Today I am so pleased to welcome Shae Connor to Joyfully Jay. It’s Shae’s birthday and she is here to celebrate with us! Shae has brought some of her favorite recipes and a great giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome and wishing her a very happy birthday!

It’s My Birthday, but You Get the Presents!

Shae Connor Gift

Hi all, and thanks to Jay for letting me visit today! I’m here to celebrate because today is my birthday, yay! I’m off somewhere in Manhattan right now, playing tourist and (OMG!) seeing Hamilton on Broadway, but I left this post behind for all of you to enjoy.

First off, I decided to share two of my favorite holiday cookie recipes. The “Nut Tree Cookies,” as I dubbed them when I was about 4 years old, have been a family tradition most of my life. The white chocolate cranberry came along more recently, but they are amazing.

As for the other present? Well, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card that you can use for last-minute holiday shopping or keep allllll for yourself. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with one of two things: your favorite holiday cookie, or your favorite holiday romance. Or both! (Links appreciated as well.) One entry per person. 🙂

And now: the cookies!

Nut Tree and White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Nut Tree Cookies (aka Toffee Bars)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
½ cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 by 9 baking pan.

Mix thoroughly butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. Blend in flour. (Dough will be very stiff; mixing by hand may be needed for the last of the flour.) Press mixture evenly in bottom of pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until very light brown (crust will be soft). Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle milk chocolate chips over crust. As soon as chocolate is soft, spread evenly over crust. Sprinkle top with nuts. Cut into 1-inch squares before completely cooled.


White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 egg
½ tablespoon vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries (and nuts, if using). Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. For best results, take out while still slightly doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


Heart & SoulLove can sneak up on you in the last place you’d expect.

Kellen Grady has known he’s gay since he was a teenager, but he’s never been that interested in dating. A professional pianist, he’s happy spending his days teaching students of all ages and his nights working and playing at an Atlanta bar and concert venue. When former pro football player Terrence Harvey and his brother buy the bar, Kellen’s thrown by the change to his routine, but he develops a quick friendship with Terrence, drawn to his sunny nature and sharp mind. Then their relationship takes a turn when Terrence surprises Kellen with a kiss. The unexpected action, though not unwelcome, leaves Kellen faced with reevaluating everything he thought he knew—about Terrence, and about himself.


Shae ConnorShae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. A member of the Romance Writers of America, Shae was first published in 2010 and has a lineup of short stories, novellas, and novels available.

Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not in front of her laptop, she enjoying cooking, traveling, watching baseball, reading voraciously, wearing tiaras, and hugging a lot. She’s also the volunteer Director/Editor for the Dragon Con on-site publication, the <em>Daily Dragon</em>.

You can find Shae hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can visit her website at or email her at shaeconnorwrites


Shae has brought a $25 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. And feel free to share your favorite cookies or your favorite holiday romance novel! The contest ends on Tuesday, December 20th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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