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The 12th and FINAL Blog of Christmas

web pic with christmas tree 2Now for our FINAL post for the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the organizer himself, Martin Crosbie.

In a press release, Amazon called Martin Crosbie one of their success stories of 2012. His self-publishing journey has been chronicled in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. He’s the author of six books including the Kindle Scout winner “The Dead List – A John Drake Mystery”.

Martin was born in the Highlands of Scotland and currently makes his home just outside Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada.

HERE IS MARTIN’S BLOG POST:

Last year on the night after Christmas, even though it had been an exceptionally busy day, I drove a car-load of family members around the streets of our town. For two and a half hours we drove up and down roads searching out the brightest, most illuminating lights on people’s houses and lawns. My eighty-six year old passenger in the back seat, wrapped in a blanket and clutching a mug of hot chocolate, smiled the whole time and asked me pull over and look at every light on every street. Two days later we took her into hospital and three weeks after that we lost her.

Doreen Clark was diagnosed with cancer when she was thirty years old. It was a form of cancer that took ninety-five percent of its victims. She beat it. In the following fifty-six years she lost a kidney, suffered heart failure, lost the ability to walk without a walker and overcame it all. She beat everything that was thrown at her. Some people are resilient, she was more than that. She was unbreakable…Click here to read more…

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 11th Blog of Christmas

12 Blogs of Christmas (2)

When I was asked to participate in 12 Blogs of Christmas, I was thrilled. Not because it was about Christmas–which is awesome, but because I would be motivated to share a story each day. I hope you enjoyed all the posts by other writers and have a wonderful Christmas Season!

Here is my contribution for December 23rd, the 11th Blog of Christmas. And before you ask, there’s nuthin about 11 pipers piping!..

12 Blogs of Christmas (3)

My Christmas Mystery Man

There is a certain magic I experience right at midnight every Christmas Eve. The entire world seems to pause and the air is different somehow. I relax completely, despite the recent whirlwind of activity over the past few days and the maelstrom which is to come Christmas morning and continue until New Year. My spine tingles with anticipation as the hour and minute hands join; I almost want to cheer, “It’s here, it’s here!” I look forward to it every year. I cannot recall ever going to bed earlier than midnight on that auspicious night— especially as a child, as I waited for sounds of bells and scraping hooves on the roof.

When my son and daughter were young, it was the same performance each Christmas Eve; I knew my cues perfectly and waited until I heard regular breathing through my daughter’s bedroom door. She was always last to fall asleep. Her father had been the first.

I collect the presents hidden under my bed, in closets, above bookcases and wedged between storage containers. I tiptoe towards the tree with an armful of brightly papered boxes with colour-coordinated bows (and extra tape) . . . then freeze as the ball of my foot puts pressure on that squeaky floorboard I’d forgotten about in my excitement. I imagine the cracking of wood sending shudders through the hall, and under the beds of my sleeping children, jarring them awake.

“Mama? What are you doing? Did Santa come already?” they would whisper as they rubbed the sleep from their eyes. Christmas ruined! But my racing heart slows and I let out a breath as I chase that image from my head. The children sleep on.

I lay each present just so, hoping the end result looks haphazard and not carefully strategized so the best gifts are near the back of the tree.

I finally ease myself quietly into my chair, sip on a glass of something laced with alcohol and breathe in the air which is almost vibrating with energy; and yet, there is a peace and eternal stillness about this evening that reaches on forever and as far back as I can remember.

There is one particular Christmas Eve which might have sparked the reverence I feel for this special night. I was about five years old and was jarred awake from dreams of being smothered by Christmas crackers and paper hats.

I crept out of my room and down the darkened hallway to use the bathroom. As I began my journey back to bed I heard something in the hall below.

I stood at the top of the stairs waiting for my blinking eyes to adjust to the darkness of the pit before me. There, at the bottom of the stairs, I noticed two glowing lights. They were still one moment, then danced about and made me jump. I was terrified and if I hadn’t already emptied my bladder I think I would have done so then.

A faint jingling sound made me giggle with relief when I realized it was my grandmother’s dog, Wimpy, shaking his head and collar. I could almost make out the outline of the black mutt down there on the rug.

