Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Challenge, Ruthy-style!

Okay, how cute is that kid??? And those puppies???? And no, they have nothing to do with this blog, but isn't that just total Christmasy goodness????  And with a pic like that, you can bet we sold some puppies that Christmas!!!  ;)

Okay, Ruthy here, AKA "The Yank" over at the Yankee Belle Cafe where good things are happenin' and cookin' 24/7!  We're talking Christmas books today because it is a truth universally acknowledged that a good woman of simple fortune must be in want of a GOOD READ AT CHRISTMAS, right????

Of course, right! And it just so happens that my beautiful, delightful, funny, poignant story of two soldiers without a home to call their own, stumble upon each other in the most unlikely way in Yuletide Hearts, my December 2011 Love Inspired release.

December. You get that, right? That means it's on shelves NOW. Like... today. This morning. Tonight. For like a month, but do not wait.

Why would you even consider waiting because it's such a charming, heart-warming romance about righting old wrongs... laying new ground.... beginning anew.... and with a sweet, colloquial Christmas decoration called "Shadow Jesus", how could you not fall in love with this book? And it's a Love Inspired so it can be yours for $5 more or less... I mean, really, $5?????  This is such a good deal!!!!  ;)

But of course, you want to know a little about it, right? Because Seekerville isn't about selling books (although I'll be the first to admit that I love, love, love it when people buy my book because that makes Mr. Harlequin very happy. I like keeping him happy. If he's happy, I keep getting contracts. This is a win/win, right????) Seekerville is about sharing the love.... Of writing and reading.


Today we're doing something a little bit different.  Today the Ruth-meister is throwing down the gauntlet because it's Christmas time and we're going to ante-up and put our money where our mouths are. (Does anyone know what that means????  I absolutely refuse to put money in my mouth. Yuck-to-the-highest-order.)

So, here's the scoop:  If you put in a minimum of two hours bell ringing for the Salvation Army, I will send you a copy of Yuletide Hearts (autographed if it's a hard copy) or an e-format copy if you prefer.

And that's it.

You give....

I give.

Simple concepts. I love simple concepts. So why make it hard?

Do you want a free book?

Of course.

And I want to help a worthwhile organization that helps millions of people every year. So if you ring bells, I send you a book.

How will I know?

Umm... really????  Because you'll tell me. You'll send an e-mail to iloveruthybooks (at) gmail (dot) com and you'll say something like:  "I'm ringing the bells at Grand Central Station on December 3rd from 6-8 PM!"

And then I send a book to the first 20 people willing to do this.

I cannot possibly make this easier or more beneficial for a large number of people, right???  I'm ringing this Friday night at Entrance 5 (near Barnes and Noble and Critics Restaurant) from 5:00 until 8:30... At the Mall at Greece Ridge Center outside of Rochester.

All it takes is a phone call to hook you up. And then let me know when you're scheduled and voila! You get a book.

A book about a woman who goes the distance for her family. A woman who wore the uniform of our country with pride and was cast off as unfeminine by the man who swore to love her all her days...

A stinkin' liar, that's what he was!

And it's a book about a little boy named Jake, a good kid who struggles some with school but follows his mother and grandfather in their 'work first' mindset... and loves World War II trivia. And Winston Churchill. But who DOESN'T love Churchill???

And it's about a marine who has old wrongs to set right. A man of honor who made mistakes and is ready to own them. A man who's willing to do what it takes to fix old wrongs. Even though not everyone in the old town is willing to forgive his teen-age sins.

And just by-the-way, the hero "Matt Cavanaugh" is smokin' hot. And he's got a great sense of humor. And he's good to dogs, kids and finds a particular affection for women with power tools. What woman doesn't look better behind a power saw or with a nail gun in hand?


Read this book and you will be happier just because you know that God loves everyone and sent his only begotten son to redeem us and it all started at that first Christmas with the first gift of Christmas:  a child. And that God watches over our soldiers in the busy moments when we forget them... or we're sleeping... or we're having fun while they man the night watch in desert sands or jungle trenches...

I love honoring our military and this sweet book does just that. Deservedly!

Sweet deal, all around.

Now here's our writing deal for today:  Do you love Christmas stories?
Check one...

And if you DO... have you written one? Why or why not?

And since I'm working on another one for 2012 RIGHT NOW... Oh my stars, let me just say that, yes. I love Christmas stories because I think angels hover just a little closer to God's green Earth at Christmastime.

Coffee, eggnog and Christmas goodies inside! Meet you there!  And feel free to come with "bells on", LOL!


  1. Isn't Ruthy sneaky?

    Since I already have my copy of Yuletide Hearts (love Matt, love Callie, love Jake!), I'll ring bells without the bribe :)

    But everyone else - make that phone call now! And be sure to say "Merry Christmas" to those nice people who throw the coins in the bucket - it's a ton of fun!

  2. I dont need this book as I ordered it from Christianbook and its on its WAY (albeit the long long way takes around 6 weeks) but its on the way! we dont have bell ringers here. So people do actually stand by a kettle and ring a bell?
    We do collect money here at the carols in the square where money is collected for one of the Christmas charities. Not sure if you have them in america but we also have Christmas wish trees where you can take the name of a child with age and gender and then place a wrapped gift under the tree. they also have space for extra gifts which are then given to the needy for Christmas.

    On books I LOVE Christmas books. Just finished jillian Harts Snowflake bride (its her fault I am so tired!) I have several novellas loaded on the kindle to take with me when i go away for Christmas this year. (wonder if it will be warm enough to spend time at the beach for Christmas day!) I wish I could write as I would love to write and aussie christmas book.

  3. I love this, Ruthy! What a great idea and the book sounds wonderful - I'll have my chance to read it soon ;)

    And I love Christmas stories. I haven't written one yet but I really want to. I actually had an idea for one two nights ago and I am forcing myself to wait to develop it until I finish my WIP. I'm going to be a good girl.

