October 2020 Featured Article
This Year, Why Not Attend Your Christmas Party—in a Box?
It’s been a year, hasn’t it? While some people are stepping out into normal life, warnings flash everywhere. “Keep your gatherings to X number of people!” Or, “Don’t gather indoors.”
Well, that might work for those of us who live in the middle of nowhere where there aren’t many people and who won’t freeze our toes off if we stand out in the open air in the middle of December, but um… Michigan exists, folks. Montana’s a thing. Maine—wait… what’s with all the M states and the freezing cold. I feel like I’m onto something here.
Well, I decided on a solution. For your party pleasure, I’ve created a “Christmas Party in a Box” for lovers of Christmas fiction.
See, it started way back when. I had this guy who had a story for me to tell—just didn’t know what that story was. Then, said guy started showing himself for who he was. The questions began. Why did the highest paid guy in the office dress in shabby clothes? Where did he go when he rushed out of the office after getting random calls? Why didn’t he ever participate in office parties and pools?
Enter Lita. She wanted to know. And that’s when my regular novel became a Christmas story. She popped his name in the Secret Santa exchange in the office, dragged him off to the Nutcracker, and made him hang and initiate mistletoe. Advent began.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The thing is, I loved writing that story. Who knew I was a closet Hallmark Christmas wannabe?
That same year, I wrote 31 Kisses. It was just supposed to be an exercise in writing kisses. Yeah. I’m no Pepper Basham. I don’t do kisses, but really, folks kiss. I needed to get over my prudish self. Or so, I thought. After thirty-one plus kisses, it was a little less painful for me, but far and away better than the one I wrote that was so discreet half of the readers missed it. No joke.
That kicked off a tradition of annual Christmas stories.
Every year on Black Friday I release something Christmas related. This year may actually be the first one I haven’t. EEEP! However, instead, I’ve done something that I think is pretty cool. Because see, since writing that first Christmas book, I’ve gone on to write… well, let’s just say a few more. As in seventeen more. Yep, I have eighteen Christmas novels and novellas and half a dozen more Christmas short stories of one sort or another.
Well, with one thing and another… Okay, with this little thing we all do not like to call a pandemic, I decided it was time to give readers a bit of fun—what I like to call a “Christmas Party in a Box.” A box set of books that is!
I have four of these boxes this year, and I’m excited to share them with you.
First up: Christmas Romances (Set One)
This set includes the aforementioned Advent and 31 Kisses, as well as Merri’s Christmas Mission. So… let’s see, tropes wise, we’re looking at opposites attract, the pact, and “enemies” to love.
Next: Christmas Romances “Noellas” (Set Two)
What’s a “Noella” you ask? Well, it’s my word for a Christmas (Noel) novella. Noel-la! Fa-la-la-la-la!
This set includes 12 Dates of Christmas, Merri’s Christmas Mission, The Ghosts of New Cheltenham, and The Second Noel.
This one has so many things—enemies to love (she’s hated him since high school), and next there’s another enemies to love (except they’re really not… they just want the same thing, and she’s determined to get it). However, I can’t tell you what trope Ghosts has—face your fears and fall in love? Okay, let’s go with that. Hey, it’s an enemies to love—just not in the same person! And finally, yep. You guessed it! Enemies to love in The Second Noel when one gal has to work with the guy who did a date and ditch several years earlier. But a boy’s life is at stake if they don’t get past those differences!
After that, we have: Romantic Mystery and Suspense (Set 3)
Love cats? Great. We’ve gotcha covered. Hate them? Got you covered there, too in Christmas Stalkings. Do you go all out to decorate for Christmas? Think all the decorating is overkill? Someone else did, too and takes matters into their own hands in Silenced Knight. Finally, once again, a plasmaphobe (guy who has a phobia of ghosts) gets stuck trying to figure out who is tormenting him… unless there really are ghosts? Say it isn’t so and find out more in The Ghosts of New Cheltenham.
Last but not least (no, really, I’ll do more next year), Contemporary Romance (Set 4)
They’ve been penpals for years, and now she’s ready to play matchmaker in Carol and the Belles. After twenty-five years, will they finally put their differences behind them and have a second Christmas together? Find out in Tarnished Silver. Finally, the last in this time separates love set, they’ve loved each other for ten years, so why hasn’t he ever asked her out? Why does she keep waiting when she could just ask him herself? Find out in The Matchmakers of Holly Circle.
Oh, and get this.
I never noticed the connections in the noellas set and the contemporary romance set until oh… *checks watch* about thirty-two point four seconds ago. Cool.
Look, Christmas is such a beautiful time of year. People going out of their way to be kind to each other, beautiful music replacing the pulsing headache-inducing stuff that’s usually out there… Oh, wait. That’s probably just me. I’ve got issues.
Still, there’s a lot of stress out there during the Christmas holidays—extra food prep, all the shopping, the events (well, during normal years, anyway) and… yeah. Stress. So, why not take a breather, calm yourself, and read a few feel-good books. There are dozens of collections out there. Historical, contemporary, themed, interconnected… the works. Or, you can just grab a Christmas Party in a box and go to town.