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Book of the Month
Not Home for the Holidays

Not Home for the Holidays is the reverse-Hallmark Christmas movie where the country girl finds her city HEA.

The week before Christmas, quirky, country girl Emma Lopez is in New York City, aiming to win a social media contest for small-business owners. Minutes before her high-stakes interview, an impulsive, sizzling kiss under the mistletoe with a handsome businessman turns into an even bigger surprise

She goes all-in enjoying the holiday excitement of the city and shaking up a certain dapper businessman. Thanks to a snowstorm, her phone, and a couple more kisses, she counts herself a winner. Then, her high-spirited attitude leads to an unexpected opportunity of a lifetime, one she’s certain she can’t accept.


"I loved the secondary characters and the almost instant bond that the contestants found among themselves. I think the most important thing here is that everything felt very real like it could easily happen, and that is the type of story that will draw me in and keep me engaged until the final page. I had fun with NOT HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS and would not hesitate to recommend it to readers who love a good Christmas Romance."

--Marsha, KeeperBookshelf

"One thing I enjoyed about this book is how positive it is. We need more of this in our crazy divided world right now. It shows people in competition working together as friends."

--Amazon Reveiwer

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November...Here's to the Holidays!

The holidays are coming! And that is a wonderful thing! Baking, cozy movies, friends and family... A big yes to all of that.

Not Home for the Holidays is my first winter holidays story. Me being me, I wanted to flip the script and write something different. The result, a country girl who falls in love with and in one of the most bustling cities in the world--New York. 

I had fun writing Emma's romantic adventure, but it is odd trying to get in the spirit in the middle of the summer. What to do? I watched videos of snow storms in New York. That helped. Then I watched some Hallmark Christmas movies. I wanted to capture the fun and upbeat tone. I made a Pinterest Page: Not Home for the Holidays. It contains all kinds of sparkle and happiness. 

The one thing that helped the most? Watching and rewatching the Best Christmas Song Video ever: Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas Is You heart melted over and over.

Here's hoping your holiday season starts off wonderful and gets even better.

This Month's Book of the Month
The Meet Cute, Holiday Style

Excerpt from Not Home for the Holidays:

The elevator is straight ahead, flanked by a row of gray and white marble columns. Garlands and potted poinsettias are everywhere. The greens are wrapped around the columns, the pots are beside the elevator doors and placed in exact locations along the walls. Classical music drifts through the air. The soles of my boots hit the tile floor with a smart smack and the echo of my walk follows me as I move closer to the elevator then stop. I push the up button. As I wait, I recognize the song. It’s Deck the Halls, but its barely recognizable in the very formal classical version.

Lights above blink and seconds later, the doors separate, revealing a man, standing squarely in the center of the car. He’s wearing a navy-blue suit, white and blue striped shirt, and coordinating blue tie. That may sound basic, but this guy is anything but average. Everything about him says attention to detail and tailor made. Even his face, with his deep brown eyes and perfectly positioned brown hair, looks custom made. Bespoke and perfect. When our gazes connect, I get the sensation that he’s looking at me. Not a glance. He’s really, really looking at me. A little something in me jumps. Well, maybe not so little. Something simmers through me, making me warm all over. Inside and out. I stand there too long, him looking at me and me staring back at him.

Me smoldering the whole time.

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South by Southwest

A simple something to warm you up on a crisp evening.


    • 1 ounce Ardbeg 10-year-old scotch (or what you have!)
    • 1 ounce Campari
    • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
    • Orange blossom water, to mist
    • Garnish: Orange blossom water
    • Garnish: Orange twist


  • Mist the inside of a chilled Old Fashioned glass with 4 sprays of orange blossom water and set aside.
  • Add the scotch, vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass with ice and stir.
  • Strain into the Old Fashioned glass.
  • Garnish with another spray of orange blossom water and an orange twist.

    This month's recipe from

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    Isabelle Drake

    PO Box 253, Mason
    Michigan 48854 United States

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