Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Season of Miracles: Writing it and Why It Sells

Ruthy here! Gooooood Morning, Seekervillllle!!!!!

Selling Christmas sounds dreadfully pragmatic, doesn't it? Writing about Christmas to SELL something seems wrong.

Oh. So. Wrong.

Except it's not, of course, any more than it's wrong to hang strings of lights, boughs of holly, mistletoe or garland. Or put up a creche, a nativity scene, a quiet corner of prayer and reflection...

My favorite garland?

Strings of cranberries and popcorn, alternated on the string. We did that all the time when the kids were small... they'd do small strings and I'd knot them together for larger ones. I miss that, stringing berries and popcorn.

So let's destroy Myth #1:  Selling Christmas is Wrong.

Commercializing a blessed holy day of the church has been taken to extremes, but if your work requires either selling boxes of twinkle lights in a retail store, fancy cakes in a bakery or lovely books with two orphaned boys on the front....

Yes, blatant touch-your-hearts cover here!!! And this lovely book is for sale in stores nationwide right now... and in Walmart you can buy it for $3.33... I'm not kidding, a real hold-in-your-hands book for that price!
Thank you, Harlequin and Walmart for working that deal!!!

It's not necessarily commercializing... it's offering opportunity.  The gal who's too busy to bake is glad that Wegman's, Tops or Kroger's is offering Christmas delights, the guy whose wife is nagging him about making the porch more festive is thrilled to find a string of reasonably-priced  lights at Wal-Mart and the person looking for a warm, inspirational story of God's love within us, can find that in the pages of a good book. 

God has actually done the legwork for you!

Oh, that GOD!!!!  :)  The Nativity story has all the earmarks of successful fiction in a true-life-tale.

Obstructionist government.
Lack of choice.
Physical stress.
Mental stress.
An unwed mother.
A father challenged to forgive or believe...
The common man, coming together.
Farm animals.
A country-setting in a small town (I LOVE THESE SO MUCH!!!)
Building trust, faith and hope.... Reaching within for the strength to carry on.
Good prevails over evil and a happy ending.

Man, in his/her flawed personage, fills in the blanks of the story. Our internal struggles... our self-doubts... our pain, our suffering, our selfishness. Regret, bad choices, youthful indiscretion... all of this comes to the fore at Christmastime when we see the sacrificial goodness in Mary and Joseph, common folk with an uncommon destiny.

Readers identify with indiscretions conquered at Christmas-time, unlike any other time of year because the season of light comes at the height of northern darkness. Short days, cloud-riddled-skies. Long, drawn-out dark nights.

Unto us a Child is born....  

Unto us a Son is given.

So babies work VERY WELL in Christmas stories, past and present. Even folks who don't love babies in the "general" love them at Christmas... the idea of Christ, born in a manger opens even the Scroogiest, Grinchiest "babies annoy me" heart to healing.

Regret.... There's no time like Christmas to list our regrets.  The promises broken... the relationships cast aside.... hurt feelings.... empty arms.... words spoken in haste, regretted at leisure.

I love this Trans-Siberian Orchestra song of regret, when the old man spies his child, a child he gave up on long ago in a fit of anguish and agony, all faith cast aside. His wife dead, his child deformed... The child, now a full-grown man with disabilities, is helping others in the NICU of a Bronx hospital...If you don't own any Trans-Siberian Orchestra music, I'll have to give it as a gift/prize sometime because it inspires me deeply when I work.

And that story of a father who walked away from his handicapped newborn... providing in name only... and then God's chance for redemption forty years later... I cannot read this without seeing all of us in the story, shouldering our responsibilities and confronting our regrets. (Story behind "The Lost Christmas Eve" is here... Feel free to read the scenario of the rock opera and then come back.)


Getting to the HEA is tough in reality.... It should be similar in fiction. This particular TSO opera inspired a story I wrote several years ago, unpublished as yet, but a Christmas tale I love... Of a man who rejects suicide because of the intervention of a bridge derelict... He goes on to change the lives of thousands with his works of charity while healing his personal wounds evades him for years.

Christmas stories evoke EMOTION. If bars of music put a stranglehold on our hearts, then our written words must do the same. And being Christmas, it shouldn't flounder in really DARK, DEEP EMOTION without something joyous surrounding the darkness... That "joy" can be the grace and generosity of others... Kindly old folk, making things nice for young families down on their luck. Filling baskets of food and/or toys.  Raising money for a NICU.... Raising money for storm victims.... In the darkness there needs to be that ray of light, Christ among us. And no matter how bad things are for those main characters, that beam of light should beckon them.

I don't employ a lot of romantic passion in Christmas stories. I try to evoke the spirit of sacrificial love,  tested hearts and valor, a chance to begin anew... To me Christmas is more about the inner sanctum of emotion than romantic love, but the romantic love should spring organically from the healing heart.

In Yuletide Hearts (Love Inspired, December 2011) the hero is willing to walk away from his dream... and the girl... when he realizes he received the dream through illicit means unknown to him. A true marine, he's willing to forego the happily ever after in his grasp because he knows no one will understand his true feelings. He'll be the subject of doubt and talk and he's lived that all his life: He won't subject the heroine and her wonderful son to a similar fate. That makes Matt Cavanaugh, the reformed bad boy, a true hero.

Putting others first. As did Mary, Joseph, and that babe born in the manger, a good Christmas story should rock with self-sacrifice. Heros and heroines who are AFRAID of sacrifice get the boot in my books because those people annoy the heck out of me in real life.

