Blogging On Christmas-Bah Humbug!

Have I ever written a Christmas story? Nope. I’m part Scrooge. I love Christmas, but I have no desire to frame an entire book around one holiday. I do have a Thanksgiving wedding in one book, and we survive a shooting on Christmas in another, but they are only there because that’s where the timeline fell. I can assure you, I didn’t plan it that way.

Do I have a favorite Christmas story? Nope. In fact, if I can tell a book is centered on a holiday, I pass it by. Why? I told you, part Scrooge. As a matter of fact, I’m feeling pretty Scroogie right now. The family Christmas this year of no less than nineteen bodies nearly did me in. Too many cranky kids! All I wanted to do was come home and go to bed, but I balked at a 6:45 bedtime. I’m not that old.

My next option was to sit down and watch my favorite Christmas movie. A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim is the bomb. I love it. But instead of wallowing in an awesome tale of redemption, I’m writing this blog. It’s no one’s fault but my own. And the fact that it’s Christmas.You know, meeting yourself at the door time.

I should be doing the dishes from cooking pumpkin bread and taco salad but again, nope, I’m typing. Our holiday meal today was south of the border. My youngest son submitted it was a two-for-one, a tasty meal that provided its own entertainment later in the evening. Oh, did I say, my son? I meant the father of three of my grandkids. I would never raise someone so gauche. 

On that lovely note I think I will end this epistle with a good-bye. This is my last blog. I will be going to school in South Carolina for three months so will be leaving WARA in 2015. If you’ve ever had a hankering to try your hand at writing, check us out. WARA is full of good people. 

I know that the holiday officially ended last night, but I’m going to say it anyway. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to each and every one of you.

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (Penny Rader)

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Our topic this month is Have you ever written a Christmas book? or What's your favorite Christmas book?

I haven't yet written a full story centered around Christmas, but Christmas does find its way into a couple scenes of my historical romance, Sapphire and Gold.  I shared one scene in a blog post a couple years back, Christmas Romance.  Here's another snippet, from the black moment (very short, so as not to give away too much):
The four of them kept a vigil for the remainder of the night. When the first light of day streaked across the sky, Derek’s fever broke and he settled into a healing sleep. Alexandra refused to leave the chamber, insistent upon being there when he awoke.
She passed the eve of Christmas by the side of the man she loved. Derek’s parents and sisters took turns sitting with Alexandra as did Polly. Jillian visited often, seemingly content to sit by Alexandra’s side.
Derek opened his eyes for a moment to smile at her before slumber once again claimed him. The clarity of his eyes and the lack of infection lifted her soul with gladness. Dusk shaded the bedchamber.
The boom of a cannon in the distance heralded the holiday season and reminded Alexandra that it was Christmas Eve. A snippet from a song ran through her thoughts. “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.”
The only thing she wanted was for her true love to open his eyes and grin at her again. Fatigued from the strain of the past two days, she prepared for bed and snuggled against Derek. She needed the strength and warmth he emitted even while sleeping.

How about you?  Have you written a Christmas story or have a favorite Christmas story? I'd love to hear your recommendations -- I can never get enough of Christmas stories.  They help make the Christmas season last longer for me.


P.S.  You can find my response to the second topic in an earlier post, A Few of My Favorite...Christmas Stories.

Christmas Stories:

