Tuesday, December 31, 2019

"A Cup o' Kindness..." by Liz Flaherty #RomanceGems

It is the last day of a tumultuous year.

I'm tired of tumultuous years.

For the second year in a row, I lost a brother. As happens a lot with adult siblings, we didn't see each other that much. We didn't agree on much. We didn't always like each other. But he was a person I loved every day of my life until the day he left it. He loved me back. That's a hard thing to lose.

RWA has been "the home place" for me for over 20 years. Even when I no longer belonged to a chapter, I still paid my national dues. I loved so much about it. I loved RWR. I loved that so many questions were answered, that so much was done over the years for authors, that it was a sisterhood to end all sisterhoods. I didn't love it all the time, though, and I didn't love everything about it, and this past weekend I resigned. I'm glad I did. It was time. The organization and I no longer did anything for each other. I felt, I told someone, as if I was deserting a sinking ship. I think I may have been, but the truth was that it was no longer my ship and there was no room for me on board.

Writing has been...haphazard this year. I've had splendid days when I've written some of my best stuff ever. I've also had more awful days than usual, when all I've accomplished is 12 words and 43 games of Solitaire. A book I expected to do well hasn't exactly jumped off Amazon. A proposal I loved wasn't accepted.

Friendships have changed. Some have gone away completely. I miss those friends and them being non-responsive has left a blank spot I'm not sure  how to fill up. I wonder what I did or didn't do even when common sense tells me I didn't do anything wrong. It was probably just time.

In some cases, it was probably political. Not only do we have different views, we can't even argue them civilly. I can't bear that I really never knew those people; I'm certain they feel the same way about me.

But now it's the end of the day. The year. The decade. But, actually, for me, those things are incidental. What really matters--again, for me--is that my family's alive and well and hilarious and that the man I've been married to for 48 years is still the man I'm married to. Not that my brothers died, but that they lived. And that even though it is the end of all those things I listed, it's the beginning of a whole bunch of others. And tomorrow, say Scarlett and I, is another day. (She may have said it first. And better.)

Happy New Year and blessings to you all. I wish you all a cup o' kindness.

Oh, and while you're here, it's the last day to enter the December giveaway. Go ahead--we'll wait!

Monthly Giveaway page features our December promotion, CANDY CANE KISSESEnter here: Monthly Rafflecopter Prizes

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Written in the Stars by Nora LeDuc #Romance Gems

"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."

When I was a teenager in the pre-internet days, many people received their celebrity and pop news from the tabloids. My aunt was a big fan of these papers, and fortunately, she loved to pass them on to me. I read them cover to cover.

My favorite issue was the one containing the New Year's predictions. Which movie star couple was about to break up or make a commitment? Would that teen heartthrob who sold millions of songs kick his addiction? Did that single sweet TV star give birth to a secret baby? Who was having a clandestine hookup? Yes, the answers were written within the pages.

Many nights I stayed up late, learning the fates of the famous. My mother was amused. My brother would shake his head and lecture, "That's all made up stuff." I always vowed to check the outcome of the prophecies in the upcoming months, but truthfully, never did.

Now as I zoom forward to the present, I'm still curious what the psychics and soothsayers tell us will happen in 2020. I've looked up a few for our entertainment.  Did you know there are famous psychic twins? According to the article I found, they had warned of the  9/11 tragedy. What did they have to say about our futures? Well, I noted a couple in the area of health from their list: Contact lenses perform checkups of our blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Scientists discover a cure for prostate cancer.

In celebrity land, Judy Heavenly (love the name) offers the following headlines: Ryan Seacrest and his longtime girlfriend announce a wedding date. Katie Perry and Orlando Bloom  disclose they're expecting a baby,
and Tiger Woods wins a golf tournament.

Kristy Robinett, psychic medium predicts, "Love will burn bright in 2020, especially for the two fire signs Aries and Leo." My horoscope warns I should get ready for challenges and changes. I take this to mean my next book will need many revisions before publication.

Here's my wish for you in 2020––
     May you enjoy good health, happiness, and find many great books.
Love, Nora

And if you're searching for a great book, my ebook Gone Before Goodbye, the first in my 603 series, is on sale .99! 