(Are you beginning to understand that I'm not the best person to play with in the sandbox???? :)  )

The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite rendition of that wonderful Dickens' tale, and I'll tell you why: Singing mice and rats and poor folk trying to find a way to make merry in the dirty streets of London bring cheer to those opening minutes. Minute creatures, tucked in niches, in window wells, in hay wagons.


And the music: beautiful, lovely, fun, captivating.  I want Scrooge's redemption, but I also want the little critters to have food... to be warm.  And Tiny Tim.... Played by Kermit the Frog's nephew.... Is just wonderful...

(Excuse me while I wipe a tear!!!!  SNIFFLE!!!!)

Mind you I am not so forgiving when those same woodland critters make their way into my farmhouse...  I am somewhat two-faced in the matter of "mouse-in-the-house" and I reward my farm cats well for hunting... Do you know how many vermin can live on 40 ACRES OF HARVESTED CORN DROPPINGS?????

(I do not do the math because I'd have to employ an anti-mouse/rat/mole/chipmunk/squirrel (gray and red) force-field shield because the numbers are staggering!!! Ooops... back to cute critters at Christmas!!!)

I've been blessed to have Christmas books out the past two years and I'm hoping there will be more in my future. The mix of joy and suffering, pain and redemption at Christmas can heal heart and soul.

Eggnog and cookies help spur that healing (you may or may not have known that, happy to help, you're welcome!!!!), so come on inside, leave a comment, and I'll throw your name in the cat dish (after they've eaten, of course, no rodents allowed in the dish. Usually)... I've got a lovely Christmas Card Collection of stories to send your way....

Oh, oh, oh!!! Do you see that Virginia Carmichael's "Season of Joy" has slipped into the picture????? :) SUH-WEET!!!!
It's also got Mia Ross's "Gift of Family",  my "Yuletide Hearts" from 2011 and
"His Mistletoe Family" (Love Inspired, 2012, in stores now)

And for your Kindle:
A little bit of Christmas love by two of my favorite authors Linda Goodnight and Mary Connealy....
To all of you readers and writers, I want to wish "youse" the most Blessed of Christmases... and healing as needed. Emmanuel: God with us....

For unto us a child is born.... :)



  1. I love Christmas stories. I've enjoyed everyone that I've read so far this season, including Season of Joy and His Mistletoe Family. Excellent books. Both keepers.

    And one of my favorite Christmas shows is Emmet Otters Jug Band Christmas. It's Henson's play on The Gift of The Magi, one of my favorite stories.

  2. I just finished writing a Christmas scene. Whether anyone ever reads it or not, it moved me.

    Love all those Christmas stories y'all are putting out there.

    There's plenty of coffee to go with the cookies.


  3. MERRRRRYYYY CHRISTmas, dear Ruthy!
    and all of Seekerville! :)

  4. MERRRRRYYYY CHRISTmas, dear Ruthy!
    and all of Seekerville! :)

  5. oh oh! I saw Mary Virginia Munoz Carmichael's book BEFORE you told me in the caption. Did she Photo Book Bomb that giveaway? :)

    And I only got 15 acres, and the mice! the mice! They live in my vaehicles--not kidding. And every time we kill one, another moves in. They chew up all the stuffing under the dashboard so that when we turn on the A/C bits come flying out at us. I. HATES. IT.

    The cats can literally walk in the pasture and justLEAN over and snatch up a rodent. The dog eats them too. They're EVERYWHERE. Much worse than the movie "Birds," I tell ya.

    I only let Rizzo and the others of his ilk live, because they stay constrained to my TV. They're allowed where else or I smack them with my shoe. They are a rather easy animal to crush SO WHY ARE THERE SO MANY! I have three cats in the house just to keep up with them.

    OK, maybe I shouldn't have read this post, you got my blood pressure going!

  6. Hi Ruth:

    Selling Christmas is presenting the case for Christianity. Using Christmas to sell other things presents the moral problems.

    Now I would enjoy a passionate Christmas story. “A Yuletide Most Passionate”. In this story the burning love between the hero and heroine softens their hearts and sharpens their awareness. They see those in need that they had never seen before. Their passion for each other expands beyond the limits of individual expression. This excess passion forces them to give of themselves and to understand for the first time the true meaning of those three wonderous Biblical words:

    ‘God is Love’.

    I will be a romantic in all things.


  7. I love Christmas stories, movies,poems, skits. Always have.

    Please put my name in the cat dish.

  8. Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year so when someone is having a rough time, it's twice the emotion.
    Coming home stories are my favorite.
    Makes me think of Elvis's I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You.

    But maybe slightly better is the Year Without a Santa Claus version w/the little girl crying...

    Connie Queen

  9. OK, first off. I hadn't heard of Siberian Orchestra and it started out so SOFTLY that I cranked the volume and then... BAM.

    One very awake baby.

    So, starting again and I like this one better...

    For all ye Sarah McLachlan fans.

  10. Secondly, Yuletide Hearts is my go-to LI romance writing book.

    If I get lost writing, or my plot start winding around (in the dark, in the woods, nobody for miles around) I grab Yuletide and read a few chapters.

    I refresh the way I want the pacing to go. It's so sweet, so cleanly written, it's like a manual. My secondary charcters like to take over the book- and I beat them over the head with that book until they find their rightful spots. Chastened and willing to play second and thrid fiddles to the romantic couple.

    And I hate a commerical Christmas season but you've won me over.

  11. Oh, haha! reading the comments now.

    Yes, total book bomb. And SOJ was soooo nervous about sneaking in the back there. Sweaty pages and crackling binding, with a little front cover twitch developed from stress.

    But she crept in there and NO ONE NOTICED! SCORE!

