Archive for the ‘Christmas book’ Category

BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna blog and contest!

January 5, 2018

BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna
a deep, incisive blog on why I wrote this book. And there’s a giveaway contest as well!

http://harlequinjunkie.com/spotlight-giveaway-boxcar-christmas-by-lindsay-mckenna/

http://www.lindsaymckenna.com

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT #3 OF CHAPTER 1 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna

December 18, 2017

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT #3 OF CHAPTER 1 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna

Exclusive excerpt #3

12.18.17

Travis Ramsey was behind the counter of Ramsey Fishing Guides when the bell above the door tinkled, telling him he had an early morning visitor. His fishing guide business was mostly dormant during this time of the year and he had little to do over the coming winter months. Next April when the snows left the Bitterroot Valley where Hamilton sat, fishermen from around the world would stream in to take advantage of the world-class trout in the creeks and river. Looking up, he saw a young woman, her short black hair emphasizing the paleness of her features. Straightening, he saw her look around the large, two story building. As her blue gaze met his, he frowned. She was wearing an Army jacket. A real one, with patches that he quickly recognized. Had she bought it at an Army-Navy store or was she the real deal? She was tall, her shoulders thrown back, wearing a heavy Army rucksack on her back. His gaze dropped to her long legs wrapped in denim to her boots. Those were Army boots. There was something about her, a sense that she was probably ex-military. So was he.

“Can I help you?” he called, walking toward the end of the maple counter that had been in his family since the late 1800’s. He saw her blue eyes narrow upon him, silently evaluating him. There was a glittering intelligence in them, something he rarely saw outside the military. Her fingers tightened around the strap of her rucksack curved across her shoulder. He’d been a Delta Force operator and missed nothing. If she was ex-Army, she didn’t act like office personnel at all. No, she was carefully assessing him on every potential level as he was her. There had been women in Delta Force for over a decade. She certainly behaved like an operator and his respect for her was already amping up. He halted at the end of the counter. “I’m Travis Ramsey. How may I help you?”

The woman looked disheveled, but clean, her clothes showing wear and tear. Something pinged his intuition as she headed toward him, her lips set in a line that suggested she was afraid of his response to whatever she wanted or needed from him. Travis couldn’t prove it, but he never dismissed an intuitive hit. It had saved his life way too many times.

“I’m Jesse Myers. I was walking in the woods along the Bitterroot River when I saw a red caboose in the nearby meadow. I went to the county Recorder’s office here in Hamilton to find the owner and they said it belonged to you.” She hesitated and then said, “I’m looking for a place to rent. I have a part time job at Katie’s Koffee Bean down the street. I can’t afford much, but I would take good care of that boxcar if you’re open to renting it to me.”

Stunned by her request, he nodded, watching fear and hope alternate in her eyes. “You did your homework.”

Jesse managed a weak smile. “It’s my nature. I fell in love with the caboose and thought it would be a great place to stay. I’m not making enough money to rent something in town, yet. I could clean it up, maybe paint it and repair some of the things inside and make it livable once more. I’m pretty good with mechanical and electrical stuff.”

Travis liked her low, husky voice. She might be fearful that he’d say no, but she stood her ground and kept good eye contact with him. “You have family around here?” Hamilton was a town of four-thousand plus people and he knew all of them because his family was one of the first to settle in this town.

Shaking her head, she said, “No, sir, I don’t. I was born and raised in Billings, Montana, and that’s where my folks live.”

Things didn’t add up. “And you’ve come to Hamilton to get a job?” Travis knew there were no jobs after tourist season, which ended in late September and didn’t begin again until the first of April. Everyone who worked here was seasonal. What was her story?

“Yes, sir, I have. Growing up, my parents favorite place to go for a weekend or a vacation was Hamilton. I’ve always loved this small town, the people, and how it’s surrounded by nature.” She gave a slight shrug. “I’m not a city person even though I was born in Billings. I need the outdoors, the woods, the water and the quiet.”