            I love them. I've never written one. I treat myself to them as they are a continuous portion of the holidays for me.
            Starting with Thanksgiving, when the lights go up all around. Every main street has lights. My friends and I tour neighborhoods one ‘date’ night in three towns to see the lights.
            Sounds. Laughter. Joy in giggles and oh’s of children. The sounds of a good fire. Music pours from every place with a speaker. My computer, my house, stores, friend’s homes. Oh, just give me a little country singing, some funny songs, and don’t forget those Mannheim Steamroller moments. I sing Christmas carols to myself as I drive to town.
            My birthday is on the twenty-third. Another holiday to celebrate. I do whatever I want to on my birthday. Our family didn't have much in money. We always celebrated birthdays with a present, a cake, and a day of doing whatever we wished—someone else did our chores. When I say as we wished, I mean that no one directed our activities.
The magic of scents of the Season—baking. Ovens dusty from lack of use get warmed up for Christmas. My smoke alarm is off the wall at the moment because I’m tired of everyone’s jokes about using it as a timer. It is really time to clean the sucker, but who has time now? Trees, oh, yum. The smell of Christmas trees everywhere. Dampness. The scent of it as you walk down the sidewalk.
Christmas packages—oh my! Ribbons and bows and yards of paper. I sometimes cluster bows to make a bigger one! Let them STACK! Part of my decorations for Christmas is a batch of permanent present boxes. They have lids and store other decorations when out of season. Right now they’re stacked in a spare chair in the living room over a throw of spangled and beaded cloth. Looks Opulent.
Lights. We don’t do a tree in our house, we do long lengths of lighted greenery and banners and glitter abounds. They top the bookcase, the china hutch, on a beam above the entrance to the kitchen—all different, all similar, all on timers. The flicker candles are all around and on timers too. At our house it is like a light symphony, the lamps come on at five and off at two AM. The candles come on at five and off at midnight. The garlands come on at five thirty and off at eight fifteen.  Except the flicker candles in my bedroom, they go on at eight and off at two AM.
Then there is the wrapping. I wrap while my husband reads me a story. He hates Christmas music, but he will read to me while I wrap.
Cards, those pesky things, they decorate a shelf on the bookcase. I have another holiday for me during the beginning of December. I go to a restaurant, or cafe, and I sit for the afternoon making out my Christmas cards. I have a small case that has everything in it, cards, paper, pens, cartoons for inserting, stamps, stickers, addresses, who got what last year. This holiday I spend eating pie, drinking coffee, talking to people who wonder by. I let go of everything that must be done and sit. Waitresses and their bosses are wonderful. They pamper and fetch. They watch my mess during bathroom breaks.  This year two marines came in and I got to buy them a meal—anonymously—so it was extra fun.
Movies. I have my favorite Christmas movie, Christmas in Connecticut, and I watch it every year! There used to be a lot of groaning about it, but now my husband enjoys it too.
The last holiday of the year—New Years!  A day of hope.
We don’t have family at the Holidays—or rarely. It is a dangerous time to be traveling, not to mention tiring. But we do see each other at other times during the year and hoot it up then.

While it is true, I haven’t written a Christmas story—it looks like I've written a dedication to the holiday season.  So, have yourselves a merry Christmas—however you determine it to be!
 Blessings, Cheer, and Joy to everyone!!

Christmas, Oh Christmas by J Vincent

The topic for December is
Have you ever written a Christmas book?  (or) What’s your favorite Christmas book?

I haven't written a Christmas book, but I have written a Christmas story--one that I shared several years ago on the blog.  It's entitled Santa's Gloved Hand.  It's a memory rather than a fictional tale but still vivid after more than fifty years.  Take a glance at it and share a memory to two from your childhood.

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My favorite Christmas books are/were Regency Christmas Anthologies.  Signet published many of these and they were always on my Christmas list.  Mary Balogh, Edith Layton, Barbara Metzger, Carla Kelly were a few of the authors than contributed to my enjoyment. Heartwarming stories of romance warm a cold winter night and I so enjoyed escaping into the Regency Christmas where there was always a happy ending..
I must have had over twenty in my collection before we moved.  Note I said, before--I gifted them to an assisted living center erroneously thinking I could get then as ebooks. Sadly these anthologies have fallen out of fashion.  You can still get Christmas anthologies but they are modern.

Wishing you the Merriest Christmas!  For you writers --may your books be published, your stories read. For readers --may you find the kind of books that carry you to another place and refresh your soul.

Christmas Books

Patricia Davids here wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.
Christmas Books is the topic for our blog this month. Who doesn't love a great Christmas story. I know I do. However, liking them and writing them are two different kettles of eggnog. 
I happen to have two Christmas stories out this year, but I'm not overly fond of writing Christmas stories. Don't get me wrong, I love the season and the reason for the season, but adding the true spirit of Christmas to a romance can be difficult.
My current Christmas stories involve Amish characters. The Amish do very little to mark the holiday other than gather with family for a hearty dinner. In Amish homes there are no trees, no garland, no lights to mark the occasion. There isn't a special church service. It's all about reflecting on the birth of our Savior, not about gifts or shopping. I have to admit, that has a strong appeal. No shopping. 
The big event for the community is the Christmas pageant put on by the schools each year. Amish children spend weeks getting ready, writing plays and poems that present the true meaning of Christmas, practicing hymns and songs. It is the only time Amish children are encouraged to perform.

Amish traditions aside, people seem to love books set at Christmastime. Are you the same? Do you look for Christmas books this time of year? Does a good book put you in the Christmas spirit? Let me hear your thoughts on the subject.
Oh, and Merry Christmas.