    I would love to see a follow up post on how many people e-mail you about the bell ringing. I'm going to see what I can do around here to help others out for Christmas!

  4. I buy hot chocolate for the bell ringers. Does that count?

  5. I'll bang on the coffee pot. Will that do? Don't have a Salvation Army here, and I'm not up to driving 50 miles to a town with one. You'll have to settle for just coffee from me. Here's a big pot.

    No book store here either. So I don't have this book yet.

    None of those places y'all call Starbucks either.

    Now y'all will be feeling sorry for me, 'cause it sounds like we don't have anything here. Really we do, just not those things.

    I do have a Christmas theme in one of my manuscripts.


  6. This book looks so wonderful, Ruthy! Love that it stars our nation's heroes. :) Hmmm...maybe you'd like to come visit my blog for a "Mondays for the Military" feature to talk about this latest release??? (Please say yes!!)

    I actually won a copy of Yuletide Hearts on Kav's blog, which is super exciting! :) However, I think this is a wonderful thing you're doing - ringing the bells for Salvation Army really is fun and wonderful! It may get a bit cold depending on where you are, but it's enjoyable and for a great cause - who can ask for more?? Not sure yet if I'll do it this year as I'll get home in mid-December, but I know my grandpa has already done it, and my sister is probably going to ring the bells with KEY Club. :) (Yay for KEY Club!)


  7. Ausjenny, we do have those! They're called Angel Trees here in Texas, not sure about other places.

    Tina, I think that's awesome of you.

    Helen, I'm trying to visualize a place that doesn't have a Starbucks that isn't Antarctica or the Mojave Desert. It's not working, hehe.

    Ruthy, I'm not a bahumbug or anything but I don't like Christmas stories, but I'm still going to hit a store and buy yours because you know how much I love a hottie with a good heart. (The pic of mine is up on my blog this week, BTW but seriously... he will give you the vapors ;-)I should be a better person and ring a bell for it but then I'd have to listen to all that Christmas music and I don't like that either. Except on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I'm messed up. I know :-p

  8. I LOVE Christmas! Everything about it! We just made our Advent wreath tonight (I know, a little late since Advent started on Sunday). No one chopped their little fingers off trimming greenery. *whew*
    Tonight I helped my 3rd grade Bible class hold a bake sale for Heifer international and we made about $100, which is great for such a small class! I have a feeling some people were buying back their own goodies.

    Um, bell ringing. I'm ALL for bringing them hot chocolate, or counting change... But the BELL. Ugh. Would I have to ring it? Could I find one that isn't so LOUD? Maybe I could wear ear plugs? You'd think I'd be used to noise with so many kdis around but just the thought of two hours with that bell gives me a headache.

    I bought your book yesterday and it's my first military story and I LOVED (loved, loved, loved) it. I devoured it!

  9. What an awesome idea Ruthy.

    I already have my copy of Yuletide Hearts (my dear husband gave it to me for part of my Birthday present last week). I'll have to look into ringing the bells. I live in a small town so about the only place they ring them is at WalMart.

    Thank you Ruthy for putting some more spirit into Christmas! Just gotta love ya!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  10. Oh, Jan it is, isn't it???? I love having the chance to do it! I get to smile at people... Hold doors... ring bells... And I have a tear-jerker story about one contributor two years ago, but I can't tell it now because I'll cry... Need more coffee first.

    Jennie, I would love for you to write a Christmas Aussie book, too! And HUGE THANK YOUS for buying Yuletide Hearts!!! Hugs to you from upstate New York! And yes, we have wishing trees or angel trees... and adopt-a-family's with many organizations. But the Salvation Army red kettle campaign is the backbone of holiday giving in America I think...

    Cindy, go for it! And jot down those ideas you have (if you haven't done it yet) in a word file so you can bring it back to mind once your WIP is complete. And kudos and hugs to you for staying the course and finishing a project! Girlfriend, I love that you said that. You rock!

    Teeena, it's NICE.... But, no. Gotta ring... stand in the cold... Although a few places here let you stand inside. Not where I'm ringing, though. It's an outside gig. And I'm a WUSS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER so I bundle up and look like an Eskimo/Inuit... So silly but fun.

    Helen, no one bell rings in your towns? Really? That's so funny.... Might be a regional thing. Up here, even in tiny towns like mine, someone bell rings on Saturdays at the post office and the grocery store. And we're teensy. Some towns don't allow the bells. Some stores don't either. Is it bad to admit I do not shop at those stores? One with a big circle in its trademark?

    WalMart is great about bell ringers. Gotta love me some Mr. Walton.

  11. Helen, I totally missed the Christmas theme line you said...

    When you're working on it, how do you get in the mood? I play music. Christmas music. Breath of Heaven, Joseph's Song, Peace on Earth, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, What Child is this/Child of the Poor....

    I snuck the hippo song in there to see if you were paying attention, folks. And why does "snuck" sound right when it should be "sneaked"...

    Hush, Grammar Queen. Consider it a colloquialism...

  12. AMBER!!!! YES, YES, YES!!! E-mail me, okay? loganherne (at) gmail (dot) com....

    And then remind me to come over. I'm good at getting blog things into people, but I've blown the stopping by part twice this fall. And that's unacceptable. So lead me like a child, sweet Amber, but yes I'd love to come over! Next year's book is a military book, too. And it's shaping up wonderfully.... Not bragging, oh dear heavens, no, no, no!!! Just so glad when the characters (Vince: DO NOT READ THIS NEXT LINE)
    tell their own story from their want, their need.

    Love it.

  13. NANCY!!!!!



    Laughing out loud here, because your comment planted a story smack dab in the middle of my brain... THANK YOU!!!

    You know you're not alone. And I blame the commercialism of Christmas for that. Which is why I get lost in Thanksgiving and Easter, as yet unmolested days of family, feast, fun and faith. That's some pretty good stuff right there!