She appealed to him on so many levels that Travis felt momentarily rocked by that unexpected awareness. Jesse’s short hair was mannish in cut and that triggered something in him that he hoped to explore with her. “Listen, I’ve got an espresso machine at the rear of the store. Why don’t we go back there, have a cup of coffee and we can talk?” He gestured toward the front door. “There isn’t going to be anyone coming in today. I just bought a half-dozen fresh pastries from the Las Palomas Bakery next door. Let’s talk further in my office?” He wasn’t looking for a woman, but damned if Jesse Myers didn’t call strongly to him, man-to-woman. She was clearly mature for her age, had morals and values because she went to the county office to find out who owned that caboose and then asked to rent it. He’d seen some vets who passed through the area in the summer who squatted and used the caboose, never asking if they could stay there or not. He liked her honesty.

“Well…”

He gestured toward the other end of the store. “Come on. It’s early and I don’t know about you, but hot coffee is something we can all use this time of morning.” Military people were coffee hounds of the first order. He saw her eyes widen momentarily, those thick dark lashes emphasizing them. Pleased, he saw the offer appealed to her.

“Sounds good, Mr. Ramsey.”

“Call me Travis and you can put the ‘sir’ away, too. I’m ex-Army. Are you?” he asked, walking down the length of the counter. He met her at the other end and opened the door to the tourist area of the shop. The waiting room was large, lots of wooden chairs with cushions spaced neatly around the perimeter. At one end was a long table filled with paper coffee cups, boxes of assorted teas, sugar, cream, and spoons, and a very expensive espresso machine. “Put your rucksack on a chair and have a seat,” he invited. Partly shutting the door, he went and turned the machine on. “Coffee? Espresso? What’s your poison?” He grinned a little, wanting the tension she carried to dissolve. He saw her gently set the fifty-pound pack on the floor next to the chair where she sat down.

“Just plain coffee is fine. Black. Thank you.”

Her manners were all military and Travis nodded, getting busy making her that coffee. “Reach over and grab yourself a donut or two,” he said, pointing to a box near where she was seated. “Help yourself. Alex Delgado, the daughter of Hector and Maria, now runs the bakery and she’s known as the queen of pastries around Hamilton. They all taste great.” Jesse was a tall, big boned woman and he noticed how the wrinkled Army jacket hung on her frame. He saw her look wistfully at the pastries and lick her full lower lip. Her hands were taut against the thighs of her jeans. She was hungry. The realization hit him hard. In black ops, it was the little things, jigsaw puzzle pieces that alone, didn’t tell much. But as an operator in Afghanistan for far too long, it was all these tidbits that came together to paint a fuller picture of a situation. Or in the case of Jesse, that she was definitely an Army vet. There was no question in his mind about that.

Further, she had hesitated momentarily at the door to the coffee room to thoroughly evaluate it. This told him she was clearly an operator, not some office assistant. Maybe she was an Intelligence officer or maybe an operator out in the field like himself? When she came into the room after sweeping it thoroughly in a moment with her gaze, she deliberately sat down in one corner, at the end of the table, her back up against a wall, facing the only exit door. An operator always did that. As he put the coffee into the machine, placing a white paper cup beneath the spout, he began to cobble more of her story together in his head. If she’d been in combat, more than likely she had PTSD. The fact that she wasn’t at home after leaving the Army told him that. He had many friends, ex-Delta operators, who had their marriages go bust after coming off a deployment because of the years of accumulated PTSD and being unable to adjust to civilian life again. They couldn’t go home to their parents, either, because they wouldn’t understand the flashbacks, the nightmares, and the ongoing anxiety they carried in them 24/7/365, either.

His mouth flexed in sympathy as he watched her from the corner of his eye. She rose in one fluid motion and picked up a paper napkin, her long, elegant looking fingers hovering over the mouth-watering array of pastries. When she leaned over, her jacket opened and he saw she was wearing a desert tan shirt he was very familiar with. It was an operator’s shirt, with camouflage print on both long sleeves and a tan torso core of one color. Yeah, she was black ops, no question.