When rebellious seventeen-year-old Lisa Grant vanishes from Pretty Park, her guardian, Teagan Raynes, becomes ensnared in the frantic hunt to find her. Desperate Teagan, reluctantly puts her faith in the lead detective, the notorious Noah Cassidy. Rumors that he attempted to kill the man found guilty of destroying his family in a boating accident have tainted him. His  reputation and job are on the line. To prove his worth, Noah devotes himself to Lisa's case and realizes he's up against a cunning adversary. Worse, he finds himself distracted by feelings for the attractive, gutsy Teagan. But he knows what he has to do. He must bring Lisa home and take down the monster who is hunting the girls of Pretty Park before it's too late.


And don't forget to enter our cool giveaways CANDY CANE KISSES. For all details visit our Monthly Giveaways Page. Or, go straight to the Entry Form.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Our Favorite Day by @KaraONealAuthor #RomanceGems

I'm so excited to finally share this! I've been waiting for December so I could tell y'all about it.

My family has a wonderful Christmas tradition. We call it Christmas Feast.

The first weekend in December we pull out the Christmas decorations -- we have A LOT -- so we can trim the tree and the house.

While the kids and my Prince Charming put everything out, I cook. I make all kinds of appetizers and finger foods. I use all my best and cute party platters, and our table is FULL of food. We eat for days after, which is just another great thing about it.

We listen to Christmas music, and the kids get all excited about each ornament they pull out and hang up. It's wonderful.

Y'all should know that I spend about 5 hours in the kitchen. My feet and back kill me by the time I'm done, but it's soooo worth it. I wouldn't trade it at all. The menu consists of:

1) Deviled eggs -- a riot ensues if I don't make these
2) Pigs in a blanket
3) Cheese tray
4) Cream cheese with jalapeno jelly
5) Jalapeno poppers
6) Pizza rolls
7) Parmesan crusted chicken tenders
8) Stuffed mushrooms
9) Veggies and dip
10) Egg rolls
11) Cookies galore
12) Taco sticks
13) Apples and a fruit dip
14) Pot stickers
15) Queso
16) Salsa

It's a lot. But it's sooooo great. I change it up each year, but only a little bit.

Once everything is done, we fill our plates and watch Home Alone. And the kids still giggle. They're 19, 17 and 13 now, but it doesn't matter. They love every bit of this day, and we have every intention of continuing it even after they're grown and gone. This year my daughter helped me with cooking, and she did such a great job. It only took three hours. I sure wish I had two ovens, though. That's for the next house, I guess.

Here's a little look into what it's like for us. The kids are younger in this video.

It's traditions like these that make it easy for me to write like I do. The best thing about my books is the family feel in them. I think it's become a trademark for me, because my readers remark on it often.

I'm glad I can evoke homey feelings in my stories. Hopefully it shows the love I have for my family and friends, and gives readers a sense of what life is all about.

What reminds you of family? What do you look forward to -- it doesn't have to be a Christmas tradition. Comment below and I'll send a copy of any book in my series to one lucky person -- winner can choose the book. Please leave your email!

And don't forget our December contest and giveaway! Enter CANDY CANE KISSES and win prizes! For all the details, visit our Monthly Giveaway page. Or, go straight to the ENTRY FORM.


Friday, December 27, 2019

Holiday RomComs do it for me! By Peggy Jaeger

Even though December 25th has come and gone ( like, literally, 2 days ago!) in my mind it is still the Holiday season until January 1st, so I can still talk about one of my favorite things: Holiday RomComs.

Holiday RomCom movies and books combine 2 of my favorite things: the HOLIDAYS ( DUH!!) and Romantic Comedies. I'm a huge fan of those 1930's and 1940's screwball movies starring Cary Grant, Kate Hepburn, Claudette Colbert. I'm also a huge fan of the more modern RomComs where the action might not be as frenetic, the romance can be a lot more open door, but the comedy is still the laugh out loud, belly shaker kind.

My favorite movies that fall into the HOLIDAY ROM COM arena are as follows:

LOVE ACTUALLY - a wonderful mish-mosh of vignettes that all play out around Christmas. There's love, loss, second chances, my boyfriend's best friend tropes, plus the dreamy Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson.

THE HOLIDAY Two women from different worlds trade houses at Christmas time, determined to re-energize their careers and lonely lives, only to find love and laughter. Jack Black is surprisingly charming in this flick!

THE FAMILY STONE One of my favorite topics to write about is families and all the craziness, personality clashes, love and laughter that make them up. This movie is a testament to starting over, second chances at love, loss and renewal. A real tear jerker. But laugh-out-loud funny, too. The best kind of RomCom!

