Spotlight & Giveaway: Holiday Sparks by Taryn Elliott

Posted December 19th, 2012 by in Spotlight, _Contemporary / 43 comments

Hello, I’m Taryn Elliott and I’m hijacking HJ today!

Sara asked me to do a character interview with my new Hero, Ben Hartley. He’s a rather delicious specimen of male. He’s got a bad boy look with the heart of a Boyscout wrapped in Christmas lights with a side of long, slow pine-scented kisses.

He’s the kind of guy that would go out of his way to make a woman smile whether she’s 9 or 90. He’s the kind of guy that would take his one day off and decorate an entire store because someone needed his help. He’s the kind of guy that you’re proud to have on your arm for a host of reasons.


TARYN: Hi, Ben. Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to talk to us.

BEN: *twirls mechanical pencil between fingers* Sure. I’ve got a little time before I go Christmas bomb Darcy’s living room.

TARYN: Is she aware of this?

BEN: *innocent look* Of course.

TARYN: Uh huh. *side eye*

BEN: You were saying?

TARYN: Um…right. In HOLIDAY SPARKS you have an affinity for all things Christmas, how did that come about?

BEN: I come from a single parent home and my mom really enjoyed Christmas. I loved the look on her face when she would see the house after I decorated it. Every year it got just a little bit bigger and eventually the decorations couldn’t do exactly what I wanted them to do, so I started designing my own. After my mom passed away it became my way to honor her.

TARYN: Aww. That’s very sweet. My mom loved Christmas too.

BEN: *taps sketch pad* Coincidence?

TARYN: *whistles*

BEN: *grins*

TARYN: Now that you have your very own Scrooge in your life how have things changed this year?

BEN: Well, first of all Darcy isn’t quite the Scrooge she pretends to be. I think she secretly likes Christmas. But I don’t mind playing Elf to her Scrooge sometimes. I also got a few more Christmas decorating jobs this year thanks to Blackstone’s. *sigh* If my efficient and organized Darcy has her way I’ll have another business by next year. She still can’t wrap her brain around the fact that I do the decorating gig because it’s fun, not to rule the world. But I get a kick out of winding her up and letting her explore all the possibilities. I think that’s my favorite part of her. Her brain is always working out all the angles.

TARYN: Doesn’t that kill some of the spontaneity?

BEN: Darc isn’t spontaneous. That’s my job. Coercing her along for the ride, now that’s the real fun. I convinced her to get a bigger tree for the store this year and we had to use the cage accessory on the forklift to get to the top of the tree. I may have lured her into the cage with me and started a new tradition with us putting the star on top of the tree together. As well as a strategically placed sprig of mistletoe for a bonus kiss.

TARYN: See…now that’s my kind of Christmas tradition. Have you started any others?

BEN: *wide grin*A few. But ones that I can talk about? Not yet. We’re blending the family this year. Darcy and I have been together for a year now. Britzilla and John get to meet her mom and step-father. The Christmas and the non-Christmas crew are going to start new traditions this year I think.

TARYN:  I think that’s really the most important part of the season. Family. I really miss that part.

BEN: My niece, Britzilla, really kept John and I together after my mom passed away. Work and life can get in the way unless you consciously put family first. I have to remind Darcy to relax and go out with her mom for dinner sometimes.

TARYN: Sounds like you do a lot to keep Darcy from getting too serious.

BEN: I do. But in the same respect, she keeps me in line. Sometimes I get too excited about a project and forget the practical things like grocery shopping or sleeping. She’s really good at leaving me post-it notes. She’s even got them color coordinated. *Shakes his head with a happy grin* I love her madly.

TARYN: One more thing before you go. Do you have a present in mind for her this Christmas?

BEN: I do. I have this friend that designs one of a kind jewelry. I think she might be in for a very special surprise.

TARYN: I like the sound of that.

BEN: Let’s hope she does too.

TARYN: Thanks so much for stopping by and talking with us. Have fun Christmas-bombing her house. Let’s hope she reacts a little better this year.

BEN: I know how to get around her moods.

TARYN: I just bet you do.


And because Sara let me take over her blog today I’m giving her readers an exclusive excerpt.

[blockquote cite=”Holiday Sparks”]

She stopped beside the ladder. Ben stood above her and from this angle she could see more of the tattoo, but still not enough to read it. She seriously had to stop looking at him as if he were one of her dark-chocolate caramel swirl ice-cream bars. It was getting ridiculous.



“You have your jacket on and you’re back on the ladder.”