    But yes, buy this one. (shameless plug follows) Because it's really such a nice story and Julie Steele gave it a five star review ON AMAZON
    which means it's really heart-warming, right???

    And anytime you visit Allegany County with me, you should end up feeling just a little bit better about life itself.

    Drinking eggnog is included at no extra charge!

  14. VIRGINIA!!!!!




    I use an old bell of my mother's to ring with. She liked bells, and you guys know that she suffered with addiction and depression all of my life... so ringing the bells with HER bell, helping others who are shadowed by those behaviors or folks just plain down on their luck... That's what pulls me out there.

    But for you, I'd make it a family project! You can bring the older kids and they can ring, open the doors, say Merry Christmas to folks. People LOVE THAT, a family ringing together. My brother-in-law (just retired from This Man's Army) and his family do that every year... Another great lesson for kids, and you, my friend, are top-notch at teaching those lessons.

    Heifer International: I was looking at that for a donation instead of a gift for a family member, Virginia. It looks like a great organization and I love the grass roots of it. Would you recommend it?



    I am totally over-the-top street dancing just thinking of Yuletide Hearts bein' happy in all your homes! Grinning (and not just because of my big teeth!) in upstate!

    Cindy, if you call them, they'll tell you where they can set you up. We have all the standard places here... malls, Wal-Marts, Wegmans, Tops, etc....

    But they do little venues too, as long as the Army officers can make the kettle delivery and pick up.

    My son is a contract attorney for the Greater Manhattan Salvation Army in New York City, so it's kind of fun to have a kid involved in a ministry that I've long admired. And if you're in NYC at Christmas, the singers (wannabe actors/singers, maybe???) that line the streets with kettles for the tourist dollar?

    Amazing and Grammy-worthy.

  16. Ok Ruthy you have me laughing as I had some kids I use to babysit convinced I loved hippos as I use to sing this to them. Also one year my SIL gave me a whole lot of hippo gifts including a webpage which has since disappeared. Oh and on these songs. Dad use to sing All I want for Chrsitmas is my two front teeth and one year his boss got two sheep teeth and stuck them in plaster and presented them to him for Christmas.

    I am not a writer but hopefully we do get some Aussie Christmas books out.

  17. Jenny, we'll join hands across the water and sing about Hippos at Christmas, honey!

    Laughing in upstate!

  18. Oh my goodness! Adorable pic and I LUB marines. :-)
    I wish I could see you ringing that bell. I bet you'll rake in the big bucks! Have fun!

  19. Ruthy, you know I loved Yuletide Hearts so no need for a book.

    I have two Salvation Army figurines I put out at Christmas with their own little kettle. What a mission, what a ministry!

    Here in this neck of the woods the kettle was banded in front of Target. FOR SHAME. I haven't seen articles on where they are ringing this year but I have seen an article about the Salvation Army warehouse being empty of needed Christmas toys and books. 3600 families are in need in our area. Our book club is collecting children's books and I think you just helped me figure out that I need to take them to SA. Thanks for that.

    I used to only read Christmas books from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Now, I start in October to get them all read. I have my favorites from years past as well as new ones so it is a lot of reading.

    I love historically set Christmas books the best. As much as I love contemporaries, there is something to be said for simple times, horse drawn sleighs, and gorgeous long dresses of green velvet and fur-trimmed muffs and bonnets. I love muffs!

    Adding gluten-free gingerbread cookies and my daughter's special sugar cookies to the mix.

    Peace, Julie

  20. Opps, that should be "banned" in front of Target. Sigh. Where is my coffee?

  21. Great idea, Ruthy! -- This time of year, I fill my velcro-fastened jacket pockets with dollar bills so that I always have something to give the Salvation Army at the many stores I'm visiting throughout the holiday season.

  22. Morning Ruthy, I can just picture you out there wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas. Ring those bells.

    Did you know Salvation Army feeds people all year round, so if you want to help and can't ring bells, start a monthly automatic donation.

    Other great ways to help. Operation Christmas Child with Samaritan Purse. St. Vincent de Paul also feeds thousands in the inner cities.

    I love Christmas also.

    Really, the angels are closer in December? Love it.

    Can't wait to read Yuletide Hearts. I have other Christmas stories also. Mary has one out.

  23. I love Christmas stories. The Bible, Christmas fiction, real stories of how God touched people at Christmas, and Christmas movies on TV.
    It makes me so sad to see how violent people turned trying to snag a good deal while CHRISTMAS shopping.
    I love the sound of your book. I'm hoping Friday to get to a book store in Lexington and I'll definitely look for that!
    Merry Christmas!
    Jackie Layton

  24. This is such a Ruthy idea--fabulous! I've read the book, Seekers, and it's definitely worth a little time to earn and then read.

    Trust me--you'll love it, too :)

  25. Ruthy,

    Love Christmas, and I know I'm going to love this story. I have it, but I'm trying to wait to read it while back home over the holidays.

    And if you haven't guessed, I LOVE the military my heart swells and I get teary eyed just thinking about all those men and women who give so much.

    I haven't written a Christmas story, but in two of my mss there are Christmas scenes. I'd love to write a whole story though, and I've been giving it a bit of thought.

    Won't be able to ring the bell this year. But does supplying toys for the children of wounded warriors at Walter Reed count? It's a Christmas tradition.


  26. What a great idea, Ruthy! I don't know that I'll get to ring this Christmas, but we always encourage the boys to put some dollars into the red kettle. Can I be brutally honest and tell you I never knew we could sign up to ring bells? And I love the idea of doing it with my kids. :)

    When you talked in the comments about bringing your own bell, I thought of a movie. ;) Have you ever seen Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire? In an early sequence, Fred Astaire grabs a bell from a bell ringer and does a little rhythmic jig. I always love that part of the movie. :)

    I haven't written a Christmas story, although my current wip begins during a staff Christmas party. :) Maybe I'll begin looking for ideas for a future Christmas story. :)

    Love this idea, Ruthy. Maybe we'll expand our attempt to teach our children about giving at Christmas. We do Operation Christmas Child, but they might get a kick out of ringing bells. Definitely going to ponder that. :)

  27. PS--I haven't read Yuletide Hearts. Yet. I think I'm going to have to get it and read it.

  28. Hey, Ruthy, my friend!!! You are so special. You know that, right? Just wanted to make sure.

    I have never written a Christmas story, but my favorite movie is It's a Wonderful Life. And that picture with the puppies is just the best.