I was contemplating creeping down the stairs to snuggle him when I heard another noise, this time from the kitchen. The house was as quiet and dark as could be, so I knew everyone must be in bed. I shivered in my nightgown and gripped the wooden spindles of the railing.

The door to the kitchen swung open slightly and the figure of a man emerged, lit from behind by a street light shining through the kitchen window. I gasped. The man turned his head slowly to face me and by now my eyes had adjusted well enough to see him give me a wink and a smile. He raised his finger to his lips to silence me. His other hand gripped a bag slung over his shoulder.

As the man moved below me towards the living room, I heard a low growl from Wimpy. We all froze for a moment: child, man, dog. Then the jingling sound again—Wimpy was wagging his tail! So, this midnight intruder was not a danger after all.

I relaxed and sat at the top of the stairs, and observed the man as he entered the living room. He was an older fellow, with a scraggly beard and a shuffle in his walk. He was dressed in a long coat, dark in colour, but not red as I had seen in the images on the front of Christmas cards. He wore a cap, but it did not have a white pom-pom on the end. His shoes were plain—not boots at all. And he definitely had not come down our chimney.

When he was done, he closed the door to the living room and left . . . just as silently as he had arrived.

I felt suddenly cold and I scurried back to bed and huddled under my covers, squeezing my eyes shut and wishing for sleep so I could wake up Christmas morning and see what the man had left for me.

As I drifted off to dreamland I heard the faint sounds of jingling bells . . . and was that the sound of hooves scraping the roof tiles above my head?

I will never forget that night. When we gathered around the tree the following morning, everything was just as it should be. No one believed my story. They all laughed and continued to nibble on chocolate caramels and dates.

This is a real memory to me—as real as any other memory I have of my childhood, so how can it not have happened? My children are almost grown . . . the magic of Christmas has dulled in their eyes, but not for me. Perhaps that is why I look forward to staying up late by myself every Christmas Eve, sitting in silence, waiting.

To read the 12th and Final BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 10th Blog of Christmas

Regaling us with a story today is Jordan Buchanan!

JBuchananJordan Buchanan was born and spent most of her life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Now residing in northern Michigan, she misses the Shenandoah Valley but living in the home state of the mighty Detroit Red Wings helps ease the pain.

4Play, her debut publication, is a collection of erotic romance short stories. She is currently working on two novels — For Love or Money and Xander’s Garden.

When she’s not reading, writing, or watching hockey, she enjoys time spent with her charming husband and their three Lab mixes.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JordanBAuthor

Blog: www.eroticablues.blogspot.com

Happy holidays to all and a huge thank you to Martin Crosbie for inviting me to be part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. It’s quite an honor for me, a fledgling author, to be included in such accomplished company, and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share a tale of my Christmas past.

At an office holiday party a few years ago, I decided to forego the ubiquitous Santa hat and donned a fur-trimmed tiara instead. One of my co-workers dubbed me the “Queen of Christmas”, but I’m merely a pretender to the throne, a princess at best. The title was always owned by my mother who reigned over our family Christmas party like a benevolent dictator. She did all the decorating, the cooking, the cleaning—everything necessary for us to eat, drink and be merry. She provided the playground; we came to play. READ MORE

To read the 11th BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 9th Blog of Christmas

Today’s contributor is Vancouver author, Heather Haley.

Heather Susan Haley by Derek von EssenTrailblazing poet, author and media artist Heather Haley pushes boundaries by creatively integrating disciplines, genres and media. Her writing appears in numerous journals and anthologies including the Antigonish Review, Geist and The Verse Map of Vancouver. Haley was an editor for the LA Weekly and publisher of the Edgewise Cafe, one of Canada’s first electronic literary magazines. She is the author of poetry collections Sideways, Three Blocks West of Wonderland, and debut novel, The Town Slut’s Daughter. Haley’s videopoems are official selections at dozens of international film festivals and she’s toured Canada, the U.S. and Europe in support of two critically acclaimed AURAL Heather CDs of spoken word song.

