Tag Archive | Holiday

A Winter Celebration by Mae Clair

From Christina: Mae Clair and I connected through blogging last year, and I quickly came to count her as both a special author and a special friend. She’s one of the most talented romance authors I’ve read, and she’s also one of the most supportive authors in the romance-writing community. I’m delighted to share her thoughts and personal reflections about this cold, snowy time of year.

A Winter Celebration

By Mae Clair

It’s only a handful of days from Christmas, a most joyous time of year! Saturday is the Winter Solstice, marking the first day of a historically snowy season. It’s the longest day of the year which means dark falls early.

 Usually, my husband and I will fill some mugs with coffee or hot chocolate and drive around looking at displays of Christmas lights in the surrounding neighborhoods. Occasionally, I’ve even packed cookies in the car to make the event more festive. By this time, we pretty much have a handle on the holidays (decorations are up, cards are mailed, shopping is done) and it’s a time to kick back and enjoy a bit of seasonal fun. I still have gifts to wrap, but I always reserve that for Christmas Eve during the day.

 I can’t say I’m all that thrilled to officially usher in a season of cold, snow and ice, but there’s a spark of magic to be found in the mix. A stillness that settles on the land, especially at night, when the surroundings are wrapped in a hush. It’s an ageless music, underscored by a whisper of earth and sky, something the Vikings surely heard as they trekked across plateaus of snow ribboned with skeins of ice. As much as I could embrace a sun-kissed lifestyle in a tropical setting, I’d have to visit northern climates for the occasional dose of snow and cold. Just sporadically, you understand.

Winter isn’t without perks.

Cold weather is great for snuggling with your guy, or curling up in front of a warm fire. If you’re the outdoorsy type there’s sledding, tobogganing and ice-skating. For astronomers or amateur stargazers, winter is the best time for viewing the heavens. The stars glitter like cut crystal on a bed of licorice-black, and they never appear closer.

The romantic in me prefers to overlook the less savory unappealing okay, downright nasty features that go hand-in-hand with winter in the northern hemisphere.  Things like snow shoveling, falling on the ice (been there, done that), scraping the windshield because-the-weather-guys-had-the-forecast-wrong-again-and-it-dumped-the-white-stuff-all-over-your-car-while-you-were-at-work. There’s also the ever popular getting stuck on the drive home because you didn’t bring the SUV (see reference to aforementioned inaccurate weather guys).

As with any time of year, there are pros and cons. Winter being what it is, I try to embrace the positives more than the negatives, snuggling in for the long months ahead. Right now I’m looking forward to the merriment of Christmas and New Year’s, gathering with family and friends. Afterward, I’ll make peace with the arrival of January and February. If nothing else, winter is my most productive time for writing, when I’m huddled inside.

What about you?  What do you like most about winter? How do you adapt to the cold months ahead? Or maybe you live in a beautiful climate where snow and ice are rarely seen. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Mae

Mae Clair writes novels of myth, mystery and romance, and is the author of WEATHERING ROCK and TWELFTH SUN. The best place to connect with Mae is on her blog, From the Pen of Mae Clair, Twitter or Facebook. She can also be found on her website at www.maeclair.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winter Holiday Crafts by Vicki Batman

From Christina: I was delighted by this “crafty” little post from author Vicki Batman. I’m not too crafty, you see. But every year my daughters and I come up with some idea or another that we’re sure we can do. I can’t wait to share this with them. 🙂

Winter Holiday – Crafts

By Vicki Batman

 Every year, I go on a girlfriend weekend to a small town for their Christmas Candlelight Home Tour. We talk, laugh, shop, and eat— the fun stuff! Usually, we usually stop at a huge market on the way. One year, I found the most clever snow dome. Here’s a picture: 121213_christinacole_snowman_globe I grew up a crafty girl. I said, “I can do this!”  and began collecting the perfect jars, sanding the lids and painting them white. Bought several colors of glitter. Set aside or purchased little holiday them items. Then began the assembling. Here’s what I did: 121213_christina_cole_snowglobe_collection   As you can see, I had a small nativity set I found at a craft store. Inside the jar, I put snowflakes, two kinds of glitter—white and sparkly white—sequins and vintage glass ornaments. It’s up to you what to include! The lid is superglued to the jar. Leaving the lid bare wood, I hotglued the figures on top, adding the bare branch tree. The reindeer globe is made with an old cupcake pick, vintage glass ornament, and a bottle brush tree. Inside are more glass ornaments, pearly beads, snowflakes, and sequins. There are endless varieties you can make. And best of all—no water leaking, although with glass jars, they are breakable. I hope you will give these unique globes a try!

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 06_2012_VBauthor_photo (1)Like some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm–the list is endless.

Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories to TRUE LOVE, TRUE ROMANCE, TRUE CONFESSIONS, NOBLE ROMANCE PUBLISHING, LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, MUSEITUP PUBLISHING, and THE WILD ROSE PRESS. She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010.

Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if??”

You can find Vicki at her blog, Handbags, Books…Whatever. Her latest holiday release is a romantic comedy, “The Great Fruitcake Bake-off”.

An American Thanksgiving by Tasha Taylor

From Christina: As we come to the end of the Thanksgiving season, I thought it would be fun to end on this note from across-the-pond author, Tasha Taylor. Here’s her experience with an American Thanksgiving. 

An American Thanksgiving

by Tasha Taylor

Thanksgiving 1993 – Thursday 25th November

1993 was a year of firsts for me. The first time I was away my family in the UK and my very first Thanksgiving.

I was 21 years old, and working for an Air Force family as nanny to their baby son. I had never heard of Thanksgiving before, but totally loved Christmas, so was well up for finding out all about it.

The process of preparing for Thanksgiving started the weekend before. My employer, and now dearest friend, had me help her locate the seasonal crockery, cutlery and decorations in the attic. I had never before come across such bright coloured crockery and the idea of changing it all over was a little strange. At home, my mum had a bone china dinner set that was only used on holidays and special occasions, so the idea wasn’t so unfamiliar after all.

The sheer amount of food that was purchased and prepared was overwhelming and I came across several dishes that were unusual – the jello and the green beans with fried onions. But I still love the green beans dish to this day.

I have to admit I knew little about the origins of Thanksgiving and it was really interesting to find out the reasons behind it.

The First Thanksgiving

In the UK, bank holidays (the equivalent of your national holidays) are not equally spaced throughout the year and so the idea of a holiday prior to Christmas is a great idea.

In the UK, we have the following:

  •  New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • May Day (first Monday in May)
  • Whitsun (last Monday in May)
  • August Bank Holiday (last Monday in August)
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

 

So you can appreciate how it’s a long time from the end of August to Christmas!

For me, now, some 20 years on from my first Thanksgiving, I do think of my friends across the pond and I do give thanks, in my head, in a blog, in an email or on social media, because the time I spent in the US, and the lasting friendships that I formed, and the new friendships that I continue to build through my writing are precious to me.

Two things I hold dear are friends and family. One verse I hold dear is:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

I believe that life is too short to spend time on regret and thinking what if. Take the time this season to give thanks for what you have, to tell those that you hold dear that you love them, value them, miss them, even if they are not in your life on a daily basis. At one time they meant something to you, and be thankful that you had them in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tasha Taylor is a UK based author, writing contemporary romance and is also a fiction addict. It is not unusual to find a book open in her home – next to the bath, next to the bed, in the office, on the stairs and then there’s the e-reader, smart phone and laptop. She is also mother to her son and future ex-wife to her partner. Other duties include cat lover and dog washer.

Tasha started writing at 15, creating her own little world where everybody went to boarding school and found true love in their teens. She’s moved on grown-up romance since then. No love is ever without its difficulties, but it’s the strength of that love that sees us through the good, the bad and the mornings when mascara alone just won’t cut it. Tasha also has an addiction to social media. You can find here at her website: Tasha Taylor or you can follow her on Twitter @tashatayls. She loves to hear from readers, so drop her a line at tashatayls@gmail.com.

 

A Season of Thanks

As we come to the start of November, our thoughts turn from witches and ghosts and falling leaves, to gray days, dark nights, and maybe even the first snowfall of the season. We turn, too, to a season of thanksgiving, a time for sharing, a time for caring, a time for love.

I’d like to open this Thanksgiving season by expressing my appreciation to the many romance authors who’ve taken time from their busy schedules to share personal reflections on the autumn season or to give us a fright or two for Halloween.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about D’Ann Lindun’s childhood in Colorado, and V L Locey’s goat-herding experiences! Nikki Lynn Barrett and Krista Ames wrote about falling in love, and Deryn Pittar added her own very unique perspective to the season.  Flossie Benton Rogers put a supernatural spin on things, and Charlene Roberts gave us a fright! Tricia Andersen added Halloween treats, while Gemma Juliana gave us a chance to stop and think about how we like our Halloween.

While reading posts from these great authors, I learned that Ashley Nemer grew up in Kansas, discovered that Judy Baker and her husband take an autumn bike ride each year, and learned about almond harvesting from Janice Seagraves.

Cindy Christiansen gave us an inspiring look at home and family, and Rose Anderson shared her little game of “Can You Stand It?” Lena Hart shared personal reflections along with a cup of hot cocoa, and Barbara Edwards took us to the Rhodes End for a spooky All Hallow’s Eve.

For a change of pace, debut author Giaconda Lyss wrote about overcoming fear and taking risks — an important message for any time of the year.

Ladies, I thank each of  you for your contributions.

In coming weeks, the focus at Time for Love will be on gratitude and Thanksgiving. Please visit often! My hope is that the thoughts and reflections you find here will inspire you to reach out to others to share your own love, gratitude, and thanksgiving.

Best Wishes for this Season of Thanksgiving