The Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour: Our favourite wintertime activities

BYWB bannerJanuary-April 2012

Welcome to the second week of the Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour, where sixteen authors will do their best to make your winter brighter in January, February, March, and April. (Unless you’re south of the equator, and then we’ll just be jealous of your summer.) Every Wednesday will be a new stop on the tour (see schedule at end of post). Be sure to leave a comment at each stop for up to sixteen chances at the grand prize: a $200 USD gift certificate to the e-retailer of your choice! Also keep an eye out for links to individual authors’ sites on their release dates for a chance to win some free books.

Don’t forget to check out Ellis Carrington’s “Feeling Neighborly,” Marie Sexton’s Blind Space, Andrew Grey’s An Unsettled Range, J.P. Barnaby’s next Little Boy Lost book: Escape. Click here to enter to win an e-copy of not just that book but all the Little Boy Lost novels! Also available: J.L. Merrow’s A Calling for Pleasure, which will be free from January 15th until Valentine’s Day!

Coming Soon: Permanently Legless by JL Merrow
Giveaway posts on Jamie’s WordPress and LiveJournal blogs.

Tailor Made by Josephine Myles
Giveaway post here.

And now, all our authors with new releases in January will share their favourite wintertime activities. We’ll let J.P. Barnaby kick it off with something guaranteed to warm you up!


J.P. Barnaby: These are just some of my favorite wintertime activities. I do love to let beautiful boys suck and fuck to warm those cold Chicago nights. Some people like to sit in front of the fireplace and read while others like to have snowball fights with their kids.

I have a slightly different outlook on life.

Ellis Carrington: I love to ice skate. In my upcoming novella, Immortal Valentine, my heroes first meet in front of the ice rink at the National Gallery Sculpture Garden in Washington DC. Every winter they cover the giant water fountain there and make it into a rink. Hands down, it is my FAVORITE place to go skating! Fun for families, romantic for couples. You can even have a great time by yourself! I admit, I’m a terrible skater. I can’t stop without running into the rink walls (or a person!). But I love to visit the galleries, get some cocoa, and then get swept up in the enthusiasm and the joy of the people around me. The laughter, the folks stopping to kiss…the bored voices over the loudspeaker reminding the kissing lovers that they should really move out of the flow of traffic first if they’re feeling amorous. I’m one of those folks who hates the cold, but it’s easy to get caught up in the joy of winter, in a place like that.

Andrew Grey: My favorite winter activity has to be staying warm.  I grew up in the Midwest and spent some time in California.  I really don’t like the cold, so winter sports are out.  I’m very much a warm weather, spring and summer person.  However I do have a young niece and she has been known to charm me into the occasional snowball fight, which I usually loose because let’s face it, the only balls I’m good with are attached.

Lou Harper: In Los Angeles where I live, seasons are sort of meaningless. Winter often feels more like spring. However, the interval vaguely between September and April is the only time we have a chance for rain, gloom, and the occasional truly melancholy weather. These occasions are rare, so I take advantage of them. I grab my camera and hop into the car.

Last “winter” on such a day I drove across the mountains, down to the beach. As I drove upward, the air got thicker and thicker till I was enshrouded in a milky fog. A rare treat, indeed! Down at the beach I marveled at the crazy people surfing the frigid waters. Then I drove home, made a cup of hot tea, bundled up on the sofa, and pretended I was in England.

JL Merrow: The January Sales… don’t you just hate them? The crowds, the pushing and shoving, the way normally classy department stores take on the look of a village jumble sale?

Well, no, actually—I rather like shopping in the sales. For one thing, there’s the lack of guilt. Christmas is over; it’s okay to buy stuff for yourself once more! Particularly if, like me, you’ve got relatives who really don’t go in for all this buying presents malarkey, preferring to hand over a cheque instead. Which is all very well—but I like being able to think, so-and-so got me this for Christmas, even if I have to then go and buy this myself. And once that cheque hits the bank, you’ve only got a short time before it’s subsumed and forgotten, and ends up going towards the weekly shop—not at all what the giver intended.

So why not hit the sales?  Now that fox-hunting is banned in Britain (*g*), where else can you get the thrill of the chase, the excitement of unearthing a real bargain—even, in the more popular sales, the mindless violence—that you get in the January sales?