Find Heather’s blog, One Life at: www.heatherhaley.com

Follow Heather: Twitter: @heatherhaley

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HeatherSusanHaley

Amazon.com/author/heatherhaley

FIRST CAME MARY

Before hate. In spite of war. A few years back I was fortunate to visit the Yucatan, now referred to as the Mayan Riviera. An anthropology buff, I was thrilled to tour the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza . It was Christmas and I was astonished by the degree of Maryolotry, the inspiration for this poem from my collection Three Blocks West of Wonderland.

It bears repeating, especially…READ MORE

To read the 10TH BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read from the 1st Blog of Christmas CLICK HERE

The 8th Blog of Christmas

LaurieHeadshotJuly2015It’s December 20th and getting closer to that magical eve! Today we are joined by guest blogger, Laurie Boris.

Laurie is a freelance writer and copyeditor. At one time, she was a magician’s assistant, although she was very bad at it. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of six novels including her latest, A Sudden Gust of Gravity. When not hanging out with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, reading, and avoiding housework.

Laurie’s Website

Laurie’s Facebook 

Emma Claus looked from the crackling log in the fireplace to the cheerful cards on the mantel and the string of twinkling lights she’d woven among them. But the yuletide trappings still left her cold. She’d tried everything to awaken her Christmas spirit: hitting the Black Friday sales online, reading letters from the children, baking tray after tray of cookies. Even the sappiest of holiday movies failed to lift her mood. Even the ones with Colin Firth.

Just to make sure she’d given Hollywood a fair shake, she clicked the remote to the Hallmark Channel, which was showing the same snowed-in romance brewing at the same over-decorated country inn. Emma merely clucked her tongue. “Fools,” she said. “Do those innkeepers ever sleep? All that work! Cooking and cleaning! Sweeping up pine needles, drizzling everything with tinsel just so, tending the fires in every room and dusting twice a day from all the ash…what kind of life is that?”… Read more here

To read the 9th BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE!

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 7th Blog of Christmas

The lovely Jennifer Ellis shares her post on this 7th Blog of Christmas! Enjoy!

Jennifer Ellis-1Jennifer lives in the mountains of British Columbia where she can be found writing, hiking, skiing, borrowing dogs, and evading bears. She also works as a climate change researcher, evaluator and strategic planner. She has wanted to be a writer since she first read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and didn’t want to come out of the wardrobe.

Jennifer writes science fiction, romance and dystopian fiction for children and adults, including In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation and A Pair of Docks, which was a bestseller in children’s time travel fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies, most notably Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, which hit #16 in the Kindle Store.

You can subscribe to her blog for writing tips, industry insights, and two free short stories at www.jenniferellis.ca, and check out her writing on Amazon at: http://bit.ly/jenniferellis. She tweets about writing, cats, and teenagers at @jenniferlellis.

I’m once again participating in the 12 Blogs of Christmas with eleven other writers, organized by Martin Crosbie. As part of the event, we are to write about—not surprisingly—Christmas. Many of the other eleven bloggers have written about fond or funny memories of Christmas. Last year, I wrote about my fraught relationship with Christmas—acknowledging the magic of Christmas but also the busy-ness, commercial aspects, and guilt associated with Christmas (we have so much, and so many people have so little). So I can’t do that again. Most of my stories about Christmas go something like… we got too much, ate too much, spent too much (even though we don’t spend that much), stressed about a turkey, and were really happy to be able to go skiing and eat leftovers on Boxing Day.

I exaggerate. I’m sure I’ve had some nice Christmases, but since I’m often up to my elbows in a turkey, and have not had any famous disasters, they are not the stuff of stories. Then again, my memory is famously poor—all that living half the time in another world. This year I’ll be sure to burn the turkey, so I have something to tell you about next year (Hmm, I’m getting a strong turkey vibe here. It might be time to start serving Christmas steak).