    Gotta go make some hot tea for my sore throat now, but wanted to say hi to a great writer of heart-warming stories. YOU, Ruthy!

  29. I love Christmas stories! What could be better than a good ol' fashioned Christmas 'Miracle'??!

  30. Way to go Ruthy! Love this idea.

    Yuletide Hearts is in my TBR pile as we speak. Thank you for that. Glad to hear you're working on another also!!!

    May is in love with the puppies! Y'all are PAWSOME!

    Will share!

  31. I love Heifer Project! Dan West, the founder, was a relative of mine...I think he would be floored if he saw what the organization was like now. Here's a link to the history:

    If bell-ringing won't work for you, there are so many other ways you can help at Christmas - Angel Tree, Love INC, local homeless shelters - but please do your homework so you know your time and resources aren't being wasted :(

    I'm like Glynna - I keep cash in the ash tray of the car, so whenever I stop somewhere with a bell ringer, it's easy to drop in a bit.

  32. Jessie, no doubt it's a sight for sore eyes, LOL! Red nose to rival Rudolph... Shive me timbers, LOL! But it's so fun. :)

    Julie, I hear you loud and clear and HUGE THANK YOUS FOR THAT REVIEW!!! Oh my stars, you brought tears to my eyes.

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! I'm a big fan of stores that allow bell ringing and use the word "Christmas".... Gotta keep Christ in Christmas.

    I love all kinds of Christmas stories, too. Just love the extra and much-needed dose of old-fashioned goodness, peace, harmony. As long as the subject isn't football or politics. ;)

    Glynna, HERE'S A COOL NEW FACT!!!!

    In various Salvation Army areas you can now text a message (ours up here is ROCANGEL) and it automatically donates $10 to the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign because I'm often short of cash in my pockets.

    What a great idea!

  33. Sandra, yes, the angels do move closer. It's been proven in the time-space continuum and also my friends at Trans-Siberian Orchestra (LOVE THEIR CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!!)talk about an angel coming down on their Christmas Eve and Other Stories CD....

    So it must be true, because TSO wouldn't lie. Right??? ;)

  34. I almost forgot to mention that Melanie Dickerson is on my blog today! You can read my review of her wonderful book, The Merchant's Daughter, plus an interview with her. A sore throat can't keep her away...

  35. Jackie, thank you! I hope you love it and I love Christmas stories, too. Music... movies... Remember The Waltons first Christmas, a TV movie????

    Oh I want my books to be a Hallmark movie! ;) This is my dream, to see Ruthy-books on the Hallmark channel. I love Hallmark Hall of Fame productions!

    Okay, sorry, rambling... Back to the Army... I love the Salvation Army!

  36. Bing that's Christmas music...

  37. Mia, thank you! I'm always glad when Mia likes a book because she was an EYE-WITNESS to my first LCRW meeting where I read...

    out loud....

    Fourteen pages of my first book.

    No dialogue.

    No action.


    And she still loves me after subjecting her to that about ten years ago. God bless Mia!!! ;)

  38. Ah Ruthy! I love me some Christmas stories.

    Ordering the Kindle Version of yours now.

    My kids argue over who drops money in the red pail. I don't have time to ring the bell.

    Jenny, I'm impatient. Never could I wait six weeks to read a book.

    A Ruthy book on Hallmark sounds awesome. I'd definately watch.

  39. Jeanne T, you couldn't always sign up. It used to be that just people who used the outreach rang bells, but now volunteers can do it in most communities.

    So that makes it a great family project. Mandy and Beth usually supply me with an occasional coffee... Or they take turns ringing so I can warm up... Or they just hang out with me and that's cool too. I even got DAVE to come one time!!! We rang together. It was fun.

    And then he fed me. :)

  40. Have the book already and have started it (I read only in bed late at night) and can't wait to finish it! :) Love love LOVE the Salvation Army bell ringers! When our kids were little and we'd hear the bell ringing, we'd hand the kids lots of change to put in the kettle. They both remember that to this day, and I still love loading up my jacket pocket with change to drop into kettles.

    I wanna go to Greece Ridge Friday evening to meet you in person, Ruthy! Don't know that I can justify the 45-50 minute drive though... :( We were just in Greece on Sunday for dinner (my brother was up from NC so we chose a central location to meet everyone), and then back to Greece Monday night to my in-laws'. Not sure the budget can handle 3 trips in 1 week, darn it.

    One of these years I will do the bell-ringing, but it's not happening this year. I have always admired those who brave the cold and everything else involved.

    Merry CHRISTmas!

    Melanie, also from upstate NY :)

  41. Hey Ruthy,

    Sorry to disappoint, but I'd rather shovel ten driveways than stand and ring a bell and ask for money! The incentive would have to be like maybe a MILLION DOLLARS! But I will do my best to GIVE to the kettle, if that's any consolation.

    And Nancy, I'm right there with you. Don't like Christmas much at all - I turn off the radio stations in the car with Christmas music - I cringe when Christmas lights go up in early November - and I HATE Christmas shopping. We won't even go into cooking turkeys,or decorating trees. Have been known to break out the whiskey at tree trimming time. One year in particular I did the whole tree ALONE (No one wants to help me) and the dang thing fell over and broke all the glass ornaments! I said a nasty word or two and went to the highest cupboard in the house to find the whiskey then locked myself in my bedroom. Not a fun year! (And that was BEFORE MENOPAUSE!)