He looked down, the corner of his lip tipped up in amusement. “You’re observant, Darcy. Did I ever tell you that?” He buried his arm into the limbs of the tree until his face disappeared into the foliage.

What the heck was he doing? Looking to take a sap sample? She rolled her eyes. “Aren’t you going out for supplies?”

“Yes ma’am. I just need to figure out how much more I need. This spruce is a big mother.” He climbed down quickly. The squeak of protest from the ancient ladder made her nervous. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on the man, but he was…well, strapping was a good word. Dense muscles flexed and flowed under his skin. His jeans hugged massive thighs.

Don’t think about his thighs.

“You’ve got lights wrapped around every branch. Is it going to be too much?”

“No, I need to manipulate each branch for the music.”


He stepped down to the floor. He was so close she could feel the warmth of his skin and the tantalizing scent of pine and leather swirled around her. “Do you really want to know how I use channels and create the sectors that the music will be manipulated through?”

Wow. Vastly underestimating her neighbor’s prowess with electronics was going to get her into trouble. Bad boy look and brains to spare? Nope, not at all good for her peace of mind. “Engineering degree?”

“Nope, my degree is on the streets, darlin’. I learned everything I know from friends and acquaintances, with a side of trial and error.”

Her belly twisted. She knew all about on-the-job training instead of college, but for this kind of thing? She wasn’t sure it was a good idea. “This is going to work, right?”

He tapped the tip of her nose. “I’m going to blow you away.”

She folded her arms. “You’re a cocky one.”

“Nah. Just aim to impress the pretty girl.”

She could feel the heat of her cheeks. Damn fair skin. “I need Mr. and Mrs. Blackstone impressed, not me.”

“Yeah, but you’re the one I want to impress.” He clicked his boot heels together and gave her a snappy salute. “I’ll be back and you are going to sit down with me for at least twenty minutes and eat.”

“I’ll try.”

He cuffed her wrist with his forefinger and thumb. “It’s going to be a long night, Darcy. You’ll need your strength.”

Gosh, she hoped he couldn’t feel her pulse hammering away as though it were a rabbit on meth. One touch and she was a frazzled mess. And he was right. She needed her strength to get through the night. And dinner. “Is that offer still open?”

His lids lowered. The hooded look made her think of anything but the possible sandwich he was bringing back. “Which offer is that?”

“Food, Ben.”

The smile was slow and anything but innocent. “Of course.”

The entire night with him? She was so freaking screwed.

Oh yeah.



250Giveaway_HSI’m also doing a very special giveaway. 2012 has been a rather awesome year for me. This is my first year in publication and I also managed to have three books come out! That’s pretty wild for a new author.

So I’m giving away ALL three of my books to ONE reader. I have them in all formats so this is open to all HJ readers both in and out of the US.

To win all you have to do is tell me what ONE of your HOLIDAY TRADITIONS is. It doesn’t have to be just Christmas either! 

Enter on the Rafflecopter for extra chances to win!

[divider_advanced color=”#3200DB”]


a Rafflecopter giveaway

43 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Holiday Sparks by Taryn Elliott”

  1. Belinda

    We celebrate opening 1 present Christmas Eve. We eat chocolate fudge and drink hot cocoa with giant marsh mellows. We snack on goodies and then go caroling with other folks.

    • Taryn Elliott

      That’s what we used to do! Movies we’d seen a million times as we worked on the tree. Then I’d get yelled at for getting sucked into the movie. LOL
      Great fun. Merry Christmas!

    • Taryn Elliott

      New Year’s! OMG…you make them wait until then?
      You probably mean Christmas Eve…that’s what we did too–way too many people would come to the house on Christmas Day.

  2. kyla whitley

    When I was first married, we had some wonderful holiday traditions. My three brothers and their families have since moved to different states, so we don’t see each other as often as I wish. A few years back, my husband and I started a different tradition. Instead of your normal big Christmas meal, with turkey or ham, we feast on Chinese food prepared by a local restaurant, here in our small town of Enumclaw. Love it. Along with the food, we have a Christmas movie marathon, which includes all the biblical movies that are on dvd, White Christmas, and of course, It’s a Wonderful Life.

    I’m in love with Ben! Loved your excerpt. Can’t wait to read your book! Thank you for sharing! Happy Holidays to you, Taryn!.

    • Taryn Elliott

      Aww. Thanks so much, Kyla. Good luck on the win! Ben was a lot of fun to write.

      And I love your tradition as well. I think my brother and I are getting there with the same kind of simple thing.

  3. Chris Mead

    We always spend Christmas eve with my husbands family and Christmas day with
    my family, so we have two fun filled day’s opening presents! =-) Thanks so much for the giveaway!!!

