Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Welcome Mari Carr!

I'm thrilled to welcome our first guest of honour to the Christmas party today - the very talented Mari Carr. Welcome, Mari!

Ho Ho Oh!
By Mari Carr

Christmas in my family is the mother of all holidays. It’s the day when all sixty of my extended family members cram into the home of very gracious cousin to celebrate the most blessed of all days with Crown Royal, cases of Bud and Miller Lite, and my Aunt Ann’s famous crab dip. The only reason any of us actually arrive on time is because we live in fear that one year we will arrive after Ann and all the dip will be consumed. We’ve seen it happen before so we realize the potential for danger is quite real. I’ve awoken in a cold sweat many a night imagining just such a thing.

Most of Christmas day is spent talking. Talking to cousins I never see, talking to cousins I always see, yelling at all the children as they destroy the house, complaining about peeling and mashing 25 pounds of potatoes—no small feat with a tiny, hand-held two pronged mixer and of course, cheering at the arrival of Santa.

The last few years, one of the adult men in the family (usually whoever draws the short straw) dons a Santa suit and “arrives” at the house with presents for the younger generation. The fun part is how Santa shows up. In the past, he’s come by bicycle, tractor and last year, he rode up on the back of a Corvette convertible, waving like he was in the midst of a parade.

Needless to say, Christmas with my family is always an adventure. Always memorable and fun. I wouldn’t spend the day any other way!

This Christmas, I have something else to celebrate!

On December 22, Wild Irish Christmas releases at Ellora’s Cave.

Wild Irish, Book Eight

“To Conall Brannagh.”

Ewan took the bottle from his father. “Who?”

“Conall Brannagh,” Patrick repeated. “If your mother had chosen him over me, none of us would be here tonight.”

It’s Christmas Eve, and the Collins siblings have given their father a precious gift. All seven have gathered together to spend the night in his apartment above the family pub, the warm, loving home where Patrick and Sunday raised their large brood.

You’ve witnessed each child find their happy-ever-after. Now gather ’round the tree and join the Collins family as they pass a bottle of Jameson, and Patrick shares the story of how he won the heart of Sunday, his true love, his soul mate…and the mother of his seven Wild Irish.


Patrick claimed his recliner as the rest of his kids pulled up chairs or grabbed pillows and plopped down on the floor around the tree. “I still can’t believe you’re all spending the night here.”

Keira grinned. “We’re here because it’s the holidays, Pop. You haven’t been yourself the last few months. We worry.”

Patrick grasped his oldest daughter’s hand. “I’m a tired, old fool. I suppose I lost my way for a bit. Let the daily grind get me down. You crazy kids have reminded me what’s important in life with this gesture. It’s a lovely gift.”

Keira squeezed his hand. “We love you. It’s been years since the eight of us were alone together in this apartment…all busy with kids and jobs. We thought it was time we took a night to reconnect. To remember where we came from.”

“Oh,” Sean added, “and a word to the wise, Pop. Next year, when the girls ask you what you want for Christmas, say a flashy tie or an animal-print Snuggie or some bull like that. Don’t say, I only want you all to be happy and healthy. Leaves too much room for interpretation—especially from Riley.”

Riley picked up a pillow and lobbed it at her younger brother’s head. “Way to ruin Keira’s sappy speech, smartass.”

“Language, Riley,” Patrick said, the words a familiar joke more than a true rebuke.

“Sorry, Pop.” Her face told him she wasn’t sorry at all.

Tris lifted the whiskey, proposing a quick toast. “We’re here, Pop, because we’re family. To the Collins clan.” He took a swig from the bottle and passed it to Teagan, who followed suit with her own cheers.

Patrick wasn’t sure what it said about his character that he was proud of the way all seven of his offspring could hold their whiskey.

As the bottle moved from hand to hand, they each offered up words of thanks or wishes for the New Year. When it reached Patrick, he lifted the bottle and proposed a toast he hadn’t used since the last Christmas he’d celebrated with his wife, Sunday.

“To Conall Brannagh.”

Ewan took the bottle from his father. “Who?”

“Conall Brannagh,” Patrick repeated. “If your mother had chosen him over me, none of us would be here tonight.”

Sean leaned forward, a definite gleam of interest in his eyes. “So you had some competition for Mom, eh? I never knew that.”

Keira grabbed a bag of pretzels. “I didn’t either. Was Mom in love with him?”

Teagan looked at Patrick. “I always thought you were her first love.”

Patrick smiled at his daughter. “I was her last love, Teagan. That’s a much better spot to claim. Besides, I don’t know if it’s fair to say she loved Conall, though he certainly turned the women’s heads. What’s the word you girls use for handsome men? Dreamy?”

