Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Giveaway with Natalie J Damschroder

A Double Dose of Festivity by Guest Blogger Natalie J. Damschroder

This week is one of my absolute favorites of the entire year, and always has been. A lot of people are surprised. When I tell them my birthday is December 23rd, they express immediate sympathy. "That must have sucked growing up!" It really didn't. Partly because so many people went out of their way to make sure I didn't get gypped.

I didn't get to have a lot of parties, true, and part of me resented that my brother (whose birthday is in February) had more than I did, but that was more because I was supposed to resent him than because I wanted parties.

First, on my actual birthday, I had presents and cake and a special dinner. (Though there was my birthday during my senior year of high school, when my stepfather made a cake shaped like an N but everyone was so busy it never got frosted. Or eaten, IIRC.)

Then, on Christmas Eve, we went to my aunt's open house. She held it every year, and it was always a blast. She's my mom's sister, and I think most of the time my mother, brother, and I were the only ones from her side of the family.

We hung with my cousins and some of their cousins and some neighbor kids, and there were family friends and a TON of members of my uncle's huge Italian family. Many of them gave me birthday presents who wouldn't have otherwise, just because we were all there every year and it was the day after my birthday. We had my aunt's fantastic chicken wings and played chase outside (like tag but with a home base) or ran around in the snow if we had some.

Christmas Day was the traditional morning scene, followed by a visit to my father's parents. Usually a couple of weeks before the actual holiday, my mom's father and stepmother came up to visit, and we had all the holiday celebration with them, too. So essentially, Christmas lasted for most of December when I was a kid.

Now that I've grown up and all the hanging out, eating, and opening presents in the weeks and days leading up to Christmas have been replaced by working, cooking, and shopping/wrapping, you might expect that my personal joy is a little lighter. But it's not. I have the same sense of anticipation of great things, even in years when I don't get to see much family. My birthday is always MY day, and I do no chores, get special meals made for me, go to a movie, and spend hours reading.

I want to make a good dent in the few unread books remaining on my Kindle, in preparation for gift cards that will let me fill it back up on Christmas day. Here are the options burning a hole in my "To Read" folder (in alphabetical order):

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Claustrophobic Christmas by Ellie Marvel
Forged in Fire by Trish McCallan
Guarded Hearts by MJ Fredrick
The Hunter by Theresa Meyers
North of Need by Laura Kaye
Razor's Edge by Shannon K. Butcher
The Resurrected by Megan Hart
Stone Cold Seduction by Jess Macallan

Any other late-December/early-January birthdays out there? What's it like for you? Tell me what books you plan to read on your days off this season!

I'll give away one digital copy each of Behind the Scenes and Under the Moon to commenters, so make sure to leave a way to contact you with/in your comment. And happy holidays!

Natalie J. Damschroder's latest releases:

Behind the Scenes
Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Kennedy Smyth's firm provides security for companies and charities in seriously dangerous countries. She doesn't usually take on "frivolous" jobs, but when an old friend asks her to protect his son's movie shoot, she finds it hard to refuse. Also hard to resist is the film's charismatic star, Rogan St. James. The handsome actor piques her interest, while the strange actions of the terrorist threatening the set raise her suspicions.

Even though he's a successful actor, Rogan wants more a real woman to love, the type he doesn't think exists...until he meets Kennedy. She intrigues him with her confidence and passion for her work, and frustrates him with her refusal to let him get close.

But Kennedy finds herself in a vulnerable position when she discovers that the terrorist isn't actually out to derail the film. She's the real target and if he finds out how much Rogan means to her, he could be next...

Under the Moon
Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Their power gives them strength and makes them targets.

Quinn Caldwell is the epitome of a modern goddess. Her power source is the moon, her abilities restricted only by physical resources and lunar phase. She runs a consulting business and her father's bar, serves on the board of the ancient Society for Goddess Education and Defense, and yearns for Nick Jarrett, professional goddess protector and the soul mate she can never have.

But someone has developed the rare and difficult ability to drain a goddess of her powers, and Quinn is a target. With the world thinking Nick has gone rogue (whatever that means) and that Quinn is influenced by family ties she didn't know she had, keeping themselves safe while working to find the enemy proves harder each day.

But not as hard as denying their hearts

You can learn more about Natalie and her books at her website, eHarlequin, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. She blogs with four other obsessed passionate Supernatural fans at Supernatural Sisters, with a number of fantastic romance authors at Everybody Needs a Little Romance, and just to hear herself talk at Indulge Yourself.


Debby said...

I am a mid January birthday. Not quite as bad but you still get, I just gave you something at Christmas. I do have a few books to read that I won. I am looking forward to reading them
debby236 at gmail dot com

SandyG265 said...

My niece's birthday is Dec 12. We celebrate Hanukah so this year there was some time between them. But some years we have to send out both presents at the same time. I'm looking foward to reading One Salt Sea and Hard Bitten during the holidays.

sgiden @ verizon.net

Anne said...

I'm Jan. 20 so it wasn't too bad. We'd leave up the Christmas decorations until after my birthday, so it never quite looked like a birthday party.

I have about 25 books on my table. I'm just starting the second Iron Druid book by Kevin Hearne and plan to read #3 next, I also have 3 books in the Skin series by Eva Gray(?). I have a series by Sierra Dean on my ereader and one is a Christmas story.


Rebe said...

My birthday is Dec. 29, so I feel your pain about the no school parties! My family was always great about separating birthday and Christmas presents as well, so no problems there.

I'm looking forward to catching up on Kim Harrison's The Hollows series during the holidays.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Some really good books listed here! *adds to buy list* :)

You mid-Januaries, I feel your pain. What Debby said! My husband and brother are at the beginning of February and I STILL feel like, "eh, what do I get you that you didn't get in December?" LOL

Sandy, I bet getting swallowed by Hanukah is even worse, given that it's a longer holiday. Poor kid!

StacieD said...

Every few years Thanksgiving lands on my birthday. When that happens I don't cook. I cater dinner or go out. You have to celebrate your special day. Sweating over a hot stove is not a way to spend a birthday.

Happy Birthday!

Geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I applaud you, Stacie! That's exactly how a birthday should be handled, no matter what day it falls on! :)

Tore said...

My birthday isn't until July. There are lots of books I want to read right now. Too many too name.Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

tammy ramey said...

my birthday is in March. it's just a few days before St. Patricks day and so i usually end up with a bunch of green or clover covered stuff. :)
not quite as bad as being born next to Christmas but i really don't look good in green :( LOL

thank you for the chance at such a great giveaway. i hope you and your family have a very Happy Holiday Season.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks for commenting, Tore!

LOL, Tammy. I think I'd get real sick of St. Paddy's themes real quick.