  12. I have fifteen Christmas stories on my Kindle but I had to get His Mistletoe Family downloaded and read.

    Nothing says Christmas to me like Christmas stories and an Advent calendar!

    Peace, Julie

  13. Hi Ruthy I have all of those books or will have soon.

    I use to love Christmas stories and I still do but this year it seems almost all I have read deal with a loved one who has passed away or a hero or heroine who has lost a partner and is still grieving. I cried In Mary's story, Jennifer AlLee's and bawled through Jillian Harts book. Current book novella by Jillian and Janet Tronstand so far no dead person.

    But I know its not all books! I do love Christmas books just this year I feel them so much more.

  14. MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL! Oh I do love a good Christmas story and loved your post Ruthy! Would love to be entered in your giveaway! Thank you so much for your generosity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  15. CHRISTINA!!!! I have "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas" and we love it!!! That stinkin' River Bottom Band makes me so mad!!! :)

    But good wins out in the end and sacrifice is rewarded. That little Muppet special has all the things I spoke of, doesn't it? Regret... emotion... Loss... Hardship... And the true love of mother and son.

    I watched it with the little ones on Tuesday. So wonderful!!!!

    HELEN!!! Thank you for the coffee. I'm on cup #1 and eyeing the carafe for #2 already!!!

  16. Oh, Melissa, we are kindred spirits. They're ridiculous, aren't they? The mice, I mean... ;)

    But they're so stinkin' cute in the Muppet movie that I want to knit tiny clothes for them... and new, soft socks for tiny mouse feet.

    Now that's salesmanship, LOL!!! I feel no such compunction here. Here they are fair game.

    Don't hold back, Melissa, darling. Tell us how you REALLY feel!!!! :)

    VINCE.... Oh, Vince, I like that differentiation... I'm e-mailing Julie right now with your passionate Christmas love story... and she'd do it justice (Time escapes me left and right and I haven't read A Light in the Window yet, but I've heard it's just beautiful)

    Oh, nag.... snap.... bah!!! MAYBE I'M GETTING OLD, VINCE??????



  17. Oh, Melissa, we are kindred spirits. They're ridiculous, aren't they? The mice, I mean... ;)

    But they're so stinkin' cute in the Muppet movie that I want to knit tiny clothes for them... and new, soft socks for tiny mouse feet.

    Now that's salesmanship, LOL!!! I feel no such compunction here. Here they are fair game.

    Don't hold back, Melissa, darling. Tell us how you REALLY feel!!!! :)

    VINCE.... Oh, Vince, I like that differentiation... I'm e-mailing Julie right now with your passionate Christmas love story... and she'd do it justice (Time escapes me left and right and I haven't read A Light in the Window yet, but I've heard it's just beautiful)

    Oh, nag.... snap.... bah!!! MAYBE I'M GETTING OLD, VINCE??????



  18. Mary Cline You're in! And me, too. The Hallmark Channel has a full line-up of sweet romantic Christmas movies this time of year...

    Grinning at how delightful that is! :)

    Connie Queen I totally agree! Maybe we're wired differently.... but it's that emotion of healing that spurs me when I write a Christmas story.

    Brett Stanton in His Mistletoe Family... a good man who thought ill of himself for too long.

    We ladies know we need to treasure a good-hearted man, big time! :)

  19. merry christmas to you and yours, ruthy

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  20. Virginia....

    Oops. Forgot that if you're not used to TSO they crescendo big time. :)

    Sorry, baby! And hey, that kid's a toddler now, right????? A big boy toddler?

    'Sup wi' dis "baby" talk?????

    Aw, you've made me grin ear-to-ear with your kind words about "Yuletide Hearts"... Thank you so much, my buddy, my pal! Here, have a Christmas cookie.... And a Sfogliatelle (we got those in Seneca Falls / Bedford Falls on Sunday, and they're to die for delicious!) Or a sweet little carrot cake ball (To learn how to make these go to Yankee Belle Cafe and you'll be amazed at how we turn every scrap of "cake goodness" into a delicious treat!!!

    And the book bomb? Most effective, right???? Well played, young Grasshopper. One day you too will be able to walk the ricepaper. :)


    Okay, what a lovely compliment

  21. Oh, Virginia Mary Ginny, i loved that version of What Child is This by Sarah M. thanks for giving the link. It's the first time I heard it but wow, it's nice.

    It's wonderful to have so many Christmas books available. I recall how the cable channels do up the number of Christmas movies--another example of 'the market'. I hate to use that term but it's true. Sadly, the chick flick movies seem to leave out the reason for the season. But what an excellent time of the year to get CBA books into the hands of ABA readers!

  22. Julie Hilton Steele aka BIRTHDAY GIRL!!!!

    Thank you for buying His Mistletoe Family!!!! Aw, you make me smile all the time. I'm so glad we found each other here on the world wide web.

    Is anyone else sweeping cobwebs this weekend? I'm short... I forget that tall folks have a different vantage point.

    They should come to the door, request a broom or Swiffer, and sweep the cobwebs for me, I think. They're clearly taller and more capable.

    Short people have ingrained challenges, I've discovered. Hey, custard kuchen just arrived, with crumb topping... Oh my stars, color me happy!!!

  23. Jenny That first holiday season is so difficult when you've suffered a loss. God bless you now and on every day of 2013 as you march forward, determined. You bless so many people with your optimism... and your funny "down under" stories! And I still must mention how much I love your Christmas "village"!!! You rock!

  24. Cindy, thank you!!! And your name's in the cat dish, dear girl! Now go forth and be merry...



    Karen! Back at ya'! With or without snow we shall be blessed by a babe in a manger.... The first "noel"...