    However, we will get through another season.

    I do enjoy a good old fashioned Christmas story however and may have to buy yours!

    Sorry to be so bah-hum bug, but someone has to counteract all the bubbliness! LOL.


  42. Ruthy, since the nearest Salvation Army bell ringer is an hour drive away, how about I get a free book if I toss some money in the kettle instead.

    OH WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    AND LOVED IT!!!!!!

    Okay, forget I begged for a book. :)

  43. Ruthy, what an amazing idea!! And what a great story!!! :)

    I LOVE Christmas stories. Reading and writing. :)

  44. One of my favorite Christmas songs is Come On Ring Those Bells.

  45. RUTHY!!! Honey, if EVER there was a woman cut out to ring bells for the Salvation Army, it is YOU!!! And you don't even need a bell, girl, because your personality alone rings loud and clear and true. GREAT promotion, my friend!!

    I am DYING to write a Christmas story and hope to for next year as well. It's a Marcy and Patrick O'Connor prequel where the matriarch and patriarch of the wildly passionate O'Connor clan first meet, so wish me luck. Better yet, say one for me because I don't write as fast as you and Mary!!

    Good luck with the bell ringing. I'm convinced you are going to do SO well, the Salvation Army will want to hire you full time. :)


  46. Bridget, thank you!!!! I'll let you know when that first Hallmark movie gets scheduled! It'll be great. We can eat popcorn together!

    And kids love to feed the kettles, don't they? Awesome, awesome!

    Kirsten, everything counts, and I love that you've got Yuletide Hearts and you help Wounded Warrior. You rock, chica!

    SHERRI!!!! Yes, Christmas miracles... Christ with us... Emmanuel!

    I love Christmas. Love it, love it, love it!

    K.C., I thought May might like that pic! ;) Those were our first Golden Doodles.... And part of the reason I will never breed for winter puppies again. Oh my stars. Do Not Ask.

  47. Love the puppies.

    My daughter (she's 4) loves putting money in the bucket. This year she's tall enough to reach it without help.

    I've never rang the bell, but I used to collect and count the money.

    Helen, do y'all have a Walmart? I can't remember. That's where our bell ringers are.

  48. Hi Ruth:

    You sold “Yuletide Hearts” so well; I’m going to read it again! That was really good. You should write a review. In fact, that’s a great idea! I’d like you to be the first author to write a review of her own book on my Philosophy of Romance website.

    Author reviews would show in detail what the author was trying to do and then the reader could read the book and determine how well the author achieved her goals. How about it?

    Caveat : I only post good reviews so make it at least 4 stars.

    Author reviews will allow readers to get the straight dope directly from the horse’s mouth! (Be sure to take any money out first). This sounds a lot like Pam’s ‘nag’ post of a few days ago.

    BTW: I do think you should mention that ”Yuletide Hearts” is not a historical Love Inspired about Rosie the Riveter.

    Also, please don’t forget Callie’s first husband served his country, too. Dustin and Callie were both very young and war does strange things to people who think they may be dead before the day is over.

    Dustin may be “A stinkin' liar!” but please don’t kill him in your next book! (It’s already been done.) Demonstrate a belief in fundamental Christian redemption.

    Please don’t send Dustin to the dustbin of despicable desperadoes. Women love bad boys as long as they really aren’t bad boys. Dustin got confused about that.

    I like Christmas stories the best. I read twice as many romances between November 1 and January 1. If a romance makes you feel good, then a Christmas romance will make you feel even better.

    I never wrote a Christmas romance and never even considered it. That’s strange. I think I will write one about a philanthropist who is not true to himself because he is really a mean person. He has been living a lie all his life.

    One Christmas he decides not to give anyone anything and feels liberated and true to himself for the first time in his life.

    I bet this theme hasn’t been done. I think he should be a secular humanist who is converted to the ‘God helps those who help themselves’ version of Christianity. (I know, that’s not in the Bible per se but the story of the talents is and everyone thinks it’s in the Bible.)

    My hero will become a ‘fisher of men’ in the sense that he won’t be giving fish away any longer but he will open schools to teach people how to fish. I can see it now. A novella. Setting: Mystic, Connecticut.

    To thine own self be true.


    P.S. I always thought you were very tall from reading your writing. Then we met and do you know what? I still think of you as being very tall. You're just a tall writer.

  49. Julie,

    If that book is out next Christmas, it will definitely be in my list.

  50. Yes, I love, love, love Christmas stories both to read and to write. That's why I wrote Christmas Belles of Georgia! That's why I read Christmas books the whole month of December, and started early this year by finishing Till Morning is Nigh by Leisha Kelly last night! And am starting Dan Walsh's Remembering Christmas tonight and then... ps. Ruthie, I applaud you for this giveaway for the Salvation Army. I have rung the bell for them when I was a teenager, but now I contribute on the other end of the bell. Takes both so I hope all of us who can't ring can contribute in this way!

  51. Whoah! for the first time, blogger ate my comment! I feel your pain, you guys!

    Ruthy, you gave me shivers when you talked about your mother's bell. My beloved grandfather got sober five years before he died. To this day, when I smell run, his face pops into my head! I come from a long line of drinkers, and my husband does, too. We've got a 'dry' house but we know that gene will pop up around here somewhere so we try to be as active as possible in the mission here. I think if our kids can see how long it takes to recover from alcoholism (a lifetime) and what heartache is involved, they'll think harder before they take a sip.

    As for Heifer, I can't vouvh for their finances but I know they're very respected. We got involved in it because my husband comes from a place where if you had chickens you were RICH. A lot of Hefier proceeds help kids go to school, and that's important for both of us. He dropped out at 8 to help work, but when he came to this country at 17, he made sure to put the last 6 siblings through school.