THE LAST HOLIDAY The fabulous Queen Latifah is given a death sentence, health-wise. Unlucky in life and love, she is determined to do what she has only ever dreamed about and runs away to a fancy resort to spend her last days in elegance and style. The HEA in this holiday romcom is delicious - in more than one way!!

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT I had to throw in one of my fav oldies here! This one has a war hero, a journalist, a food critic and a case of mistaken identity!!! The entire plot revolves around a sham homemaker newsmagazine column ( think Dear Abby meets Martha Stewart!) and a publicity ploy gone wrong. Laughter and shenanigans ensue!

Now, because I love to read and watch Holiday RomComs, I also like to write them ( You just knew that was coming, didn't you? Hee Hee)

CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS is the 2019 winner of the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL AWARD and it has everything my favorite Holiday RomComs have: a big, loud, loving and crazy Italian/American family, a baker ( I love food!) a hunky hero who isn't looking for love, family loss and grief and a strong heroine who believes in family first.

With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she's got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she's better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can't find it in her heart to refuse him.

Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself—and his company's reputation—in Regina's capable hands. What he doesn't plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.

Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who's awoken her heart?

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS was my first San Valentino Holiday RomCom and to this day, I still treasure Gia and Tim like they were my own children!

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

The ROMANCE GEMS theme for December is CANDYCANE KISSES and I've got a ton of those in these two books!

Check out our just-for-you items in this month's Gems blog-0-sphere, including our rafflecopter.

Holiday Book Fair, a special page created just for you, our faithful readers. Our Holiday Book Fair is filled with dozens of Holiday Romance Novels. They're sure to thrill you, and they're priced low—some are even free! Visit our Holiday Book Fair which will be here until the end of December and check out all the bargains. Great stocking stuffers for your friends who read!

Movie Theater — Watch our new December video and the other new ones from our Authors. They'll put you in the holiday mood.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PuNK-yTwxkg/XdwqTMCJlhI/AAAAAAAACSA/zmfaPzvWalQLWTEHJxJ3uT0QSLpEIENUACPcBGAYYCw/s640/Candy%2BCane%2BKisses%2B.jpgGive special attention to our Monthly Giveaway page featuring our December promotion, CANDY CANE KISSES. This month we have bigger prizes and more prizes.

Thanks for joining us all season long and until next time ~ Peg

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Coffee and Conversation with the #RomanceGems

It's time for Coffee and Conversation with the Romance Gems! So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and join us for some fun. This month's topic is: What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

December thirty-first, New Year's Eve! To some it’s a reason to celebrate. For others it’s a time for quiet reflection and even resolutions. Still others feel it’s just another night. Do you “watch the ball drop?” on TV or in Times Square? Eat, drink, and make merry? Friends, family, or the pets? A special date with your honey and that magical midnight kiss? Maybe you must work or simply want to sleep? Tell me!

“Since our very early twenties, my husband and I have spent New Year's Eve in much the same way. We go out for dinner, a movie (when the kids were little we'd take them skating at an outdoor rink) and then home to watch the ball drop. We have appies and share a bottle of bubbly and reminisce. These days, we’re often asleep by the time the ball drops. LOL” ~ Bonnie Edwards

“This year, for the few weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, I'll be staying with my oldest daughter helping her with her new baby. I don't know exactly what I'll be doing, but most likely it will include hanging out and snuggling with my grandkids!” ~ Kari Lemor

“Karl and I will probably stay in where it’s cozy and watch a good movie.”
~ Karen Kelley

“My New Year's Eve plans will involve going out to the Strip in Las Vegas and partying it up! Just kidding! I'll be at home in my pajamas drinking sparkling apple juice with the kids and letting them stay up past their bedtimes. I party hard” ;) ~ Laura Hunsaker

New Year's Eve with kids and grand kids!
“Over the years, we've celebrated New Year's Eve in all different ways - big house parties, small family gatherings, fancy dinner events, dinner and dancing, and then my personal favorite: staying home with just my husband and our dogs. We did this for the first time two years ago and we had the best time EVER! Lobsters & steak by candlelight. Martinis, followed by - are you ready for it - karaoke in the music room. (My husband plays the drums & I play a mean tambourine). In fact, it was so much fun, we've decided to do a repeat this year! Wherever you go & however you spend New Year's Eve, I hope it is filled with hope, happiness, health & wealth!” xo ~ Elsa Kurt