“Where were you stationed in Afghanistan?” he asked, turning and placing the steaming brew on the table next to where she’d sat down.

Jesse froze for a second, transfixed by the man’s large, slightly narrowed gray eyes as he buttonholed her with that question. His dark brown hair was cut military short, his beard clipped close, showing off his square face and giving him an air of dangerousness. Trying to slough off her shock that he knew what she was in the Army, she replied, “Nangarhar Province.” Tensing, she saw several emotions flit across his face. How the hell would he know that about her? She hadn’t answered his question earlier about being in the Army. The chocolate éclair teased her wide-open senses. Her mouth watered. The scent of the sugar, vanilla pudding and chocolate was too much to resist and she bit slowly into it, savoring it as if her life depended upon it. Closing her eyes, she made a humming sound in the back of her throat. The world stopped in that moment as she tasted the luscious, thick chocolate coating. He finally swallowed, feeling it hit her hungry stomach, the urgent amount of strength that it created within her as the glucose shot into her system.

Slowly, her senses moved outward once more and she heard Travis tinkering with the espresso machine, the fragrance of chocolate surrounding her as the machine hissed and steamed. Opening her eyes, she saw he was making a large mocha latte. He was a tall man, at least six-foot-tall and broad shouldered. The blue plaid flannel cowboy shirt he wore stretched against his powerful chest, with a black leather vest worn over the shirt. He was someone who was in top shape, probably in his late twenties, she would guess. There were a lot of crinkles at the corners of his gray eyes, telling her he was outside a lot. She liked his short dark brown hair that sported reddish strands among them.

She decided to take a closer inspection of him because no one was a mind reader. His hands were large, square and calloused. When he made a gesture, she saw that he sported a thick callous on the inside of his right index finger, his trigger finger. Black ops all had that telltale sign. She had it on hers, as well. And he might have spotted it on her hand after she’d removed her gloves. When she’d come into the store, she’d seen him suddenly shift almost invisibly, into a heightened space of alertness aimed at her. It was nothing obvious, but her senses were far too honed not to pick it up and now, she was beginning to put together that this man standing in a cowboy shirt, jeans and scarred, well-worn leather boots, was black ops himself, not regular Army–otherwise he wouldn’t have recognized who she was. Questions came, but she sat on them. Right now, she needed a place to rent. Besides, he’d probably find her personal questions rude.

END OF INSTALLMENT #3!

Stay tuned for next Monday’s installment #4 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS on 12.25.17!!

Have you missed the 1st Exclusive Excerpt?
Go here: https://wp.me/pBmdA-Dpt

Have you missed the 2nd Exclusive Exerpt?
https://wp.me/pBmdA-DpC

If you missed Lindsay’s Blog on the “Story behind the story” of BOXCAR CHRISTMAS?
Go here: https://wp.me/pBmdA-Dpp

Happy Holidays!

http://www.lindsaymckenna.com

PRE-ORDER: BOXCAR CHRISTMAS on all platforms except for Google
paperback and ebook and audio!

CHRISTMAS CONTEST #2 from Lindsay McKenna!

December 10, 2017

Dec 10-15, 2017

PRIZE:
Audio tape of a Lindsay McKenna Christmas novella!
SNOWFLAKE’S GIFT

Contest open to readers worldwide.
December 10 – December 15, 2017
STORY:
Two veterans—one human, one canine—have returned to Montana to recover from the traumas of war. Former Army Ranger Nick Conway depended on his WMD dog Snowflake to help him navigate IEDs on the battlefield. Now he needs his best friend to help him cope with his PTSD and acclimate to civilian life. When he meets Holly McGuire and agrees to help her deliver meals to the needy, her inner light calls to him, but his demons hold him back from giving in to his attraction. But Snowflake takes an immediate shine to the kindhearted Holly—and Nick knows his trusty companion has never led him down the wrong path!

Winner will be announced on December 016, 2017 on the Lindsay McKenna Facebook page. If you aren’t subscribed to me on this page, you will NOT miss being the winner because I’ll be emailing you as well!