Of course, you may end up spending a bit more than you meant to—but if it’s in the sales, that means you’re actually saving money, doesn’t it? Right?  And you absolutely, positively have to have that outfit you’ll be wearing all the time any day now, just as soon as you lose that last ten pounds on the New Year Diet That Can’t Fail…

Still, no harm in keeping the receipt.  Just in case. ;D

Josephine Myles: These days I don’t get out into the countryside nearly as often as I used to, but one of my favourite activities in the winter has always been walking in the woods. Yes, it’s muddy and cold, but when the leaves have all fallen, the trees look even more stunning to my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing them break into bud in the spring, rustle in summer breezes, or turn fantastic shades in the autumn, but deciduous trees in winter have an ethereal beauty. The filigree lacework of their naked branches against the sky is breathtaking.

My most important ingredient for a successful trek in the woods in winter? A flask of coffee, liberally laced with brandy. Actually, a hipflask wouldn’t go amiss either, and good walking boots with woollen socks. Happiness is a warm, dry pair of feet and a tipsy head!

Marie Sexton: My favorite wintertime activity is going to the Denver Broncos football games with my husband. We have season tickets. They’re in the nose-bleed section, but it’s actually a really great view of the field. In fact, the film used by the coaches is taken from just just a few rows behind our seats. The attached picture (which I found online) was taken from our section. That guy down front? He’s known as the Bronconator, and yes, he’s dressed like that for every game. Of course, every once in a while, it’s freezing cold, but not often. The first half of the season, we’re warm enough with T-shirts and light jackets, and later in the season, it’s usually in the forties or fifties. Perfect weather for a football game! Now, if only the Broncos would win a bit more often. My fingers are crossed for next year.


Erotic fiction is more than just moans, grunts, and physical pleasure. To J.P. Barnaby, erotic fiction consists not only of the mechanics of physical love, but the complex characters and relationships that lead to those all-encompassing feelings of need and longing. Sex without context is merely sex—but sex coupled with attraction, with explosive repercussions—that is good erotic fiction. J.P. authors all different kinds of erotic fiction including gay, straight, male, female, BDSM, sweet, romantic, and dark. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself. Find JP at her website and on Twitter.

Ellis Carrington is a wild child who hates to color in the lines, but who lives and loves passionately. She can be found in and around the Washington D.C. area, swilling Starbucks and saying inappropriate things out loud in public. Her greatest loves are good friends, good music, and of course reading M/M romance.Find out more at

Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle,, Pennsylvania.  You can find out more at , on facebook, twitter, or email him at

Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk. You can find Lou at and

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.  Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Find JL Merrow online at:

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes m/m erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it. Check out Jo’s website and blog at

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway. You can find out more about Marie at


January 11: How We Beat the Winter Blues (hosted by Coffee & Porn in the Morning)
January 18: Favorite Wintertime Activities (hosted by Josephine Myles)
January 25: Join us for a January getaway (hosted by Andrew Grey)
February 1: Winter in My Backyard (hosted by Lou Harper)
February 8: “If I could get away right now, I’d go to…” (hosted by Ellis Carrington)
February 15: Valentine’s Day (hosted by J.L. Merrow)
February 22: Authors by the Fireside (hosted by Kate McMurray)
February 29: Join us for a February getaway (hosted by Z.A. Maxfield)
March 7: Things to Do in a Blizzard (hosted by S.A. Meade)
March 14: St. Patrick’s Day (hosted by Clare London)
March 21: Spring Break (hosted by Blaine D. Arden)
March 28: Join us for a March Getaway (hosted by Tales from the Writing Cave)
April 4: Favorite Winter Movies (hosted byStumbling Over Chaos)
April 11: Signs of Spring (hosted by J.P. Barnaby)
April 18: Join us for an April Getaway (hosted by Marie Sexton)
April 25: Farewell (hosted by Joyfully Jay)
April 30: Grand Prize Announcement (hosted by Heidi Cullinan)

Every week we’ll also let you know what books are recently released and about to be released, complete with links to giveaways.


58 thoughts on “The Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour: Our favourite wintertime activities

  1. In the UK – on a crisp sunny winter’s day, well-wrapped up (especially with good socks and waterproof footwear) wander along a sandy beach enjoying the sea.

  2. I hate, hate, hate the cold, so my favourite wintertime activity is snuggling under my duvet with a good book, if I can get Boyfriend and his dogs to join me, even better, so cosy and WARM 😀

    I also love sitting in front of a fire chatting with friends or family

    • Getting out of bed on a winter’s morning has to be the hardest task of the day. God knows why it has to be at the beginning of the day too. That’s just not fair!

