your answer, lass?”

“Oh, aye!” She melted against him.

He glanced around the small glass chamber then stepped away. He grabbed a cushion from one of the chairs and tossed it on the floor. Then another and another. Using all the cushions, he made a fine bed.

Archie dropped onto the cushions, tested their comfort then offered an inviting hand. “Join me.”

She fell on knees on the cushions beside him. Suddenly feeling shy, she tentatively touched his smooth cheek. She had no experience seducing a man.

Archibald wrinkled his nose in the sweetest way. “What?”

“You have been with so many other women. I dinnae ken…”

“Nae so many.”

“But Da said—”

“He said a lot of things that were not true. Aye?”

“Aye.” She lowered her gaze embarrassed for having believed all the lies.

Archie slid a palm over her hair and down an arm. “I will be gentle.”

~Dawn Marie

I Heard that Suspense/Thriller Sales were rising so…

 SHIVER-Createspace Cover    At a recent Romance Writers of America chapter meeting, our monthly speaker was an editor with a well-known Publisher. As she explained what editors look for in a query letter and a submission, the discussion turned to what genres were currently in high demand.

Most publishers take months to years to get a book to the sales floor, so trends rise and fall, sometimes before an author realizes the book she just finished is not wanted by any agent or editor. Some writers try to write toward these trends, but that is a tricky business. This editor suggested you write a great book, and maybe give it something ‘extra’ to make it read as a fresh and new idea.

When she said that romantic suspense, thrillers, and mysteries were climbing high as the genres selling very well, I was thrilled (pun not intentional). You see, I have been editing a story that barely found any readers when it was published (so-called) by a very small publisher, who recently closed their doors (Thank God!) I edited the story (written 6 years ago) using everything I have learned since then; added many pages, adding to the mystery and the spicy love scenes; created an entire new cover and title; formated it and uploaded it to make it available in ebook and print.

As an extra bonus, and because the holidays are fast approaching AND because my dad will now be able to read both this story AND the bonus book at the back, I have included a military short story titled UNWRAPPING CHRIS.

Here are both Book Blurbs and Buy Links…


In a quirky college town surrounded by the mountains of New Hampshire new art history professor, Jacob Oliver, hikes a trail on a crisp September morning. He contemplates his life. Divorced and forced out of his job with the Boston Police due to a horrific accident, he spots a naked woman beneath a majestic waterfall. Escaping, he falls and injures his knee.

Destiny Blake hears a noise. Someone is on her mountain. She finds a handsome man sitting in the mud. Love blooms and lust consumes them after she helps him to the safety of her cabin. Soon, assumptions pull them apart, leaving her vulnerable to the unwanted attentions of other men.

When Jacob decides he cannot live without her, he must save her from a madman who chases her up her mountain through the cold, snowy darkness of a November night.

Ghostly voices push Jacob onward, and urge Destiny to fight back. Pain, hypothermia, and death threaten before the sun rises. Can Destiny and Jacob make it off Destiny’s mountain…alive?

Amazon     NOOK     Smashwords

Kobo     AllRomance

Print versions should be available on-line soon through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.

UNWRAPPING CHRIS Unwrapping Chris-Small

Army widow Jayne Rockwell searches for a secure future for her and her two daughters. Staff Sergeant Christopher Hawkins regrets leaving young Jayne eight years ago to go off to war. A crash encounter a week before Christmas thrusts these two lonely people back into each other’s lives once more. Jayne must learn to trust a man who disappeared with her heart. Chris must overcome the guilt of taking her innocence, and then leaving her heartbroken and alone.

A Christmas wedding brings them closer when Jayne spies him as a groomsman in Highland dress, complete with kilt. He cannot keep his eyes off the woman in green velvet wearing a wedding ring. Accusations, explanations, and remorse leads to a love that erupts among candlelight, Christmas carols, and a dark room. Who needs mistletoe?

You can also purchase UNWRAPPING CHRIS by itself as an ebook at these buy links:

Amazon   NOOK   Smashwords

iTunes   Kobo   AlRomanceE

Happy Holidays!