  25. Deb Marvin, what a great point you made.

    So many of the movies are beyond 'thin' for the true meaning of Christmas.

    There was one on the Hallmark Channel that was a total Ruthy-type story, though. The name of it was "A Christmas Wish" and it was the story of a single mom who rolls into town on really bad wheels and the town embraces her one by one... hardships are a part of life, but her little daughter kept telling her to pray... that God hears all prayers... and eventually the mother hits rock bottom emotionally and prays.

    The entire movie had a beautifully stated Christian thread and I just loved it.

    I see it's on again at 8:00 on Monday, 12/17.... Yes, it's a feel-good story, but I could totally empathize with this woman's story and her struggles. Nicely done... And Ed Herrman (Gilmore Girls) plays the town's irascible old goat and does it SO WELL!!!!

  26. ruthy my niece has picked out her own house yesterday. im sticking with the blue church.

    i am sure 2013 will be better. just need to heal the wrist and will be good.its actually not as painful tonight think the pain stuff has kicked in.
    today while walking I decided instead of thinking it could take 6 months for the wrist to heal I am looking at it as I am 2 weeks closer to the wrist being healed. each day is a day closer to it being healed. I am determinded to show it will be much better in less than 6 months.

  27. I love Christmas stories, Ruthy!

    Merry Christmas!!


  28. Jenny, that's the perfect attitude to have! One day at a time. And healing joints takes a while... We're here for you!

    Holly Jacobs!!! Merry Christmas to you my delightful friend! Hey, have one of these little carrot cakes, they're so delicious! :) Thanks for stoppin' by today!

  29. I've ALWAYS enjoyed Christmas stories, ever since my Mom read Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" to me when I was a youngster. And FINALLY the timing has worked out that I'm contracted to release a Christmas story for Canyon Springs in 2014!! YAY!

    Wish I got the Hallmark Channel!

    I LOVED "His Mistletoe Family," Ruthy!

  30. Good morning, Seekerville! This is my last stop before I close things down for the holidays, but I wanted to see you all first. One thing to add: Christmas stories are FUN! Reading them and writing them. With all the built-in story lines Ruthy mentioned, you can take your pick of meaningful ideas. But don't forget the fun of being on vacation together, sledding, great music, family traditions, and of course the food! All those things bring up Christmas memories that make holiday tales some of the best, most enduring stories out there.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

  31. Good morning all. Must run to work, but wanted to pop in to say I LOVE reading Christmas books - any time of year actually. :)

    And Ruthy, TSO's Christmas Canon is one of my favorite pieces of music to write to.

    Au revoir, Seeker mates. The kiddies await.

  32. Hi Ruthy,
    I love Christmas stories too.
    I think anything that points to Jesus in a positive light is good.

    My daughter-in-law is expecting Dec. 28, so my family is a little extra excited about Christmas this year.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Jackie L.

  33. I want to win, Ruthy! Such great books! Must get Virginia's and Mia's. I already have yours. :)

    You're making me want to write a Christmas story. Maybe after I send THE SOLDIER'S SISTER off to New York--just got the title from the editors for my Sept book.

    Then again, I may just relax with one of the books you mentioned!

    Toasting you with coffee this morning. Christmas is in the air!

  34. Glynna, I love that series so much. I can't wait to read a Christmas release from you! SUHWEET!!!! And I'm (I hate admitting this, I'm so behind on my reading and hoping January/February will fix that) I can't wait to catch up... I have one of Julies, yours, Mia's, Virginia's, and one of Mary's I'm behind on.

    I can't wait to play catch up!

  35. What a wonderful, inspiring, heart-warming post, Ruthie! And what great insight into what's at the heart of a good Christmas story. You're putting me in the Christmas-writing spirit.....

    I'm with GLYNNA on wishing I had the Hallmark channel, because I'm really in the mood!!! :( But since I don't get Hallmark, please enter me in the book giveaway. That will make me feel better. ;)

  36. Emily here again.....
    I forgot to leave my info:

  37. Morning Ruthy, Great and inspiring post. I agree that Christmas is a great opportunity to share the things we love. I always give books away as gifts. Great way to support our business and pass good books along.

    All these Seeker Christmas books are going into someone's stocking. smile

    Loved the movie "A Christmas Wish". Very touching.

  38. Uh-oh ... I have a confession to make and it's not very pretty ... until the Seeker Christmas books, I had NEVER, EVER read a Christmas book before ... (ducking here).

    Not sure why before I became an author, but after I think it was because my TBR list was always so tall that by the time I got to Christmas books, Christmas was over and somehow, it just didn't seem right.

    Not that I don't love Christmas, because I do and the proof is that I have a Christmas scene in almost every book I've written, and they're some of my favorites to write and to read.

    But ... in my defense, I have seen just about every Christmas movie made to man except one -- THE No. 1 Christmas movie of all time -- A Christmas Story. For some reason, NEVER wanted to see it, I think because I saw the scene where the kid's tongue sticks to the frozen pole, and that killed it for me.

    However, yesterday I glued black fringe on a lampshade for my daughter who was going to her company Christmas party dressed as the lamp in the window in A Christmas Story, complete with fishnet stockings and she won 2nd place. :) Now I feel like I need to see this movie, so Keith and I have it on our movie agenda along with all the Hallmark movies and White Christmas. :)

    Hopefully that redeems me from Scrooge-dom??