    ALSO (sorry, this is long!) I like the fact that Heifer has a policy on the donated animals: the first batch of offspring is kept, the second batch has to be donated in part or whole (depending on the animal) to another family in their community on the list. So, goats ar bred, and the second kid goes to the neighbor. And on and on! How great is that??? Self-sustaining giving!

  52. Vince! A tall writer! haha!

    And I love that story idea...

  53. Ruthy, you serious make me laugh. And please don't try to put money in your mouth. Coins can be swallowed by accident ('nuff said) and bills are mauled so often. Ick.

    I'm not sure we have bell ringers 'round here either. Will check it out, though. Helen's idea of banging a coffee pot may attract more attention in my town.

    And I can't say that I've ever actually read a Christmas-novel at Christmas. Sounds like a golden idea to me.

  54. Andrea, we have a Wal Martm, but it's not a Super Center, just a small one.

  55. We ring the bells here, but since I haven't been shopping yet, (seriously!) I haven't seen a bell ringer.

    This might actually be a good idea for our Youth at church. Sign up to ring the bell for an hour. One can ring while the others sing Christmas carols. I wonder if that's allowed?

    And, while we're on this topic, Ruthy, it's awfully hard to walk past a pail and not contribute. But if you see 10 pails while you're shopping, what do you do???

    And, I feel guilty if I put money in on the way into the store, and then they say "Merry Christmas" on my way out of the store. I feel guilty if I don't put in more, especially if it's a NEW ringer! lol

    In our small town, some of the school clubs are allowed to stand at the intersection (at both ends of town) and collect for various causes. I have found myself going through these intersections 3 and 4 times.

    I don't mind contributing, but the first time, I grabbed all the change out of my cup holder (that's what it's for, right?) and handed it over. Then I was broke at the next intersection.

    So, from then on, I only gave half my change, and saved the rest until I got to the other end of town.

  56. I forgot to answer this.

    I love Christmas stories. Just finished Mary & Robin Lee Hatcher's Christmas novellas! Both were wonderful!

    And... I just read Ruthy's excerpt of Yuletide Hearts on Amazon. Loved, loved, LOVED it!!

    And even though Stealing Jake released in July and the cover doesn't reflect it, it's a Christmas story. Actually, I probably wouldn't have set it at Christmas, but it was originally written for Tyndale's Cowboy Christmas anthology a gazillion years ago, so there you go....

  57. Quite the motivational post, Ruthy!

    I agree with Jan about Heifer--great organization! My nephew-in-law has been one of their techie guys for many years. He works at their main headquarters in Little Rock. It's so fun to "give" someone a flock of geese or a bunch of baby chicks or a share of a cow.

    Especially the people on your gift list who already have everything they could possibly need or want.

    Oh, and Christmas stories--just finished reading Mary's novella last night. Simply charming! About to start on Robin Lee Hatcher's tonight.

  58. Thanks, Pammy. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  59. Ruthy, I love Hallmark and would love to one of your books make it.

    One of my favorite Hallmarks...What the Deaf Man Heard. It wasn't a Christmas story though. Always made me want to write a book called What the Blind Man Saw, but that might be pushing it.

    We don't put up our tree until the middle of Dec. and take it down the day after Christmas, but I still love this time of year. (Home improvement stores mark them down between 15th-20th)I help the kids make ornaments including fruit-loop strings every year. We pick from angel trees that support foster kids. Special place in my heart.

    Plan on buying Yuletide Hearts this week.

  60. Go Ruthy!
    And bell ringers.
    And the military.

    I LOVE Christmas stories. Have one outlined but won't be writing it until I finish what I have right now.

    But there's something magical and extra special about the lights, wonder, and beauty of Christmas that makes me get all romancy inside.

    Besides the celebration of the greatest love of all...
    We have -

    Winter coats, snowfall, fires all aglow.
    Hot chocolate, mistletoe, snuggling up...
    oh man. Maybe I should start writing a Christmas story right now ;-)
    Just kidding.

    I'm off to look for Yuletide at WalMart! WOOHOO!

  61. Bridgett you dont have much choice here its wait 6 weeks from Christianbook or pay about $20 postage from Amazon or wait about 3 months for it to come to Australia then have to wait till I can order or visit. (or win it but as I was doing the order it was better to order the book)

    Ruthy I have a song stuck in my head! and my laptop wont let me put songs on my mp4 player so cant get it out!
    (mental note to self find Christmas where the gum trees grew to drive out I want a hippopotumus for christmas! After all the Jacaranda trees are flowering! its part of the song)

  62. Oh, Nancy, look out! You're going to be the heroine of a book, no doubt! :) With another name, of course.

  63. My boys and I will be bell ringing downtown Caldwell, ID from 4:00-6:30 PM. Does this one count? I became a single mom last year. I have two boys at home 13 and 4. My little man is autistic and we can do things to a limit due to sensory issues but I think we can survive this with all the lights as well. It is just beautiful. I am aiming for a beautiful picture of all the lights.


  64. Absolutely loved Yuletide Hearts, and Nancy, you have to read it because it's Matt's story. You know? Jeff Brenin's brother in Mended Hearts? If you don't read it, you miss out. Big time!


    Where I live, we have the bell ringers in front of Walmart, Angel Trees, Toys for Tots, Coats for Kids, a Senior giving tree at work, and several others I can't remember the names of, but my family has always done something a little different. We adopt a family at Christmas and either provide money or do the kids Christmas gifts ourselves. It's made for a few Christmases we'll never forget.

  65. Ruthy,
    Other ways people 'give' during Christmas (kind of like CDee) - Samaritan's purse shoe boxes.

    For us, something that we've done since I've been teaching in a university, is take a student who isn't going home for Christmas, and have him/her spend time with us for Christmas. That's been an amazing blessing for us!!!

  66. I am not please with my local Walmarts. They have several 2-in-1 rereleases [LI Classics? Something like that] but only 0-2 of the new LIs for this month [at least right now].

    This does not make me happy.

