Today’s feature, Texas Heirloom Ornament, is a Christmas anthology from authors Jessica White, Sara-Meg Seese and Paula Peckham that spans the early 1900s to early 21st century. You won’t want to miss this one. Welcome, ladies!
Enjoy three generations of Texas women finding love at Christmas.
In Small Things Liberty by Jessica White
A parking spot. An almost kiss. An ornament. 1923—The only thing war widow Hattie Freemont wants for Christmas is liberty for all. As president of the Fort Worth Women’s Club, she’s determined to see them exercise their new right to vote and oust the current representative. But his assistant keeps showing up at the most inconvenient times, challenging her convictions even though she has the statistics to back them up. First, Mr. Fancy Car tries to steal her parking spot, then her heart. Will he choose love and fight for freedom alongside her? And can she trust in true love twice in a lifetime?
In Large Things Unity by Sara-Meg Seese
A tree. An electric kiss. A radio proposal. 1972—Single mom Tricia Little inherited Grandma Hattie’s knack for numbers, but not her knack for love. With money tight and Christmas around the corner, she’s determined to prove to her boss and her next-door neighbor she can take care of herself and her daughter on her own. Radio DJ Mr. Wright can’t help but admire the hard-working woman and her spunky kid on the other side of the fence. When he offers to help them light up their Christmas with a tree, she pushes back. Can they work together to make the holidays brighter? Can he convince Ms. Independent that he’s Mr. Right?
In All Things Charity by Paula Peckham
A bell. A whirlwind kiss. A storm. 2015—High school teacher Alexis Baxter loves Christmas and her family traditions, like the handmade ornament passed down through five generations. But the final bell before the holiday break doesn’t release her from coaching duties. When the handsome basketball coach confesses he’s spending Christmas alone, she invites him to join her family for a fun-filled night. Joyful bells turn to warning sirens when his biggest regret walks into the party, casting a dark cloud over their budding romance. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth? And can love truly cover a multitude of sins?
Want to read more? You can find Texas Heirloom Ornament on Amazon
Welcome to Wednesday Writers Christmas Reads! Today’s guest is Gail Kittleson who is highlighting a delightful Christmas Anthology called Christmas Love Through the Ages. I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas stories, and movies, and, well, anything Christmas. So let’s welcome Gail as she tells us a bit about this unique anthology and then she’ll share an excerpt from her story in the anthology . Welcome, Gail!
Ready to get into the Christmas spirit?
Light the Yule log in your fireplace, grab a snuggly blanket and a mug of hot chocolate, and settle in for a long winter’s read of stories celebrating the season.
This festive collection honors your beloved traditions, reminds you of your moorings, and warms your heart. The authors include short stories and novellas that take you on a journey from the 19th century to today. You’ll travel from Bethlehem with the angel Gabriel to Korea with abandoned orphans, then back to the Midwest where you see old friends fall in love and new loves become best friends, then to Texas where you witness acts of selflessness in an airport.
Lena Nelson Dooley, Lisa Bell, Gail Kittleson, Cleo Lampos, and Paula Peckham offer these tales to you during this wonderful season of hope and possibility.
Welcome to Christmas Love Through the Ages.
And here’s an excerpt from my book in the collectionGoldmine Christmas
Excerpt from Goldmine Christmas
By Gail Kittleson
The flashlight flickered. “Oh, drat, just a paragraph left.” The fickle mechanism finally obeyed Nel’s prodding, and the final sentences of Aunt Eileen’s letter invaded her consciousness.
This could be your opportunity to make a difference for the war effort, and to follow your own star. You would make a superb USO volunteer, and my friend says you would be welcome to stay with her parents.
Just think of it! Thousands of GIs from all over the States pass through the USOs Washington, D.C. each day, and they can get awfully homesick. A cheery word can mean so much.
What do you say? Hop on the bus and we can take the train out there together. I will await your response.
P.S. You have done your time with your family, dearie. You’re nearly twenty-two and deserve a life beyond Payson.
Aware of the wind strengthening, Nel stashed the letter in her sweater pocket and hurried to the house. All was quiet, with Linda still hard at work—that girl would make something of herself, for sure.