  39. VINCE SAID: "Now I would enjoy a passionate Christmas story. “A Yuletide Most Passionate."

    LOL, Vince, you're my kind of guy!! But believe it or not, I agree with Ruthy on this point -- romantic passion should play second fiddle to the true message and meaning of Christmas, which is why A Light in the Window is VERY toned down romantically from all my other books. A Christmas story just needs to be sweet and simple rather than passionate and complicated, so that's what I did. However, as toned down as the romance was in this book, my hubby made me tone it down even more in the epilogue, where I was able to infuse some Julie Lessman passion because the hero and heroine are married.

    "But I waited an entire book to get these two together," I argued with him, all but groaning at the fact that he wanted me to rip apart one of the best love scenes I've written. "Julie!" he says emphatically, a bit of edge to his tone, "It's the sweetest, best story you've written and my favorite of all your books, then you have to go ruin it with a bedroom scene." Sigh. So I toned it down and made it a tickle fight instead with sweeter passion and now my hubby is happy and has more in common with my editor than I ever believed possible ... :) And in the end? Both just as right. :)

    I cannot tell you just how utterly cool it is that part of Ruthy's giveaway today is Mary Virginia Munoz Carmichael's Christmas book -- TOTALLY AWESOME!!!


  40. JULIE -- we all know why you didn't have time to read Christmas books. You were too busy reading GONE WITH THE WIND for the 10-millionth time!!! 'Fess up! :)

  41. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and it’s not because of the present I will get, but I love getting together with my family and knowing that God has allowed us to see another beautiful Christmas. I love that we can come together and celebrate our Savior’s birth, because He is the ultimate Christmas gift.

  42. Good morning, everyone! I finally made it by during the day. (life has been crazy this week)

    Ruthy, I LOVE Christmas stories, too. I had one a few years ago, A Forever Christmas, and had so much fun writing it. I find myself leaning toward that setting.

    And guess what I just started yesterday?! Season of Joy!! :)

  43. Helen, those are the best kind! If they move us, then they'll move readers. :)

  44. Jenny, hang in there. This first Christmas will be tough for you. I'll be thinking of you.

  45. I love Christmas stories because they come at the end of the year and lighten the load of a year's worth of darkness. :)

  46. Christmas stories are always fun! When we saw TSO last month, they played the song you mentioned. My kids cried through it. :)And I absolutely LOVED the HEA of the song. :)

    It's also our family tradition to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. :) We watched last weekend, and the songs are still flitting through my head.

    You bring up good points about Christmas stories. Even with the tension, the darkness, they need hope in them. That promise of hope and, for me the awareness of Jesus' gift for us, make for the best Christmas stories.

  47. Merry Christmas Seekerville, love the post today Ruth, you do have a way with words and I for one would love to be in the sandbox with ya, picking your brain and learning more about you....
    Vince a romantic among all these women-he needs to be huh?
    I have lived a long time and seen so many changes over the years and Christmas is one of them, today much too commercial and folks trying to remove all of the Nativity scenes and symbols that we look to with Jesus in mind. Minorities seem to change so much and I am wondering why this happens when there are so many that believe differently.
    God be with us and he is too -all we have to do is accept God's Grace.

    Paula O (wanting some of those Christmas books)

  48. Sigh. Love Christmas, Christmas stories, Christmas music, Christmas baking, Christmas decorating, Christmas giving....

    There's something so sweet about the hope surrounding this wonderful holiday. Anticipation of redemption fulfilled at Easter....

    And I think of Christmas stories as more sharing Christmas than selling it. Instead of a quick "Merry Christmas" to the random person on the street, a Christmas story gives the reader memories that last. It's a giant Christmas card to the world :)

    Throw my name in that cat dish, Ruthy! I've read your book and Virginia's, and just finished Mia's last night, but I have a list of people to share them with!

  49. Mia, you're so right. Holiday traditions just kind of naturally wrap themselves around a Christmas story...

    I still love "Shadow Jesus" from Yuletide Hearts...

    And when Haley realized that she'd used her meager decorations on her business and hadn't put up anything for the two little boys in her care... with time racing by.

    I love traditions!

  50. Mia, you're so right. Holiday traditions just kind of naturally wrap themselves around a Christmas story...

    I still love "Shadow Jesus" from Yuletide Hearts...

    And when Haley realized that she'd used her meager decorations on her business and hadn't put up anything for the two little boys in her care... with time racing by.

    I love traditions!

  51. Mary Curry, yes, a TSO groupie!!! I wonder if it's the New Yorker in us????

    But no, they sell millions and millions of cd's and tickets. I have promised myself to go to the new show next fall... "The Lost Christmas Eve"... Like Julie yesterday, the influence of music on my emotions, vision and writing amazes me. I remind myself that if someone can grasp my heart in 16 or 20 bars of music, I should be able to create a love story in 60,000 words! :)

  52. Jackie, the joy of a Christmas baby!!! Oh, I'm so happy for you! Whenever this baby comes, you be sure and let us know vitals, okay?

    Baby name... we love great names! Weight... How he or she looks like me...


    Congratulations and merry Christmas, dear girl!

  53. Hi Ruthy,
    Such a thoughtful post. I received one of those unexpected gifts last night - the opening of a new book came to me in a dream. I didn't even know I was writing a new story, since I'm up to my eyeballs in WIP. And now, after reading your post, I realized it might be the seed for a Christmas book! Wow. God is amazing. Thanks, Ruthy, for breaking down the details for us. It's a pleasure reading your books!

  54. Hi Ruthy I've struggled with depression,ocd,and social anxiety since I was 11.I feel very lonely.I'm going to try and have a hopeful heart that things will get better.I really liked your post!

    Katie N.