To me, Christmas is about gratitude and reflection on a year gone by. In an effort to dredge up some Christmas spirit (and not seem like cross between Eeyore and the Grinch—I promise I’m actually not—Christmas commercials make me cry), I decided to do a post on the 12 writing things I’m most grateful for this Christmas. That’s not to imply that there are not a lot of non-writing things I am grateful for (there are so many of those things), but this is a writing blog (and I think this sentence is a triple-negative) so…READ MORE

TO READ THE 8TH BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read from the 1st Blog of Christmas, CLICK HERE

The 6th Blog of Christmas

RJCraytonAuthorPhoto_2014

RJ Crayton is a little young lady who writes fiction when she’s not parenting her two children or wifing her one husband. She writes about characters in peril, who sometimes find a moment for romance. Crayton is occasionally humorous, often right, and always curious. She loves the Christmas season and baking. Due to her severe cupcake addiction, Crayton tries to avoid baking cupcakes, except during the holidays. (As an aside, for the perfect mesh of holiday cheer and cupcakes, check out this recipe.) Crayton has published a three-book dystopian series (Life First), a book on self publishing and a short story collection about motherhood. She also is a contributor at Indies Unlimited, a site for independent publishers. In 2016, Crayton plans to release a novel about a deadly virus and a humorous book on motherhood. You can learn more about her at http://www.rjcrayton.com.

The Place for Humbug During the Holiday Season 

by RJ Clayton

Bah, humbug!

There, I said it.

I know. It’s the Christmas season. Everything is warm and fuzzy like in greeting cards, sappy viral videos and TV movies. Only, it’s not all warm and fuzzy all the time, because greeting cards and video specials aren’t real life. Everyone feels like saying, “Bah, humbug,” at least once during the holiday season. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s not that the season isn’t full of joy. It’s just that the season is also full of commitments — clashing office holiday parties, school parties, recitals, plays, church performances, family gatherings, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes you just want to shout, “Bah, humbug,” hop into bed, and huddle under the covers with a flashlight and your favorite book. (Those old enough to remember, may even want to hop into a tub, and shout, “Calgon, take me away.”*)

So, this is just a little post to remind you that you get to have a “Bah, humbug” moment or two this holiday season. Not everything will go the way you want it to. There’s someone you’ll want to see, who you can’t see. You’ll have family you don’t want to see, who you have to see.

Something you ordered won’t arrive on time. Or it will arrive, but three sizes too small. Something you’d been planning to buy will be sold out by the time you get to the store. The kids will break something they’re not supposed to. The kids will spill on something they’re not supposed to. The pet will get sick all over something you really adore.

Your flight will get canceled. Or a sudden snowstorm coupled with traffic will turn your two-hour drive to family’s house into a six-hour one. Your mother’s flight will get rerouted and she’ll have Christmas dinner with strangers at a Denny’s in the middle of nowhere.

And it will be OK, because the rough stuff happens. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you want to say, Bah Humbug. And that’s a good thing. Really. Because the bah humbug stuff makes you remember those times when things go right. You see, there’s a reason we love Charles Dickens’s classic, A Christmas Carol. We all have a bit of Ebeneezer Scrooge in us. We all have those moments when the bad feels really bad, and we have an urge to give in to that unpleasantness and go bah humbug. But, unlike Scrooge, apparitions don’t appear in our bed chambers intent on setting us on the right path.**

Like Scrooge, however, we do get moments that redeem us. Moments that remind us of the right path to follow. Those are the moments of joy that make up the greeting cards, sappy commercials and made-for-TV specials that pull our heartstrings. Your daughter will write you the sweetest apology note for her spill. Your son will reach into his piggy bank and present you with all of it because he’s really sorry about what he broke. Your great-aunt who you wanted to see but can’t because you’re going to your spouse’s celebration, will call you. You’ll have a long warm conversation and feel grateful that you got it. Perhaps, you’ll even be the one who feels a guilty twinge of gladness that your mother-in-law is stranded in the middle of nowhere eating Christmas dinner at Denny’s, rather than sitting across the table criticizing you.

So, take a moment to let out your Bah, Humbug. After that, take a deep breath, put on a smile, and wait. Your happy moment is coming. There’s a reason notions like yin and yang resonate throughout so many cultures. With the bad comes the good. And when you recognize that, you can remember that the Bah humbug is just part of the cycle, and rev up for that moment of good to follow it. Of course, you can and should put more weight on the good, and less on the bad, and enjoy the festivity and love of the season.

Merry Christmas,

-RJ Crayton

*As an aside, Calgon is still made. I looked it up.

**As a second aside, The Christmas Carol soured me on people named Marley. Jacob was obviously bad to the bone. Then Bob Marley went and shot the sheriff. So, I’m just done with Marleys.