    I did finish NaNo though. Hope to finish the rough draft by the end of next week. And I did send one query to Ramona today and am working on the next one.

    Back to work...

  67. Melanie, maybe next year! I didn't start doing it until about six or seven years ago... And there's always another Christmas, and there's always folks a bit hard-pressed.

    Jan, I'll head over there when I've got a minute....

    Oops, headed over, bought TWO GOATS and then had to work so just got back here! Oh my stars, I JUST BOUGHT TWO GOATS!!!!

    That is the coolest thing ever.

    Okay, must get back on track here...

  68. Sue, I'm using you and Nancy for the heroine for some as yet un-named book....

    And it's okay to NOT embrace the madness and love the holiness.

    The bell ringing? I just remember answering the door of my parents' home and people delivering food. Presents. Egg nog. A turkey. Oh my stars, that was the coolest thing! It was a bunch of years before I realized why we were special....

    So not I do the give-back thing. And I'm an attention seeker....

    Like youse didn't know that, right???? ;)

    VINCE!!! I love that idea. I'll e-mail you and we'll figure it out. And SURE, Vince. I'll be nice to Dustin, the two-timin' scoundrel....

    Yes, they were young.

    Yes, war does weird things to people.

    But you should support your child, right??? Without the threat of courts hanging over your head? Okay, okay, we'll leave Dustin alone, but that's only because he's not in any other book. Finch McGee? Now that man has potential, he just kind of veered left for a while...

    And regrets it now. But what can we do about Finch McGee? ;)

  69. Vince, HAHAHAHAHA! The tall thing... It's because I'm bossy. So people 'think' big... tall... loud...

    The last one is correct, but isn't that funny how we "see" someone online?

    For the rest o' youse, I'm 5'2. Short. And Vince is that's hysterical. And that he's pleading a fictional character's case online....

    That might be funnier yet!

  70. Missy and Mary.... Isn't that a great idea?

    To bribe people with free stuff? It's like being a bank....

    "Come in by next Tuesday and open a checking account in our branch and we'll give you a free toaster!!!"

    I love that stuff!

    JULIE: You are too cute, and I can't wait for you to write Marcy and Patrick's Christmas romance. Oh, that Patrick!!! ;)

    And, um, if that's your way of saying I'm loud, I um... well... am.

    And I take a CD player along with Christmas music because I can't sing all that well. Or all that long. I don't play an instrument. I'm not disabled, so I can't win the sympathy vote. So I just act cheerful in my trench coat and Santa Hat with a VERY LONG SCARF because it gets cold.... And I'm a big baby when I'm cold!

    Or most anytime, actually. ;)

  71. Rose, you made such a good point! Any and all contributions are welcome.

    The reason I did the bell ringing challenge is that I know they're having trouble getting enough folks to fill all the shifts. And that's a huge chunk out of the fundraiser, right? So if we can get a few more people out there.... Begging, literally, but for others, so that takes the sting out of it... That will be cool!

    And I just checked Heifer International again, and yes, it is true... I bought two goats.

    I'm just beaming that I did that!

  72. Hi Ruth:

    Finch McGee? I see him in a subplot where he courts the new female assistant pastor who is getting a hard time from church members who don’t even want women to hold any office in the church. They meet in a Wellsville AA meeting and Finch not only keeps her secret, he becomes her biggest ally. But this is only a subplot. The main plot: now that’s too good to even speculate about.

    BTW: In the future Dustin is going to donate a kidney to Jake. Don’t kill Dustin!


    P.S. I’m going to attend Glenn Campbell’s last concert Saturday. Perhaps our Missouri friends will be there.

  73. CDeesBooks said:It's Matt's story...Jeff Brenin's brother in Mended Hearts...

    I didn't know it was THAT Matt! Loved loved Mended Hearts. Just got through reading it. Now I'm in a rush to get Yuletide Hearts.

    Heifer International is so great. It's such a good thing for coworkers or families to go into together and purchase.

  74. Hi Ruthy.
    Hummm, never thought of a Mr. Harlequin! Trying to picture him now - a blend of Huge Jackman and Midas?

    Lovely suggestion that we volunteer. Around here the bell ringers are paid workers. When we lived in Fairport, we volunteered at the Kaufmans' entrance of the Eastwood Mall in Victor. A lot has changed. Now it's Macy's and I'm half a country away in IL.

    I already have your Yuletide Hearts, but in honor of your request, next week I will stay an extra shift at the Loaves and Fishes food bank.

    Thanks for the gentle holiday reminder. Merry Christmas!


  75. Yuletide Hearts jumped off the shelf and into my cart when I was shopping at Target last SAT. True story!

    That cover is to die for, Ruthy! Santa must have told the Art Department you've been very, very good!

    Mr. Harlequin is happy. Santa is happy. Ruthy is happy.

    Makes for a Merry Christmas in my book...which isn't a Christmas story...but there's still time for the 2012 lineup!

    I'd better get back to work.

  76. Whoops, that's Hugh Jackman. Teehee, it's been a looooong day. ;)


  77. I'm here at last! Sorry I've been absentee today. Busy, crazy day!

    If you missed my recipe over at the Yankee-Belle Cafe, you'll want to run over and take a peek. Thanks to all those who stopped in. :D

    RUTHY: I saw your Yuletide book at Walmart and will pick it up, hopefully, before the month is over. :D LOVE Ruthy books!!! I still have to write up the reviews. I had too much going on over the last several months and got behind in ALL my reviews. Sorry.

    Hope you all had a great day and that it ends in peaceful sleep!

  78. As to puppies and the kid? ADORABLE!!!

  79. No time to ring bells. I'm helping my mother-in-law through her journey with breast cancer. I do however send sizeable checks annually to the local Salvation Army and St Vincent DePaul Society.

    There's a tremendous amount of people in our area needing help. Rural poverty rivals urban.