Peggy Jaeger says, "I'm down there somewhere. Can you spot me?"
“In my 20’s I lived in Manhattan and would routinely watch the “ball drop” on 12.31, live, from a spot on a street in Times Square. With frigid temps, inclement weather, immovable drunken crowds, and surrounded by millions of my closest friends, this was the only way I ever wanted to ring in the New Year. Now in my 50’s, sitting up in bed and wearing my jammies, the electric blanket covering me, a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, I’m routinely sound asleep by ten p.m. on 12.31. Best New Year’s Evah!” ~ Peggy Jaeger

“I look forward to the New Year. It always feels like a fresh start—a second chance to "get it right" or at least get it done. The fading year has been a difficult one. I'll admit I'm tired and a bit burned out. Normally, we have a New Year's Eve party, but I need to recharge so Larry and I plan a quiet evening at our home in the country. We'll watch the fireworks from the back porch, and we'll have champagne—a must. Happy New Year to all!” ~ Joan Reeves

Champagne at home for Kathleen Lawless
“I’ve always tended to be a stay-at-home gal on New Year’s Eve, although I did get dragged out a few times by well-meaning family and friends when I was single. Usually I couldn’t wait for midnight to say my goodbyes. Steel and I, still in the honeymoon stage after nine years, have been in the habit of making a lovely lobster dinner for ourselves and curling on the couch to watch the ball drop. Naturally, Champagne is involved. When a friend offered us her seaside condo last year I was unsure, but found it really relaxing to be away from the post-Christmas “should do’s” at home. We’re heading there again this year to welcome in 2020.” ~ Kathleen Lawless

“I will be in my pajamas, I hope, and writing on New Year's. I'm not a big fan of the holiday because I get tired. However, I look forward to it now, and it’s my husband’s fault. For the last three years, he's taken video every day, and he turns that into what he calls his "One Second Video". He puts together a montage of one second of every day for the entire year. And we watch it on January 1st. It's beautiful. It makes New Year's very special. So special, in fact, that I stay awake for it!” ~ Kara O’Neal

Nancy Fraser's bayberry candles for good luck!
“My plans for New Year's Eve always include my youngest grandchild. While the others are partying, he and I follow some family traditions like putting a jar of change out in the snow to bring us luck and wealth in the new year and lighting Bayberry candles for good health. Yes, my mom was superstitious and I've carried on the quirks. Once we’ve completed our tasks, we warm up some mulled cider, raid the cookie jar, and watch a movie. Lately it’s become a real test to see who can stay awake the longest!” ~ Nancy Fraser

“On New Year’s Eve, we review the past year and discuss plans for the New Year. Nothing too detailed, just general goals. The past year was a difficult one for our family so we’re hoping 2020 will include better experiences. We’re homebodies and stay home, watch a movie on television, and drink hot chocolate. This year, our oldest daughter will still be with us for a few more days. She’s also enjoys a quiet evening at home. Not exciting for most people, but pleasant for us.” ~ Caroline Clemmons 

“I just made plans to go to a resort in the Berkshires where it will be way too cold but where we've gone for several years. Nothing special planned for New Year's Eve. We'll see what's going on when we get there. It's a nice area to hike and they have an indoor pool and hot tub! And good restaurants in the area.” ~ Hannah Rowan

“New Year’s Eve is festive time for our family, typically spent at home. We’ve had everything from big parties to quiet nights with just us. Either way, we cook Tex-Mex, grill ribs (some years in a snowstorm!) and ring in the new year with margaritas and champagne. This year we’re hosting our closest friends and family. There will be music, laughter, playful pups, and lots of food and love to spread around."
~ Kathryn Hills

Okay, it's your turn to join the conversation! Add your comments below or send via email through the "contact us” link on the bottom of the left sidebar. You can also make suggestions on what you'd like to discuss here in the future.

Thanks for joining us! Wishing you ALL a very happy, healthy, prosperous new year!