Just click on this link, sign up, and a winner will be randomly chosen after the close of the contest!

http://lindsaymckenna.com/contest/

CONGRATULATIONS for signing up! Good luck!
and, Happy Holidays!

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT from BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna!

December 4, 2017

Hi Readers
A special series of “gifts” are coming your way between Dec. 4, 2017 and January 1, 2018 when BOXCAR CHRISTMAS is released!

I’m planning a special EXCERPT from this heartwarming Christmas story once a week. Every MONDAY, look for a new except from this book!

EXCERPT #1:
Exclusive Excerpt from Boxcar Christmas by Lindsay McKenna #1

CHAPTER 1

November 1
Hamilton, Montana

“It wasn’t much to look at. The wooden slats that made up the ancient red caboose were weathered, the boxcar sitting on the edge of a flat yellow grass meadow, backed by thousands of evergreens in western Montana. Early November wind whistled and cut at Jesse Myer’s exposed face. She felt the icy morning coldness seep through her rain dampened olive green Army jacket as she emerged cautiously out of the woods. She had discovered the boxcar while hunting rosehips scattered along the banks of the Bitterroot River. It was a source of protein for her tightened, gnawing stomach in want of food.

The large, oval-shaped meadow bordered the water and the rose hips were a substantial source of food when in the back country. She chewed slowly on another one, knowing it was packed with nutrition. Shivering, she felt hope spike through her as she walked out of the woods that lay west of Hamilton, a small hunting and fishing tourist town. She had followed the river in search of a place to pitch her tent outside the city limits.

Standing on the edge of the meadow, she fully surveyed it. It rained at dusk last night and then snowflakes had fallen thick and fast throughout the nighttime hours, and toward dawn the ground was covered with about six inches of the white stuff. As a gray dawn sluggishly crawled upon the eastern horizon, the flakes had turned into a soft, constant rain once more. Most of the snow had melted as the temperature rose, but patches of white still existed here and there–it was an Indian summer event. Jesse sincerely hoped that it meant warmer weather would come into the area and warm it up for a couple of weeks while she hunted for a place to live.
She’d discovered the ancient Union Pacific caboose at the edge of the meadow by accident. There was no telling how old it was, the slats of tongue-and-grove wood that composed its sides were worn , the paint chipped off but still solidly in place despite the harsh winter weather that it had obviously endured over the years. There were no railroad tracks around from what she could see. The under carriage of the caboose had been removed and it had been set upon a rectangular concrete slab, reminding her of the tiny house craze sweeping through her Millennial generation.

Her gaze absorbed the forty-foot long boxcar and she could see that at one time, it had been well cared for. But now, it looked utterly abandoned, the paint dull and peeling off the sturdy oak staves beneath it. Someone had brought this caboose out here. Was it someone who lived in Hamilton? Maybe the owner of this plot of land used it as a cabin to hunt and fish on weekends? Jesse had no idea, but there it was. Maybe it could be a possible home for her instead of the tent she had strapped to the huge knapsack she carried on her back. She wanted to make sure no one was living in it presently and thought about trespassing to find out–even though it went against her grain. Jesse couldn’t explain the allure to do just that.

She called out several times, her voice echoing around the meadow. There was no response or movement from inside the boxcar. The four windows along the meadow side were dirty, and she longed to clean them. Deciding either no one was home or living in it, she curved her hand around the rusted metal railing at the rear platform of the boxcar and took the first tentative step upward. The ends of each wooden step curved upward from age and now rested precariously on the metal frame beneath each one, the nails pulled out by rain and snow over the years. The step groaned. Not that she weighed that much. In the Army, she had been a hundred and sixty pounds; but three months ago, when she received an honorable medical discharge at the end of eight years of service, she had slowly lost at least twenty-five pounds due lack of appetite and no money to buy food. Her Army jacket, the only reminder of her life since age eighteen, hung loosely on her frame.