  3. As an avid fan of the winter season I tend to prefer the winter sports. Though I don’t get to go as often as I’d like, I love a nice trip to the mountains for some snowboarding and/or skiing

    • Sounds like great fun, Melora! I’ve never had the chance and I have a feeling if tried it now I’d end up with broken limbs, but I’d be very happy sitting in a ski lodge sipping brandy, watching the more athletic types out on the slopes 😉

  4. I definitely agree with you on the walk in the woods, Jo, but I would add one thing: a bundle of fur with four muddy paws, a waggy tail and a penchant for trouble. Walking in the woods is so much more fun if you have a canine companion!

    • LOL! I tend to get quite enough of other people’s dogs when out in the woods, thanks. Not sure I could bear getting one clean again afterwards, either!

  5. I’m not wild about winter but walking on a sunny day, breathing in cold, clear air is invigorating – and makes me feel virtuous 😀
    Watching the sun go down a deep orange-pink with mist rising from the river and soft, smudgy clouds in the sky always fills me with delight. It doesn’t look like this at any other time of year.

    • I know what you mean, Prue. There’s a luminous quality to winter light, isn’t there? It’s stunning. Hoar frost is a real winner, too – absolutely enchanting.

  6. I’m with HJ — I love to go to the beach in the off-season (except I’m quite a bit farther south, in the US.) Our favorite place is Jekyll Island, off the Georgia coast just 20 miles or so north of Florida. There’s a rehab facility for injured sea turtles, and the entire north end of the island is sprinkled with these HUGE driftwood trees. We take kites, the kids and DH fish or harvest mussels (I think; I don’t actually know a lot about shellfish), and I take WAY too many pictures. 😀 It’s gorgeous in summer, too, but there’s something pristine and melancholy about it in winter…

    • That sounds like an amazing beach! I love small islands – there’s something magical about them. Do you eat the mussels?

  7. It’s usually cold and miserable here (UK) so my preference is curled up on the sofa (probably under a nice, soft blanket) with a big mug of tea and some good books.
    There is a large chestnut tree just outside the living room window; in the winter this means whatever the weather the view is through the tree branches. The bare wood is a striking contrast to the sky – the orange and gold of sunset against the dark wood is stunning.
    So blanket, books, mug of tea and my view and I’m happy even if the rain is lashing against the window :)

    • That sounds like a gorgeous view, Sarah :)

      I’d rather be cuddled up on a sofa with a good book most days, I’ll admit, but when the weather’s clear you can’t beat getting outside!

  8. Cooking and baking are always fun when it’s too blustery to leave the house. It’s also nice to sit down with a book, or my stack of vinyl records (yes, records)…

    • Ooh yes, comfort foods. You get the benefit of a nice warm kitchen too 😀

      My husband’s into vinyl too. I don’t expect it will ever go away (unlike cassette tapes and minidisc)

  9. I used to love to ice skate and sled in the winter. (Falling no longer appeals to me) Now I love to see my kids doing the same thing, usually from the safety of someplace warm.

    • Kids really know how to make the most of winter weather, don’t they? I love watching my daughter trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue!

  10. Mmmm…cooking and baking. Baked spuds split open and dripping with butter and cheese and Worcestershire sauce; hearty casseroles and stews with chunks of savoury meat, lentils, root vegetables and thick gravy; steamed sponge puds with lashings of custard (Birds custard, not the real thing). Mmmmmm….uhhhhhhh! *Groans with anticipation and pleasure* 😀

    • That was sounding wonderful until you got to the Birds custard bit – what about Ambrosia?! The real thing is best of all, though, if you can be bothered to make it 😉

      • Ambrosia always has a faint taste of germoline…which I don’t find very pleasant. I’ve never made proper custard – it’s on the ‘to do’ list for this year, along with pork pie.

  11. (third time I’m tying to post!!)

    I’m in Washington state, we are having our annual snowfall! I’m off work for a couple of days, reading and taking the dogs out to play! Loved reading how you all spend your winter time.

    • Oh no – have you been having password troubles? I’m trying to figure out how to fix that issue – it seems to affect people on certain servers or log ins, but not everyone :/

      Enjoy the snow – sounds like a blast!

  12. When I hear activity I think sport. Well, winter sports never were my cup of tea. I love cycling, but winter is the time I can use my bicycle (and it sucks). I can’t think of any particular thing I do wintertime – if anything, I tend to be less active in winters, LOL.

    • It does tend to be more challenging to stay active in winter, doesn’t it? Especially in a wet climate like Britain’s – I imagine it’s easier to have fun outdoors with plenty of snow.