  4. Kathleen Kellenbenz

    Every Christmas I make alot of christmas cookies for my children and grandchildren

  5. Michelle Harlan

    A unique holiday tradition in our family is to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy, beginning Christmas Eve. It’s a family favorite, but the only time of year we can manage to sit down & watch it as a family is during the Christmas break. Hubby always takes leave & he, the kids & I gather up lots of popcorn & enjoy the movies!

  6. BrooklynShoeBabe

    One of my favorite family holiday traditions was everyone in the family got a new pair of pajamas for Christmas and then on New Year’s Eve we would wear them as the clock struck 12. The old supersition says that you have to wear something new on NYE so you can be rich and prosperous all year.

  7. Tammy Y

    On Christmas morning we open our stockings – eat breakfast. Then open our presents. I always play Fred Waring – Now is the Caroling Season while we open our presents.

  8. Tawnya Bentley

    Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning! And I let the kids decide if they eat them before or after gifts, as my son as “matured” he always votes food first. Being 16 and a boy that shouldn’t shock anyone. That is one thing I have managed to keep doing even in our roughest years.

  9. Brenda Rumsey

    Every year I crochet each of my three grandsons a new blanket. They’ve collected several over the years but always want another one, saying they were made with love.

  10. Mary Preston

    One of my favorite traditions is to order in pizza on Christmas Eve & then open up one gift each. We open up the rest of the gifts after church on Christmas morning.

  11. Jenny

    We always open our gifts on Christmas Eve evening. This is a relatively new tradition for us since my youngest sister has gotten too old for the whole Christmas morning hype. We’ve been doing it this way for the past four years or so and it is just great for our family because everyone can just relax on Christmas day.

    • Winnie Lim

      Where I come from, we celebrate the Lunar New Year (aka Chinese New Year) where we welcome spring. Traditionally it’s where the whole family will gather together on the eve of the Lunar New Year and have a Reunion Dinner together. It can be with the entire extended family or just with parents and siblings. For my family, our tradition is having steamboat (hotpot) within our own family and watching the Lunar New Year celebrations on TV.

  12. Cjane Novero

    My family waits for the clock to strike 12AM (December 25) and open half of our gifts. The rest gets to be opened for the New Year. It’s been our tradition for a long time. 🙂

  13. Lilian S

    Bake cake together with my mother, i rarely bake cake, so only do it on holiday.

    Thanks for the giveaway Taryn, i really like your story on Ashes and Wine.

  14. Ann S.

    My kids and I put the lights on the house. We have a great time checking the bulbs and straining them across the roof. I did this with my Dad when I was a kid, so we have continued a family tradition.

  15. Kai W.

    Every Christmas, my family makes this rice flour dumpling soup. The soup is consists of pork, chicken, turnips, napa cabbage, and parsley and green onions.

    Thanks for the giveaway and Merry Christmas.

  16. amel armeliana

    Hi Taryn, thank u for this awesome giveaway.

    My favorite holiday tradition is when my whole family gather together and we’re having dinner. Usually it happens on Jan 1st 🙂

  17. Heather

    Favorite Christmas tradition is one from when I was a kid. Every CHristmas Eve we’d get to pick one present from under the tree to unwrap that night. So hard to pick just one!

  18. orchid7

    We like to sprinkle “reindeer dust” (glitter) all over the front lawn so Santa’s sleigh can find us. My kids still love to do this, even though one of them has definitely outgrown her belief in the sleigh! 🙂

  19. Lori P

    Watch Christmas specials on tv and pack everyone into the car to drive around looking at all of the lights.

  20. Lisa Hutson

    I think I have got to learn how to get Elloras Cave books on my kindle. They need to make a “Elloras Cave on Kindle” for dummies….LOL
    One tradition….We go to a local drive thru Christmas lights display. We always take bags of canned goods and pay for the car behind us. Its a non stop display place and they will never know who paid. I always hope they then pay for the car behind them and so on and so on…..

  21. Mindy H

    We eat tamales after our Christmas Eve Candallight service at church. Then the whole city lights up with fireworks at Christmas.

  22. Kim

    One of my Christmas holiday traditions is to spend Christmas Eve watching a Christmas movie with my family and eating homemade tamales. This year it’s Arthur Christmas.

  23. Cecilia

    My family traditions is, having a dinner at home or we re out to another town, for refreshing, have some fun with a whole family.

  24. Joanne B

    Every Christmas Eve we go to the drive thru holiday lights display then go home, put the DVD of the Yule Log in and open presents.

Please leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.