>>>>This blog post has been part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas, hosted by author Martin Crosbie.  P.S. If you like holiday baking, as I do, be sure to check out this awesome Snow Globe cupcake recipe at SugarHero.com<<<<<<<

To Read the 7th BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 5th Blog of Christmas

Our next featured blogger in 12 Blogs of Christmas is Gordon A. Long.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Brought up in a logging camp with no electricity, Gordon Long learned his storytelling in the traditional way: at his father’s knee. He spends his time editing, publishing, travelling, sailboat racing and writing fantasy and social commentary, although sometimes the boundaries blur.

Gordon lives in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, with his wife, Linda, and their Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Josh. When he isn’t publishing, he works on projects with the Surrey Seniors’ Planning Table.

He has published two books this Christmas:

“Mountains of Mischief” Book 3 in the World of Change series,

“Storm over Savournon” a novel of the French Revolution

A Cold Canadian Christmas

My transportation for the Christmas of 1967 was Dad’s 1958 Mercury pickup. It was one of the first “full box” pickups, instead of the old “step sides,” and I thought it was pretty classy. Think of the picture above with a front bumper and a two-tone paint job: white above, teal below. I was home from university, and Dad was out of the bush because it was too cold to work, so I was pretty well free to drive it around. Loggers can’t work below about -30 because metal gets so brittle that equipment breaks. It’s rather hard on people, too.

Yes, the Christmas of 1967 was rather cold. I came home from visiting friends on Boxing Day, and the weather report said it was going to be -60F that night (That’s -51 for you Celsius types). I plugged in the block heater of the pickup and waited for that reassuring gurgle that told me it was working.

No gurgle…Read More

To read the 6th Blog of Christmas CLICK HERE

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 4th Blog of Christmas

The Xmas Blogs continue with our fourth author.

IMG_9021_4044 WEB copyVirginia Gray is a bestselling women’s fiction novelist. A former university professor, she stepped away from academics to pursue a writing career. She is a great lover of humor, music, and all things food, and is best known for The Susan Wade Saga.

Website  and Blog

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

I wasn’t always so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to believe—very badly, in fact. I also wanted to believe in the stories I read. I wanted to know for sure that there had been a Middle Earth, where hobbits and wizards and dragons ran amuck. I prayed that Narnia existed, and that I might be lucky enough to discover one of its secret passages—they’re everywhere, you know.  I truly hoped there were wrinkles in time, and that I might be called upon to save our very universe. I wanted to believe in magic! READ MORE

To read the 5th Blog of CHRISTMAS, Click HERE

and to read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 3rd Blog of Christmas

Keith R. BakerKeith R. Baker

 In addition to being an avid history and genealogy buff, Keith has been an avid outdoorsman his entire life. He has a variety of hats in the business world after completing two periods of duty with the US Navy.  His hobbies apart from reading and research include shooting and teaching others the basics of gun safety and handling. Until recently he took an active role in local and regional politics as a public speaker and campaign consultant.

Keith and his wife Leni have enjoyed living in several places in the US, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Montana.  They have two adult children, two adult foster children and nine grandchildren scattered around the country. www.keithrbaker.com

Links: Amazon Author Page / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Current Promotion:

Read about Rob Finn and his family in the Longshot series, beginning with Longshot In Missouri, price reduced through Christmas, here.

 Here is Keith’s contribution for the 3rd Blog of Christmas:

Fire in the Snow

The big man’s boot carefully kicked aside a remaining hunk of what appeared to be a roof rafter.  Burnt nearly to ash, it had almost no weight to it.  Still, it was best to be careful.  Any of the smoldering pile of debris that had been their family home could yet be white-hot.  He didn’t need a burnt foot; he had enough trouble already.

Rob Finn’s young family had few enough possessions before the fire.  Now, it seemed, they had none.  Farming their tiny acreage had barely provided enough food in the good times.  Along with everything else they’d lost, even their supply of necessary food stuffs were gone.  What would they do?…READ MORE

TO READ from the 1st Blog of Christmas CLICK HERE

Head to the 4th Blog of Christmas from author Virginia Gray.