    If you see someone struggling in the check-out line, open your purse and pay for their groceries. If you have a neighbor out of work, share your dinner. There are many little ways to help.

  80. Ruthy, your talk about buying the goats reminded me of the gifts my husband gave me last year--schooling for a year for two little girls, a goat, and food for a family. Our 11 year old grandson is following in his pappaw's footsteps. We already got a card from Samaritan's Purse saying he gave a gift to a Family feeding project in our honor for Christmas.
    We took our kids to the Salvation ARmy in Lexington, KY when they were younger to serve lunch a few times during the holidays. Now our oldest daughter's church does a meal for the community on Thanksgiving and our grandkids serve there! That is definitely a great family tradition to pass on!

  81. LOL, ANDREA, BLESS YOU!! Well, I guess I'll sell at least one book, then ... ;)

    RUTHY ... a CD player, a trenchcoat, Santa hat and scarf ... okay I need a picture, please, so have somebody take one, capiche???

    And you said: "Oh, that Patrick!!!

    Ahem ... a "young" stud-muffin bad-boy Patrick at that, so oh boy, oh boy ... am I gonna have fun ... ;)


  82. I've never rang the bells but I always give when I walk by.

    I agree angels are closer at Christmas time!

    One of my manuscripts had a Christmas theme.

    I'll be looking for your book next time I'm in Walmart or B&N.

  83. Ringing Bells? I love the bell ringers! I always have to dig deep into my purse for donations everytime I see them because they're just as much the Christmas tradition as a tree and ho-ho-ho.

    Did I mention having to dig deep into my purse? Money, real live money? They'd make a killing if they accepted debit cards, you know.

    That would kill a lot of the charm, wouldn't it? Okay, I'll stop by the bank tomorrow and get a bunch of $5s to keep in my SA bell ringer envelope in my purse.

    Great idea to offer books for kettle time, Ruthy! Who can resist a cute elf with really good hair and cute shoes??

    Go get'em, Ruthy!

  84. You're welcome, Ruthy. =)
    I was in B&N ordering your book and it took a while for them to figure out why there were two but finally someone clicked on something and figured out one was large print. I thought about Vince =) but then got the regular one. It should get to my house right about the time I'm warming to Christmas. You know how much Small-Town Hearts blessed me while all that was going on with Dad so I know I'm going to love this one already.

  85. Note:

    Just in case you ever need it for your psychology class, I believe that ‘Mr. Harlequin’ is an excellent example of ‘cognitive dissonance’. I’ve been feeling it all day. :0


  86. I interviewed a lady recently who actually knew Churchill! She was a member of the British Navy during WWII and assisted Chu's doctor when Chu was ill. They lived in his house! How cool is that? She said he was a nice man who smoked cigars a lot. :)
    Just thought you'd like to know this bit of trivia. Merry Christmas!

  87. Ah, Virginia, I'm not surprised that we're kindred spirits! Of the race that knows Joseph....

    Wendy Lawton calls folks who survive and do well after traumatic childhoods "Overcomers"... I love that term. It's simple and factual.

    We don't just 'survive'.

    Single-celled organisms can do THAT.

    We overcome. Move on. Become new.

    I like that image so much better!

    And Vince, did I say I liked that fun alter-Christmas story, too? How fun... As long as there's a happy ending, my friend! Which may or may not include a coffin.

    I'm just sayin'... ;)

  88. Diana... I might just have to send you a Christmas book to get you started on the road to whole-hearted Ho-Ho-Ho-isms.

    Warning: They become addictive. :)

    Pammers: A bell ringer told me the other day that she wishes they had a giveaway symbol (like the poppies on Memorial Day) to show that people are supporters and have given. I think we all feel like you do, hence the dollars in the pockets, but the ringers know the score. We know not everyone has change and/or "quiet" money in their pockets, so if you walk by and just say, "Hey", that's a-okay.

    And I love that people can TEXT their donation! How instant and easy-peasy is that?????

    Youth groups up here ring the bells often. And they do the "boot" or "bucket" crusades at intersections, too. For cancer, hospice, etc.

    God knows our hearts and our means. He gets us totally.

    Oh, that God!!!

  89. Pam, Have I mentioned this week how much I loved Stealing Jake???? And yes, definitely a Christmas tale. Love it, girlfriend.

    May have to re-read while the lights are up!

    And I haven't read Mary's and Robin's novellas yet. I'm revising "His Mistletoe Family" for December 2012, and loving how it's coming out! But reading time disappeared the week before Thanksgiving, to return, when??? Soon, I hope!

  90. Ruthy, THANKS for a great post.....your words, all the comments....really present the Christmas spirit....I have read them over and over. (oh, and I read YH...loved it!). Your words:
    God knows our hearts and our means. He gets us totally....
    were the "icing on the cake!" Guess I knew that, but hearing it from you has made my day!! Hope the bell ringers are at the W. I am headed to!
    Blessings on your day!!

  91. Connie, I've never done Froot Loop strings! Do you separate them with pasta or just string the cereal? Tell me how you do this, it's a great project with the grand-kiddos!

    Oh, Pepper, words to thrill my heart:

    "But I won't start it until I've finished what I'm working on!!!!"


    Private joke... only not so private in Seekerville! Go, you. Keep working. Finishing. Working. Finishing.

    I'm such a broken record. I annoy myself. Is there any food left? It's Thursday mid-day and I'm hungry.

    My head likes to think in series-format so tucking holiday books into the mix is a natural. And I'm a sap, so it's a win/win. I get sappy, Mr. Harlequin gets a book.


  92. Love, love, love Christmas stories. Maybe because Christmas is still my favorite holiday (although I crave those Easter jelly beans).

    Especially now that I live in a warmer clime and I can combine my love for warm weather clothing with my favorite holiday, although I still draw the line at lighted flamingos and firing up the outdoor grill. Those things just seem wrong to this Northern born and bred gal.

  93. No, I have not written a Christmas story!

    Jan K.