  55. i love reading your posts here on Seekerville. Enjoying the Trans-Siberian as well. Merry Christmas Ruth


  56. PAULA what are you thinking? You do not want to be in the sandbox with Ruthy.

    Okay, okay, she might knock down your sandcastle but then she comes over and wraps her arms around you with a big hug and tells you she loves you. Then she gives you great suggestions on how to rebuild that castle.

    Can you tell I'm speaking from experience? LOL

  57. I've never written a Christmas story, Ruthy, but I am sure I will some day. I bet you write the best ones of all!

    My favorite Christmas movie is It's a Wonderful Life. I love that story!!! No babies, but George Bailey had a bunch of kids! Who can forget Zuzu and her petals?

  58. Hi Ruth:


    No, you must never get old because that would make me ancient. I prefer to get more experienced and wiser and leave to the aging to wine.


  59. Deb, I can't wait to read The Soldier's Sister... I loved The Colonel's Daughter. You handled the guilt and regret with such grace and understanding that I felt the pain of mother and daughter palpably. Simply beautiful, Deb.

    And I'd love to see your take on a Christmas story, military style. Your military experience and connections add a depth of realism to your military investigations series that makes them spring to life. I love that, it's a totally "organic" thread thay you weave.

    Hey, I'm trying brownie-cake-balls today. A new experiment... I cannot imagine they'd be BAD, right? And the consistency of the home-made Baker's Chocolate brownie is wonderful...

    We'll see how this shakes down!

  60. Emily, you're in the cat dish! And I spilled some sugary chocolate from the brownie mix on your name tag, so it's STICKY... Surely that helps the odds, right???


    You know what I love about the Hallmark Channel? That it's not afraid to have inspirational movies with a clear message of faith from historicals to contemporaries... that just makes me smile!

    What a lovely switch from the less-than-wholesome things on so many channels.

    I like wholesome. I like Americana. But I love Downton Abbey too, and that's just Brit fun!

  61. Hi Julie:

    Please tell your husband that, “Passion is not sex. It is the amperage of love.” (Guys will understand this.) I’m not sure he is always a good influence.

    Passion could provide the motivation that drives two cold Scrooge-like people to break out of their self-imposed prisons and, like many lovers, makes them want to share this new wonderful experience with those around them.

    My hero and heroine at first condemn passion as nature’s trick to beguile otherwise sensible people into entering unsuitable relationships. Yet romantic passion sneaks up on them, and while they fight it every kiss of the way, they are overcome by love and thus they discover what it is to lead a fully human, fully alive, passionate life. This changes their behavior as they gladly now express the true Christmas spirit with their many acts of kindness.

    Without the passion there was never the power to break out of their shells. This passion was a gift from God.

    Passion is good. It is sin that’s bad.

    I’ll just have to write this novella myself, test it through a series of contests, and then publish it on Kindle. I will then lean if the sky falls down on me.


    P.S. I was reading “A Light in the Window” again last night and Marcy was telling hero(2) that her goal in life was to marry and have lots of babies. It’s a good thing this is happening in the 1890’s. She didn’t know that saying this was politically incorrect. Marcy is so honest it’s scary. I will not hurry reading this book. Every day ends with a treat.

  62. Jules, I'm OVER-THE-TOP loving your daughter's costume!!! Oh what fun! That's just delightful and whacky!

    My confession: I hate "The Christmas Story"... I thought it was stupid and after my kids watched it years ago, I've made sure to be really busy in the kitchen. Look at that, Toots: You and me on the same page with that movie!!! Does that earn me forgiveness for not loving GWTW??? (the correct answer at Christmas is "Yes, Ruthy, you are forgiven for your outspoken and dull ways!!!" :)

    But I love that your kid did that. And that you glued the fringe. I'd be all over helping with that costume, Jules!

  63. Hi Ruth:

    While I enjoyed reading “Yuletide Hearts” somewhat more than “His Mistletoe Family”, I would rather have written “His Mistletoe Family” because it shows such great skill. I never have cared more about so many characters so quickly and deeply as I have in that book. I think in daring originality it ranks right up there with your “Winter’s End”. I found reading “His Mistletoe Family” a genuine learning experience. It’s an important book for other writers to read.


    P.S. Another great Christmas book for writers to read is “Yule Die” by Debby. I have not read a more perfect example of a novella than this book. It is my model.

  64. Hi Virginia:

    I love Sarah McLachlan. I always thought Enya, without her special effects, would sound like Sarah. It didn’t take long for Sarah to replaced Enya in my affections.

    However, I must say this: when it comes to “What Child is This”, I have to go with Sissel. She combines the voice of an angel with a choir from heaven and a celestial harpist – all of which makes listening to her performance more of a spiritual experience than a concert attendance. You can see and hear for yourself here:


  65. I would play in the sandbox with you, Ruthy. I love Trans-Siberian Orchestra too. One of my best high school memories was performing some of their songs at a Christmas concert (I used to play flute). Don't change anything. I love your books, especially the Christmas ones. Which is funny because I don't do Christmas books. =)

  66. Ruthy, the tradition is this house is that the youngest is called 'baby' until the next one arrives.

    The passing of the torch. No one has ever balked at giving up the title. When a newborn arrives, the older kid immediately recognizes that is the BABY.

    But as I'm getting kind of old for this, the 2 eyar old just may be 'baby' into his teens.

    Or until he pays us to stop calling him that.

    Except mamas can't be bought...

  67. Lovely, Ruthy! We just watched a very good Christmas Hallmark movie called The Christmas Heart. While it wasn't really a Christ-based story, it was definitely about faith and keeping hope alive. Very, very touching.

    All this talk about Christmas stories is making me antsy to write another one!