Pulling on her nightgown and settling into her corner refuge, a narrow mattress in the kitchen’s far corner, that dreadful sound still prevailed.
Slap…bang…slap… Blasted shutters. Ah well, she couldn’t sleep anyway, with visions of the nation’s Capitol dancing through her mind.
Picturing Aunt Eileen handing out donuts and steaming cups of coffee, chatting with the fellows and giving them a taste of home was easy. She’d always been so strong.
But visualizing herself in a great metropolis created quite the challenge. The very thought led to a perennial question: How on earth had Eileen and Mama ended up such opposites? Mama cared about one thing—pleasing Dad. And all he cared about was the Gold Mine Saloon and drinking.
Want to read more? You can find Goldmine Christmas and the other Christmas stories on Amazon
About the Author:
A former college writing instructor, Gail lives with her retired Army chaplain husband in Northern Iowa and writes Women’s Historical Fiction, memoir and non-fiction. She enjoys grandchildren, gardening, and learning about history. In winter, she writes from Arizona’s beautiful Mogollon Rim Country.
No matter how dire the circumstances, you can count on Gail’s make-do World War II characters to discover new strength and move forward under duress. Facilitating writing workshops and retreats provides Gail’s “teaching fix” and a chance to cheer on other writers.
Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing. Today’s writer/gardener guest isAmy R. Anguish talking about the uncertainty of gardening. Welcome, Amy!
You Never Know
Every year, when we plant the seeds in our garden, we have no idea what the outcome will be. Obviously, we have our hopes and dreams of what will happen to those plants throughout the summer. But every year brings different weather, bugs, diseases, and sometimes just bad seeds.
Still, we poke the tiny seeds into the earth, give it lots of water and as much sunshine as God will send, and then wait.
Waiting is the hard part.
As the tiny green shoots poke their heads up, branching out and expanding, blossoming and growing, our hope grows right along with it. How can it not? The excitement of seeing those first little green tomatoes or tiny green beans comes every time.
This year, we picked around 40 pints of green beans, canning most, sharing some. We ate and ate tomatoes, as well as making several batches of salsa and spaghetti sauce. And we picked squash until we were all sick of it.
But as we watched and waited for the cucumbers, which last year came in abundance, nothing but disappointment grew. In fact, something destroyed the first two plants we had come up, and we had to replant. Twice.
Same with our pumpkins. And sunflowers.
Just about the time I was ready to give up on the watermelon, it stretched out and actually gave us a nice basketball-sized one.
And just when I had decided we would just settle for the cucumbers we’d gotten from friends, we got a nice big one, with more coming on. In late summer, no less. Only weeks from autumn.
My five-year-old was thrilled, to say the least.
You never know what you’re going to get when planting seeds, but isn’t it exciting when you do get something? Just like in everything in life, it’s always worth it to try. Even if you only get a few carrots from a whole pack of seeds. Those few carrots are always worth it to my children.
And most of the time, anything we’re willing to put a little effort into, will bring us at least a small harvest.
What have you tried that may not have turned out exactly as planned, but was still rather sweet?
Author of An Unexpected Legacy, Faith and Hope, and Saving Grace
Amy R Anguish grew up a preacher’s kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a bossy cat or two. Amy has an English degree from Freed-Hardeman University that she intends to use to glorify God, and she wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.
(From the Christmas Anthology Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams-a selection of five sweet beach read Christmas novellas)
Charlie Hill’s family thinks his daughter Hailey needs a mom—to the point they won’t get off his back until he finds her one. Desperate to be free from their nagging, he asks a stranger to pretend she’s his girlfriend during the holidays.
When romance author Samantha Arwine takes a working vacation to St. Simons Island over Christmas, she never dreamed she’d be involved in a real-life romance. Are the sparks between her and Charlie real? Or is it just her imagination?
Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest author is Shannon Taylor Vannatter. Shannon will be talking about her Inspirational Contemporary Romance novella Coastal Christmas Charade, which is part of the Christmas anthology Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams. She’ll be sharing a bit of background on the book, an excerpt, and a chance to win a copy of Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams to a lucky commenter who follows her blog tour. Information on the tour and the giveaway are at the bottom of the post. So, keep reading to learn more about this beach read Christmas extravaganza. Welcome, Shannon!