    • Hi Juliana! I’m torn between envying you all that warmth and feeling rather glad to escape the humidity! It must be strange not having distinct seasons, but then I suppose you’re used to it :)

  13. oh! yes, I’m with Lou. I live in Los Angeles as well and so… there isn’t really a winter blues to beat. (lol) But when It is cold or rainy, I like to go out to the theaters or simply stay at home watch a movie and cuddle with my dog while drinking atole or champurrado.


    • Okay, don’t go rubbing it in now! 😉

      There are benefits to winter. Not a great many, but I’m trying to convince myself here. I like the sound of your rainy day activities too.

  14. I would love to see snow! I live in New Mexico and it’s only cold and windy – snow would at least be pretty to look at :-)

    smaccall AT

    • No snow ever? That’s rough. We don’t get much over here in Britain as a rule, and it looks like we might escape it entirely this winter.

      I always love snow for a day or two, then it starts to look mucky and get tiresome to walk in. It’s absolutely magical though on that first morning when you open the curtains to see the world transformed :)

  15. We are having a rather mild winter, but when it does snow, I love to watch birds. We live in the country and have several bird feeders. Anytime it snows, the most beautiful birds show up. Lot’s of cardinals and chikadees.

    • Wonderful! That sounds like a great activity 😀

      The birds refuse to visit my little garden, which I think has something to do with the two cats next door. Ah well – I suppose I get to watch them frolic instead…

  16. Yeah, a brisk winter walk in the woods (well, local nature reserve, it’s too built up here for woods) is great, as long as there has been no rain. The nature reserve is built on old clay pit quarries and any water means jeans and boots end up an interesting orange colour!

  17. I really enjoy seeing it snow prettily–once or twice–and then I’m about done! For being a winter-baby, I don’t really do well with the cold. Now back when I was in college or lived close enough to friends to play snowball softball and snow-tackle football, then I was kept warm enough! I think my reunion’s coming up soon… :>

    • Mmm, that sounds good! I’m enjoying baths a lot more since I’ve plucked up the courage to take my ereader in with me. So far *fingers crossed* I haven’t dropped it…

  18. Some nice pictures there. I’m a little envious of all the “doesn’t feel like winter” folks since it is six below (F) this morning. Favourite winter activity? Writing with the dog as a lap warmer (sort of like favourite summer activity except than then he’s too flipping hot and still insists on being my laptop.) And hot chocolate – the first guy who combined cocoa and sugar was a genius.

    • Hi Kaje! It’s feeling wintry here too, but at least it makes spring all that more special when it comes around…

      Hot chocolate is wonderful! I haven’t had one in a while – clearly that needs to be remedied :)

  19. Personally I prefer to sit in front of my gas fireplace with a warm blanket, a cup of hot chocolate and a good book….but J.P. Barnaby’s way has merit… :)

  20. My favorite wintertime activity is napping and dreaming of summer and warmer places. The older I get the less I like winter. Hmmm, I guess that may be why Florida is full of geezers that think like me. My favorite yearlong activity is, of course, reading and escaping to other more interesting places and people.

    • Hi Nancy! I often think I should spend the winter months down in the Mediterranean and then come back to Britain for the summer, as I really don’t like it too hot, but I crave a bit of year-round sunshine.

      Reading is one way of getting there, isn’t it? An awful lot cheaper than a plane ticket, and considerably less chance of sunburn 😉

  21. I love wintertime … My favourite activity depends on weather or not we get snow so far none this winter but I love walking on fresh snow … I love the landscape and clean and fresh everything looks

    Sarah S

    • Hi Sarah S – snow does look incredible when it’s fresh, doesn’t it? There’s something so special about being the first set of footprints over a pristine white field :)

  22. winter activities….. when younger, it was full steam ahead for skiing, ice skating, sledding etc but now that i’m a bit older….. i enjoy “watching” my children enjoy those fun activities. 😀 And sitting by a fire with a book in one hand and a drink in another makes it even better. I still enjoy a sled ride now and then cuz im not that old 😛 😛

    the best feeling though in winter that relaxes your soul is sitting outside after a brand new snow fall, preferably in the early evening and just listening to all the quiet…. its amazing!

    • Oh yes – that strange hush that falls over everything with the blanket of snow. I know exactly what you mean! I also love the way you can tell it’s snowed overnight by the odd light coming through the curtains in the morning :)

  23. if we actually had snow in Arkansas this winter, i would like to sit and watch the snow while reading a book….as is I sit by the fire with a good book and a cup of coffee.

  24. I like a nice walk while bundled up. It can be on a beach or just along a sidewalk. Granted, I live in Florida so snow is a moot point, but I have spent part of winter up north (snowbird in reverse) and one winter in Europe and nothing beats it.

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