Riley laughed. “Um…yeah, not in this decade. I definitely don’t use the word dreamy to describe Aaron.”

“Then what would you say?” Pat asked.

“He’s hot. Totally doable.”

Killian turned to look at his younger sister and shook his head. “Jesus. How are we related?”

“Dreamy works for me, Pop,” Teagan said quickly.

Patrick looked at his kids and silently marveled at how different they were. Somehow, miraculously, their unique qualities meshed perfectly, creating an amazing family.

Ewan, always the steady one, hadn’t been distracted by the asides. “So Mom thought this Conall was dreamy?”

“All the girls in Killarney thought Conall was handsome, but he only had eyes for Sunday. Not that I could blame him. Your mother was a beauty, with that long dark hair and those crystal-blue eyes. She caught every man’s attention.”

“But you didn’t fall in love with her because of her looks, right?” Keira asked.

Och, Lord no. While Sunday’s face was pleasing, it was her heart, so kind and compassionate, that I found attractive. That’s what captured me by my hand and—pardon the expression—balls and kept me holding on to her for dear life.”

“So what was the story with this Conall guy?” Tris asked.

“Well now, that is a tale.” Patrick leaned back and closed his eyes, letting his mind drift to a different place, a different time.

“I was working on my family’s sheep farm during the day while tending bar at Scully’s Pub every night. I was a young buck of twenty when Sunday, who was just nineteen, moved to Killarney to live with her aunt. Scully hired her to sing in the pub and from the first moment I laid eyes on her, I was lost…”

To kick off the season of giving in style, I’m offering one of today’s commenters their choice from my ebook backlist. All you have to do is tell me one item on your holiday wish list this year.

Mari's contest will end at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow morning on this thread.


  1. Wild Irish Chrismtas sounds wonderful! On my holiday wish list--time off with hubby with both of us away from work! It doesn't get any better than that.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Congratulations Mari and I've been waiting for the book forever, it seems.

    My one wish for Christmas, that I still have a job in the new year.


  3. Hi NJ! Sounds fab :)

    Marika - wishing with you! Good luck!


  4. Only 24 more days until Irish Christmas, I am so excited! My Christmas wish this year is for mild weather over the holidays so our long drive to see my family is with less stress.

  5. OMG Mari! cannot wait for this story!!!!! Love, love, love this series and so glad you wrote another one :)

    I wish to go to RT this year and to room with the crazy Kelly and Ive again.


  6. Can't wait for this one, Mari!! One wish this year is to be unpacked enough so we can relax and enjoy this season--that's something I can make happen with a little more work ;)

    Wishing with you, Marika--please keep us posted :)

  7. Hi, i cant wait to read this book :)
    i have books on my christmas list to many to list here but this one is on my list :)

  8. Love the Wild Irish series. The top item on my holiday wish list is a Kindle Fire. Congrats on Wild Irish Christmas.


  9. Lots of people desperate for this one!

    What's next for you in 2012, Mari?


  10. Great excerpt. Mari is a new author for me and would love to win and read her book. Thanks for the chance to win. I would love to win the books from the excerpt, Wild Irish Christmas. I would love to finish reading this.
    My main item from my list is books. I would love a gift card to pick out my own, which is what my kids give me. A few of the books I want are Anna Dressed In Blood, Blood Sin by Marie, and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

  11. Wow--there are some awesome wishes here! Just got back from work and I'm around to chat a bit. Marika--I'll keep you in my thoughts. Didn't realize your job was in danger. Fe! Are you still unpacking? Heaven help you! Gotta admit--the Kindle Fire is on my Xmas wish list too. But that's because I'm a gadget freak!

  12. Marie! I have a fairly long writing to-do list for 2012. I think that's just because I never seem to have enough time to write as often as I want. Next on my slate is the second book in the Cocktales series, Screwdriver and the last book in the Because trilogy. I'm also chatting with the fabulous Miss Lexxie Couper about the possibility of doing a couple romantic comedies together. Love that gal's sense of humor and her writing rocks!

  13. Thanks Mari. I really appreciate it. I've been missing for a long time because of it. I only peek out every once in awhile.

    I can not wait to see how the Wild Irish got started. Love the series and congratulations again.

  14. Yay! A new book! My Christmas wish is to go home to Nebraska and celebrate with my family! I miss my crazy wild family. lol Congrats on the book!

  15. Oh this book looks awesome, I haven't read any of the other books yet but I've been wanting to for awhile. This books sounds awewome I'm really curious about how the Wild Irish came to be, good luck with your upcoming book!

    As for an item on my Holiday wish list? Well most of the items are physical of course, what I want the most is for my dad to make it home for Christmas which he usually does.