This year, I wrote my first novella, which is also my first beach read. The novella collection, Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams, includes 5 different authors with stories set on 5 different beaches at Christmas. I chose Surfside Beach, Texas as my setting, since it has the best shelling in the Lonestar state. My characters knew each other as kids. But the heroine was a rich girl whose grandparents owned the fancy inn where all the snobby kids spent their summers. The hero was a local, the handyman’s son, who never felt like he measured up. In this excerpt, she’s back to spruce up her grandparent’s inn and sell it. She hires the hero to hang Christmas lights and a massive chandelier crashes down, like Phantom of the Opera. Of course, right after that, the bride/heroine’s high school nemesis arrives.
Do you like pretend romances? Leave me a comment and tell me, why or why not?
Coastal Christmas Charade by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
Lark Pendleton is banking on a high-society wedding to make her grandparent’s inn at Surfside Beach, Texas the venue to attract buyers. Tasked with sprucing up the inn, she hires Jace Wilder, whose heart she once broke. When the bride and groom turn out to be Lark’s high school nemesis and ex-boyfriend, she and Jace embark on a pretend romance to save the wedding. But when real feelings emerge, can they overcome past hurts?
(Included in Candy Cane Wishes & Saltwater Dreams – Five novellas, five authors, five beaches)
Ever so, gently, he dabbed his thumb over her cheek.
The front door opened, and a brunette stepped inside behind Lark. Hillarie Chambers. Her mouth dropped open, then closed, and opened again.
Lark spun around. “Hillarie, what are you doing here?” She went to work trying to brush herself off. “I didn’t expect you until Friday.”
“What happened?” Hillarie’s high-pitched whine echoed through the massive space. “What about my wedding?”
“Don’t worry. We had a little chandelier mishap, but it’s a good thing we discovered the problem now. This could have happened in the middle of the wedding. Death by chandelier.”
But Hillarie didn’t. “Look at this mess. And there aren’t even any Christmas lights up outside.” She wailed in full meltdown mode. “You always did try to sabotage me, and now you’re after my wedding.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Hillarie. I hired Jace to have the lights done by Friday. He’s fixing this too. By Friday, right, Jace?”
“Jace?” Hillarie focused on him, then squinted. “Tool Face Jace?”
“At your service.” Hillarie recognized him. But Lark hadn’t.
“Why are you here two days early?” Lark leaned on the staircase.
Hillarie tore her gaze away from the destruction. “Your grandmother said we could come early. I said no. But I’ve been stressed, so my fiancé talked me into it.”
“Technically, we’re closed.” Lark smiled. “To prepare for the wedding.”
The brunette splayed her hands. “I left a message on the machine late last night.”
“Is he with you?”
“Oh.” Hillarie’s eyes went wide. “I didn’t know you’d be here.” She grimaced. “Why are you here?”
Lark’s eyes narrowed. “Gran and Gramps had their name on a waiting list for a condo in Dallas. One became available. If they hadn’t jumped on it, they’d have had to wait at least six
months, so I offered to handle the wedding.”
“Great.” Hillarie’s fake smile looked more like a cringe. “Do you know who I’m marrying?”
The door opened again and a blond man with a suitcase in each hand entered. Familiar. One of the summer rich kids.
Lark’s ex-boyfriend. Thanks to Hillarie.
“Warren?” Lark frowned. “What are you doing here?” Her voice went up an octave. “Oh, you must be in the wedding party.”
“Right.” He shot her a million-watt smile, but it faded as he scanned the room. “What happened?”
“Just a little sprucing up before Hillarie’s big day.” Lark’s smile looked as fake as her nemesis’s. “Jace promised we’d be in ship shape by Friday.”
“Look, darling.” Hillarie sidled up against Warren. “It’s Tool Face Jace.”
“Nobody calls him that anymore.” Lark frowned. “They never should have.”
Lark defending him?
Her gaze narrowed, pinged back and forth between Hillarie and Warren. “Darling?”
“Um.” Hillarie’s baby blues bounced to the floor. “That’s what I wanted to tell you. Warren is my fiancé.”
Award winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.
She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. Shannon is Scrivenings Press Acquisitions/Content Editor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.