  68. VINCE-

    I loved the link, but this song is so much a lullaby to me, I need an a cappella version. Just a mama singing to her baby Jesus.

  69. JULIE- I love that your husband reads your books and I LOVE that he gave you advice.


  70. Julie sez the romance factor in ALITW is toned down????

    That tells me it's been WAY too long since I've read a Julie Lessman novel!

  71. I just find it so funny that i can HEAR RUTHY TALKING while I read her posts. They are just so YOU, Ruthy.

    I love Christmas stories.

    I love that moment when Linus reads Luke 2 to explain to Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas.

    I love it when the Grinch's efforts to stop Christmas from coming fail and his heart grows three sizes.

    I love it when George Bailey's friends all pour in and toss a handful of small bills in to save George and suddenly frustrated failure George realizes he's lived a WONDERFUL LIFE!

    I've written three Christmas stories now and I always end up feeling like I didn't fully capture what I wanted to in the books. doing a Christmas story really well is just one of those impossible dreams I think, because you could always have done it better.

  72. Loving this post Ruthie. I have always loved Christmas stories and actually have two percalating in the depths of my creative side of my brain.

    I've been meaning to purchase the Christmas books you listed in the post - except my Kindle has gone missing. This is not a good thing since I was planning on using it as an entertainment package for my 3 year old boy on our plane trip to Colorado for Christmas (visiting my family there). *heavy sigh*

    i'd love my name to be thrown into the cat dish for your giveaway. i clicked the link for TSO (love them, btw) and cried through the story. thanks for sharing.

    again, I LOVE Christmas stories, films and songs. (go muppets!)

    Merry Christmas all. Can't say that too many times during this season (I refuse to merely say happy holidays...bleah. it has to be CHRISTmas)

  73. Blogger isn't liking me today...:(

    Julie, that is the neatest idea. Did you get pictures? I'm surprised she didn't take first, what/who did?

  74. Julie, I can't wait to read that book... You had me at hello, LOL!

    And I've always loved Christmas books and stories, so I think I was born pre-programmed to make miracles happen at Christmas. That makes me kind of dorky.

    But in a nice way, most of the time. And I've gotta agree with Glynna, I think GWTW took precedence... And since it was an excellent, marvelous book even I can't fault you for that!

  75. Deborah Dunson, that's about the most beautiful explanation and expression of Christmas I've seen... I may steal it...


    No doubt Connealy will. Sigh... she's a sneaky little Midwestern thing, you know.

    Hey, did you try the pastry table? I just refreshed the cream puffs. So good!!!!

  76. Missy, I loved A Forever Christmas! What a charming story....

    I still smile, remembering that hero... Greg and his boys... and the Christmas pageant.


    Misty.... what a beautiful way of looking at the gift of Christmas timing. You're so right, it comes at a time when we're ready to move beyond regret and begin anew, washed in the spirit of giving and faith.

    I'm smiling at how beautifully you put that.

  77. Jeanne, lifting my cup of eggnog to you! We are sympatico!!! :)

    And I love your kids from afar. That they got that whole message of pain and regret in that song.

    You have some pretty awesome kids, there!

  78. Paula, you can come to my sandbox anytime! :) I will most likely annoy you, so come prepared.

    If you bring chocolate I am less annoying. So they say. ;)

    Huge thank yous for your sincere words. It's odd that we let the dissent of a few guide the path of the many....

    But I think we can fix that, together. Voting. Talking. Maybe even occasionally shushing the naysayers.

    I think we tend to feel small... compared to big civil liberty groups. But we're not small, we're mighty and courageous and faithful and kind.

    (Those are my goals, to improve in all of those areas.)

    Thanks for a thoughtful "take" so delightfully written. And you're in the cat dish!

  79. Jan Drexler, you're in! And thank you for reading them... you're such a stinkin' sweetie... but they would make a nice group of gifts, right????


    Lyndee, isn't that amazing how things come together? It's as if parts sift into the right place of your brain at the right time. Snips of scripture, family situations, neighbors, town news, WONDERFUL BLOG POSTS!!!! :)

    That rocks! I love that you're thinking of leaning to Christmas with this story. Sweet!

  80. Katie, your words touched my heart so much. It's hard to deal with the onslaught of rough emotions, especially from puberty on. Adolescence and puberty is such a rough, searing time for so many.

    How old are you now? And not only will I pray for you and your continued good outlook, I firmly believe that you'll be blessed by God with warmth and optimism....

    One way I do that is to surround myself with strong, uplifting people. That helps me to remember that God wants his people happy. Joyous. Cared for. I think that's why I love happily-ever-after stories because I love to believe that redemption and joy tread on the heels of sadness.

    I'm so glad you came by today and I hope you come back often. We'll smile at you and feed you really good calorie-free virtual food.


  81. Marianne, right back at you! And glad you are a fellow TSO lover!

    Merry Christmas!


  82. Wonderful post. I enjoy Christmas stories and watch many of the Hallmark ones well into the new year. In a scene from my novel the H/H become engaged on Christmas Eve. I wrote it at Christmas and had a lot of fun with that one.

    Ruthy, reading your suggestions gave me further ideas for a short story I've been working on and plan to submit in time for next Christmas. Thank you. Blessed Christmas.

  83. Wonderful post. I enjoy Christmas stories and watch many of the Hallmark ones well into the new year. In a scene from my novel the H/H become engaged on Christmas Eve. I wrote it at Christmas and had a lot of fun with that one.

    Ruthy, reading your suggestions gave me further ideas for a short story I've been working on and plan to submit in time for next Christmas. Thank you. Blessed Christmas.