~ The Romance Gems ~

Don't miss out! There's still time to enter our December Giveaway!
Ends 11:50 pm EST, Tuesday, December 31st

Go to our RAFFLECOPTER to win 1 of 5 Amazon Gift Cards 
Or, visit our Monthly Giveaway Page

PLUS...There's a Holiday Book Fair!
Give yourself the gift of Romance!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

What I Learned about Hallmark Christmas Movies by Cheryl Bolen

Over a year ago I was asked to be the lead author in a Christmas anthology scheduled for 2019. Since this compilation was going to have broad exposure, I wanted to ensure my story was as good as it could be. I really angsted over it. I’d written quite a few Christmas novellas, and several had won awards. I wanted this one to be better than any I’d done before. 

But I was fresh out of ideas for warm, heart-melting Christmas stories. So I thought I’d start watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel for inspiration. Right here I must give thanks to my patient husband for allowing this. You see, like most men, he doesn’t really enjoy this style of chick flick, but he indulged me all in the name of research. Oh, there was a lot of eye rolling and yawning on his part, but his complaints were of the mild variety.

With few exceptions, I found that these movies fit a pattern. They are set in small, rural towns. And these towns all had a commonality in that everyone in these towns is so welcoming and loving. And racial diversity is always depicted in these settings, too.

In most cases, the hero or heroine is an outsider who ends up spending Christmas in this town—an occurrence that comes about not from a conscious decision but from an unforeseen development. Instead of feeling like an outsider, though, the newcomer is showered with good, ol’ down-home hospitality from these warm townspeople (and especially the person who becomes the love interest).

There is usually a small subplot that may explain why the hero or heroine has come to the town, and oftentimes this has some connection to the town’s Christmas festival. A lot of the time there is a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and this always involves a countdown! 

The best of these shows will have a genuine conflict; the worst have none at all. Few of the stories are memorable.  The one that was the most memorable was one in which the heroine, a single mother, had a lot of challenges which touched the viewers’ emotions. In addition to connecting with the hero, she connected with a grandmotherly woman who helped her. While the romantic escalation was expected, there was a bonus surprise that had to do with a backstory involving the grandmotherly character and provided an immensely satisfying ending.

As to the romance in these tales, there’s always a scene where they’re discovering a bond between them and move toward each other for an embrace or kiss, but this is always interrupted! That’s because the hero and heroine can’t kiss until the final scene. In each show, the last shot is reserved for that longed-for embrace and a nice long smooch where the cameras do a long fade away to let us know our hero and heroine have at last found their happily ever after.

It was worth it to watch all these shows for that one kernel which provided a small spark to get the creative juices flowing to my brain. The end result was my story titled One Room at the Inn in our Winter Wishes anthology. It's now my favorite of the nine Christmas novellas I've written. The collection landed in a respectable position on the USA Today bestseller list, garnered good reviews, and was selected by one blog as the best Christmas book of 2019!

Visit me at

www.CherylBolen.com           Blog              Facebook           Pinterest

Go to our Monthly Giveaway Page here for a chance to win Amazon gift cards. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Have a Ferry Merry Christmas by Judith Hudson

Here on Vancouver Island we are lucky to have the warmest weather in Canada. But even here winter sometimes rears it's white-maned head. Here's a Christmas memory of a wintery Christmas a few years ago, and how BC Ferries saved the day.

One snowy night before Christmas, I waited with an expectant crowd in the parking lot of the Nanaimo ferry terminal on eastern Vancouver Island. The crowd was buzzing with excitement. An entire family in Santa hats arrived, adding to the festive air.
Lights spilled out the open terminal doorways highlighting the falling snow. We don’t usually get snow on Vancouver Island, maybe a couple of days each winter, but in this particular Christmas season we, like most of Canada, had been battered by wave after wave of snowstorms.
Taking ferries to and from the mainland is a fact of life for islanders everywhere. As I waited in the dark parking lot for my daughter, I thought back to the first time I spotted her, blurry through my tears, among the hundreds of students pouring out into the parking lot on her first Thanksgiving weekend home from university. Now, years later, she lives in Vancouver and once again the ferry was bringing her home for the holidays.
But what about my husband? I’d taken him to the tiny Nanaimo Airport two weeks before in the middle of the first blinding snowstorm to catch a flight east to attend a family emergency. When we got to the airport we discovered nothing was flying out that day – but if he could get the ferry to Vancouver,  he might still catch his connecting flight. In almost white-out conditions, we made a run for the ferry and he did just make his flight that day.
Now, two weeks later, as I slogged through the snow to pick up my daughter, I wondered if he’d get home the following night in time for Christmas. My trusty Rav 4 made it to the ferry, the windshield wipers barely clearing the window before the sticky snow covered it again, the headlights showing only the swirling snow ahead.
My daughter and I stopped at the airport on our drive home to see what the chances were of my husband’s flight making it in the next night, Christmas Eve.
Apparently zero to none.
In the empty, echoing airport, we heard an attendant tell a traveler that the bags he’d last seen two days before in Vancouver might be in the truck of lost luggage that had just rolled off the ferry. And that they might get the trucks unpacked in the next few days.
“But tomorrow is Christmas eve,” he wailed. “All of our presents are in those bags.”
“Sorry,” the attendant said. 
Although we here on the coast love to complain about holiday ferry sailing waits, the fact remains that, barring gale force winds, the ferries will make it through. They’re our stalwart link to the mainland and, for me, on this unusually snowy Christmas, the ghostly white ship was the envoy responsible for pulling our family together.
It kept on snowing right through Christmas Eve, but finally, at noon on Christmas day, even though his plane was grounded in Vancouver, my husband made it home, with his bags, on the ferry.
It’s the same story for families up and down the coast, from Saltspring to the Queen Charlotte Islands. In good times and bad, and when all else fails, we count on the ferries to keep our families together.

