Today I am so pleased to welcome Annabeth Albert to Joyfully Jay. Annabeth has come to talk to us about her latest release, Better Not Pout. She has also brought along some great giveaways. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Greetings!  I’m thrilled to be here on one my favorite blogs talking about one of my favorite things—holiday romances. My latest, BETTER NOT POUT, stars a cranky solider about to leave the service and a much-younger man intent on giving him a good holiday. This one stands completely alone, so if you’ve been waiting to try my military romances, this is the perfect time to try! And this one really is my love letter to everything I love about the season and seasonal romances.

This is my second holiday romance (the other one WRAPPED TOGETHER is one my favorite fluffy things I’ve written!), and it was so wonderful to do another romance set in the season I love so much. As I plotted BETTER NOT POUT, I made a list of everything I love in holiday romances and then tried to include as many as I could in one book. It was a delightful exercise. So, what do I love in holiday romances?

  • Big Families—It’s no secret that I love my secondary characters. ROUGH TERRAIN, which is coming in January, has one of my all-time favorite secondary characters. And in BETTER NOT POUT, I got to include one of my most favorite things, a huge extended family filled with cousins and aunts and uncles.  I love when holiday romances include memorable secondary characters, especially multiple generations, and I enjoy both big, happy families as well as ones that are trying to find their footing.
  • Lots of Food—Okay, I love food in books to begin with, but one thing I love about seasonal romances is the chance to include so many favorites and figure out which character has which favorite food. From pie to turkey to cookies and hot chocolate, seasonal reads always make me hungry!
  • Snowed In—Not all holiday romances need snow. I’ve read some great ones set in sunny and warm places, but snow is so much fun to write (not as much fun to deal with in reality!) that I knew I wanted to include some element of forced proximity in the book. Besides, there is something so magical about a snow-covered holiday.
  • One Bed—It’s cliché. It’s SO cliché. And yet, I love it. I cheer when I see this trope coming in movies and books. I will never stop wanting to read this trope.
  • Grumpy “scrooge” heroes—I love A Christmas Carol and all it’s many, many adaptations. Movies. Books. Romances. I love them all, but at the heart of what I love is grumpy heroes who need to learn what’s truly important in life and who need to open their hearts to some holiday magic. There are few things more fun than taking a holiday hating hero and giving him reason to change his mind.
  • Holiday parties and gatherings—Ensemble scenes are really hard to write, at least for me. It’s hard juggling all the characters and setting, but I adore reading party scenes and seeing them in movies and TV shows too. From office parties to family gatherings, group scenes include so much opportunity for conflict, growth, and even comedic relief!
  • Holiday music—I’ll totally cop to writing BETTER NOT POUT and WRAPPED TOGETHER just for the excuse to keep listening to holiday music in January.
  • Important lessons about priorities—At the heart of every great seasonal romance is a lesson for the characters about what’s truly important in life. And this does differ from book to book—I’ve read books that center family while others center work/life balance or risk taking. But it’s the uplifting message that’s a big part of what I love about holiday romances.
  • Starting and keeping traditions—Figuring out what traditions certain characters hold dear and which they might want to start for future years is really gratifying characterization work.  I love when authors include characters starting new traditions especially or carrying on past ones too.
  • Questionable fashion choices—It gets so boring putting characters in jeans and T-shirts. Getting to change it up with sweaters and scarves and weather-appropriate accessories is FUN. And Santa suits? Always fun.
  • Heartwarming feels—A happy ending is pretty much guaranteed in romance, but sometimes there’s a ton of angst to get there. What I love about holiday romances is how warm and fuzzy they can be, even when tackling serious issues or going long. It’s like slipping on a favorite sweater or drinking a big mug of hot chocolate—warm and comforting and exactly what you need on dark days.

Do you have favorite things in holiday romances? Tropes? Themes? Favorite books that showcase those things? Share in the comments! I hope you check out BETTER NOT POUT. And if audio is one of your favorite things as you wrap presents and prepare for the season, the audio is coming November 27.


One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.


Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Connect with Annabeth Albert:


Annabeth has brought two copies of any backlist Out of Uniform series book or a finished paperback of Better Not Pout to give away along her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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