    He lives in Kentucky and it's been a long while since we've spent a big holiday together.

    Mari, Christmas at your hose sounds like it would be a blast! I remember when I was little my immediate family would go and visit our relatives on Christmas, we'd hang out at one aunt's house visit for a bit and then visit another aunt's house.

    It was tiring but never a dull moment! Hoping you and your's have an awesome Christmas, and thanks for the contest!

  16. I really want a Kindle Fire for Christmas. It seems like the perfect marriage between my old iPad and Kindle. Congrats on the new release! I just bought Everything Nice at yesterday's All Romance ebook Cyber Monday sale.

    Geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

  17. Number 1 item on my christmas list this year is for publisher's clearinghouse to show up on my door step tomorrow morning with a check for $1 million and $5,000 a week for the rest of my life. If you're gonna dream, DREAM BIG!
    Iread2xs at yahoo dot com

  18. I discovered mari at the RT 2011 convention love her love her love her

  19. Great post, had fun reading it.

    My wish list....mmmmmmm.....well, a Kindle is on my wish list. I have an old Bookwise but it doesn't read pdfs so I need an update!!!

    in Germany

  20. My wishlist has just one thing on it lol A new laptop! Mine's been making this horrible grinding whirring noise when I start it up!
    Ashley A

  21. I'm not really so big on the materialistic things, I always figure that if there's something that I really want I can save my money and buy it anyway. So my holiday wish list doesn't have any gifts on it at all...my holiday wish list is all about my job (I'm a child protection social worker). Top of my wish list is that all of the children who I work with are safe and happy over Christmas and that they're all able to spend it with people who care about them.

  22. Mari, sounds a hectic but fun schedule! And I must say I'm looking forward to seeing what you and Lexxie come up with :).

    Ashley, the grinding sounds bad! Fingers crossed for your new laptop!

    Brooke, I think we're all wishing with you, and hat off to you for the job you do.


  23. LOL--yes, sadly we're still unpacking, Mari. The whole organizational thing is NOT one of my strong suits, so that's making it take longer, too. Hope you get your Fire! (And ooh... some collaboration with Lexxie?! A match made in heaven!! Can't wait for that!!!!!!!) (Uh, excited much? ;))

  24. First on my wish list is a good single malt.

  25. Mari, I just love your writing. You have such a great style. I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

  26. What a great post, Mari. As for my wish list, I am hoping Santa might see his way to getting me a new Kindle Fire.

  27. LMAO Ute on the good single malt!
    Des--Damn, I love you. Total role model for me. :)
    Brooke--my goodness--you are a saint. Can't imagine doing that job. Hate to see children suffer. I second your wish.
    Julie! ROLMFAO. You don't mess around on your wishes! I think I've found a kindred spirit. Like your style!

  28. Kaylyn! Hiya sweetpea. :) Hope you make it to Nebraska.
    Hope your dad makes it for Christmas, Gabby. Nothing like spending the holidays with family.
    Fingers crossed you like Everything Nice, Stacey. My first foray into m/m/f. Damn that was a hard book for me to write. I was a regular nervous Nelly.
    Julie!!--you coming to RT 2012? *I hope*
    Oh man Ashley--hope the laptop wish comes true. I'd be lost without my computer baby.

  29. Hi Mari, great post; your Christmases sound wonderful! My Christmas wish is to have a brand new BMW with a big red bow waiting in my driveway!

    LOL, it probably won't happen but I can still dream. :)

    Merry Christmas to you and thanks for the giveaway.

    bimmergrlmd at gmail dot com

  30. I love the sound of "Wild Irish Christmas". The big thing that I want this Christmas is the new NOOK Tablet.

  31. I'd LOVE an Amazon gift certificate to buy more ebooks:)

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  32. this is great story and hot can i get it in kindle or on the paper back wow i love the cover is your book on amazon or bn i do both

  33. OMG! I am so excited to read Wild Irish Christmas! I love this series. I am going to add this book to my Christmas reading list! jepebATverizonDOTnet

  34. Apparently I don't follow instructions well as I didn't leave my wish list item. I have asked Santa for book organizer software. Just thinking about it makes me all tingly!

  35. Two things on my wishlist this year. I need a new laptop and I'd love a Kindle Fire.

  36. Wow, some amazing presents on these lists :). Interesting how often the Kindle Fire came up!

    I'll be back in a moment with Mari's winner...


  37. And Mari's winner, who receives one of Mari's backlist ebooks is....


    Congratulations, you lucky thing! Please let me know your email address and your choice from Mari's backlist - Marie AT MarieTreanor DOT com.