I hope your family has a safe and sound holiday. And if you can't all get together this year, curl up with a good book and a cu of your favourite beverage and enjoy a quiet day. 
Happy holidays,
Judith Hudson

Monday, December 23, 2019

Shiny Brites and Other Treasured Ghosts from Christmases Past by Kathryn Hills #RomanceGems

It happened just a year ago. My family home of seventy years was sold, and everything needed to go. Decades of happy memories, gone through, divided up, donated, or thrown away. My two siblings and I, plus a couple of our kids, chipped in to tackle the monumental task. From the musty basement to the eaves of the dusty old attic, we sorted through our parent’s and grandparent’s lives along with our childhood things. There were laughs, countless stories, and more than a few tears. Parting with a beloved place can be rough.

Then came the effort of taking what we wanted back to our own homes and families. Cars were jam-packed, every remaining box, scrap of paper, and old cloth used as transport material. Two moving trucks laterthank God, because we foolishly imagined we could move some of the big stuff ourselveswe were on our way. It’d been a long time since any of us moved on such on grand scale.

Some things are still packed away, but others immediately became a part of my family’s holidays. My mother’s dining room furniture… That china closet takes me back. The sound of it openingrattling glass and dishesand its familiar, pleasing scent. Childhood and the first home I’d ever known was still there! It had been my job as a kid to dust and wax that furniture whenever we entertained. I can’t smell Lemon Pledge without reminiscing. Now, that china closet is proudly displayed in my home.

From that "dusty old attic" came Christmas ornaments. Shiny Brites to be precise. Some so old and fragile, there is no way they’d hang on a tree again. To keep them safe I purchased fancy glass jars. They graced my own tables beginning last season, and I just put them out again.

And mom’s dining room table? It’s now in my family room/kitchen space, so our guests can enjoy it. Last Christmas Eve, family and friends shared their own stories around that table. Everything had come full-circle.

But the best part was Christmas morning, when I was up alone and early with my pups. My memories were all there, nestled into the hush of the peaceful winter’s morning. I sat with my coffee, gazing at our pretty tree and all the new, “old” things surrounding me again. It had been quite a harrowing journey, getting everything there. Especially during the hectic holiday season. Yet, I could feel them…my treasured ghosts of Christmases Past. They’d found a new home with me, and it was perfect!

Psst...want to hear an author secret? I've got a "thing" for attics, basements, and the treasures they can hide. Perhaps it's more of a ghost hunter thing, but places like those are intriguing to me. They play their parts in my Time Traveler's Journey Series. Take a peek at My Books if you'd like to learn more.

Also, if you're a fan of Shiny Brite ornaments, check out a fun and informative post on the history of these classic holiday decorations by DIY decorating guru Laura Tedesco - CrackerJack23.

Thanks for reading! I wish you ALL a blessed holiday season and a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!

~ Kathryn

Visit our Holiday Book Fair for holiday-themed reads from RomanceGems Authors

And don't forget the December Giveaway!

Enter our December RAFFLECOPTER to win 1 of 5 Amazon Gift Cards!
Or, visit our Monthly Giveaway Page