Her gloves were threadbare, her fingertips numb. She hauled herself up the rest of the creaking wooden steps and leaned forward, cupping her hands around her eyes and peering through the dirty glass of the door to see what was inside the caboose. It was a possible place to live but she had no money for a room rental. She’d just gotten a job at Katie’s Koffee Bean in Hamilton as a dish washer. But it was part time and Jesse had no money yet to rent a room in town, much less an apartment. She had lived in her tent since leaving the Army and was prepared to do it now, but maybe her luck was about to change.”

Stay tuned for more exclusive excerpts from Boxcar Christmas!

Release Date: 1.1.2018
pre-order: now
Visit: http://delos.lindsaymckenna.com/book/boxcar-christmas/ and click on “BEHIND THE STORY” of why I wrote this Holiday novel! Enjoy!

BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna! The “story behind the story”

November 30, 2017

Hi READERS!
First off, Happy Holidays!!!
Many of my readers always ask me: “Where did you get that idea?” Well, most of my “ideas” come from real life….read on!

I’m working on BOXCAR CHRISTMAS, my next Delos Holiday story. Last year I tried SNOWFLAKE’S GIFT and it was a huge seller. Everyone loved it and so I thought I’d try it again.


I realize the title is odd, but as you know me by now, there IS a story behind it. 😉

THE STORY:
One train car. Two lost souls. Five adorable puppies.
Travis Ramsey is back in Hamilton, Montana, after 10 years serving as a Delta Force operator in Afghanistan. Now responsible for his dad’s fishing guide business, Travis has to deal with his increasingly distant and difficult father, and guilt over his brother’s death. His life takes a turn for the better when he meets Army vet Jesse Myers. Jesse is taken with his grandparent’s quirky boxcar cabin and wants to rent it. Taken by her beauty—and the familiar haunted look in her eyes—he makes her a deal. He will rent the boxcar to her for free in return for her help in making renovations.

Working on the train car, Travis and Jesse grow closer. But when Jesse rescues a desperate Border Collie and her five adorable puppies, something unexpected happens. A Christmas miracle neither saw coming.

THE “REST” OF THE STORY!!!
Most of you know I moved 22 times in the first 18 years of my life in 7 different Western USA states. My father moved us about every 9 months and he was 1/4 Eastern Cherokee. Maybe he got the ‘seasons change gene’ and that’s why. Anyway, one of the places we moved to was Blackfoot, Idaho. We were very poor and there was a red caboose train car (it’s carriage had been taken off and it set on a concrete slab) was for rent. Can you imagine 6 people living in there? The caboose was probably about 400 sq.ft. and so, it was a “tiny house” long before the word was coined.

We lived there for 9 months. I loved it. We all learned to move like water around rocks (the parents) in the caboose and it worked well. It was a 10 foot by 40 foot caboose–and you might say it was a “tiny house” long before this word was coined! I loved going out at dusk because we’d get Nighthawks in huge swarms of 15 or 20 in each. The caboose was near red raspberry patch, so we got to eat our fill and get pies made by Mom, when they came into season.

For years I’ve wanted to write about a red caboose, a boxcar on the trains that was at the tail end of the line. Nowadays, there is NO caboose any more. But I wanted to wax nostalgic over that wonderfully happy time in my life. In a caboose I felt safe, like a pair of arms were around all of us. I truly liked the boxcar life.

Now that you know what’s “behind” this story, I hope it will enhance a wonderful story with a heart warming ending. And if you like dogs and puppies? You’ll be in 7th heaven 😉

Go here for more info…
http://delos.lindsaymckenna.com/book/boxcar-christmas/

EBOOK and PAPERBACK and Audio!
It is now on pre-order and it will be available by ebook on all platforms, except Google. And a few days after it publishes (1.1.2018), the paperback will become available for those of you who like a “real” book in their hands ;-). Tantor Media will be putting out an audio version of this wonderful Christmas story. Go to Amazon.com to check for it in January 2018!)
Has any of you “out there” in FB land ever lived in a boxcar?
I LOVE riding on trains, and I’m sure it came from my experience with our red caboose in Blackfoot, Idaho!