  84. Sandra, spew alert, LOL!

    Yes, I've knocked down a FEW sandcastles in my time... Maybe more than a few. Clearly they were NOT UP TO STANDARD.


    Oh, that's too funny. Do you think we warn people about me often enough? Teeeeena???? SHOULD THERE BE A DISCLAIMER ON THE BLOG?????


    MELANIE I went to the Bedford Falls festival last weekend with Deb Marvin... what a fun time, what a beautiful town. Seneca Falls believes it's the basis for "Bedford Falls" and I can't argue the point. So many lovely coincidences, that if Frank Capra was looking for a Bedford Falls, he'd find it in Central New York. Just lovely!

    As a fellow It's a Wonderful Life Lover, you are more than welcome here!

  85. Vince, LOL! Okay, we'll consider me the youngster of the two of us... Which is kind of fun and silly, right????? :)

    And you're making me anxious to read A Light in the Window....

    Marcy's a peach, isn't she?

  86. I love Christmas stories and am looking forward to reading yours, Ruthy.

  87. I love Christmas stories too!!! And I hope you make it a tradition to publish one every year, Ruthy! Love Inspired did such a great job with their Christmas books this season. I've been Christmas reading since October. Nothing like getting into the spirit early!

    Reading Mary's Candlelight Christmas right now. And I've read the others in your giveaway package so don't enter me. Just wanted to pop in and say Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing your gift of writing with us!

  88. DEBH I once lost my Kindle in my house for WEEKS.
    They're so slim if you set them on top of a book (for example) and then put another book down on top of the, they just vanish. That's where I finally found mine, in a stack of books.

    And they are DARK so if they're stuck in a corner somewhere they look like a shadow.

    It drove me crazy because I'd purchased a book and it was like SOMEWHERE LOST IN MY HOUSE IS THIS WHOLE LIBRARY!!!!!!
    (which is a sort of EERIE feeling, like it's a GHOST library)


    SOMEWHERE LOST IN MY HOUSE IS THIS BOOK I WANT TO READ!!!!!!!! but it is the size of a piece of cardboard...or ... oh forget it. I know they're easy to lose.

    Good luck.
    They need a beeper like the hand set on a cell phone.
    Maybe instead of a charger cord they could have a little charging station that would have a beeper button.
    I'll email Amazon immediately and suggest it. Maybe they'll call it a CONNEALY STATION.

    That might sell books.


  89. BTW, the UPS man yesterday brought me CURRENT OF LOVE by our own SANDRA LEESMITH.
    I had it pre-ordered and it's HERE!!! YAY!!!!!!!!

  90. I love reading Christmas stories, we put them in a box to pull out every Chrsitmas. And we add to them every year. They can be inspiring in such a great way.

    The Trans Siberian is a favorite of ours too, we play it year round in our house.

    Thanks, Ruth, for such a great post!


    “White Christmas” is playing at our full screen AMC theater here in Tulsa. It may be playing at a multi-screen theater near you. I’ve never seen this movie in a theater. I hope to make it while it’s here. A lot of old movies are being released to theaters since there are so many screens available in some theaters. Good luck.

  92. Hey Ruthy,

    A great column today! You have done one of the hardest things possible in writing a story centered around a holiday. Great job! No cat dish for me--Harlequin has put up all these codes and discounts and I've been having a Merry Christmas buying books!


  93. Thanks for the good wishes. I decided yesterday I am going to buy a plum pudding for Christmas! Had my last christmas meal with the carers yesterday (free) I dont do pumpkin soup and from the sounds didn't miss alot. the main course roast beef or pork. went Beef and had trees (broccoli) beans and a large roast potato. Well I dont eat trees. the potato was not that nice and well the meat was tough, I almost needed someone to cut it for me it was so hard to cut and my wrist didn't want to cut it. But then desert. Pavlova with strawberries or Plum pudding with custard. So I had Plum pudding minus the custard. And it was so yummy. As kids we use to eat it for the money in it but always said we didn't really like it. I was deluded I do like it. It is so yummy so I am going to buy one for Christmas. and add Icecream to it.

    I have loved Christmas books for so long I long for the barbour christmas novellas. Its just this year they seem to have a theme some do anyway make Jenny Cry!
    But then its a sign of a good author to bring out the emotions of a reader right.
    I have christmas dvds but cant quite get into the mood to watch them.

    Do people really string popcorn and cranberries and put them on the tree and how do they keep on a tree?

  94. I have to admit that I love a good Christmas story as well (and I would say even if my only sale wasnt' a Christmas novella). However, passion in a Christmas story can be described as being there for the person you love, no matter the cost to you.

    (Admittedly, my favorite Christmas story is not a romance, but I do love the Alistair Sim version of Scrooge. I also love the slightly romantic version of Scrooged, with Bill Murray.)

  95. White Christmas is my all-time favorite Christmas movie, Vince! We now own the DVD and watch it every year sometime during the holidays.

    Our little granddaughter loves it, too. When she was only 3 years old or so, she could sing almost every song by memory. I'll never forget taking all the kids and grandkids to Bass Pro one year, and while the guys went around looking at hunting stuff, we sat in the Starbucks and watched our little "actress" perform "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" while twirling across the bridge over the indoor pond. So cute!!!!

  96. Vince, I love Enya, Sarah and TSO....

    An eclectic mix of talent! And I'm a big Michael W. Smith fan...

    And Lady Antebellum. ;)

    I think your views on Yuletide Hearts and His Mistletoe Family are so stinkin' interesting and I'll tell you why...

    Books talk to the heart and soul, just like a song. Some talk louder than others but they're versatile... I got an e-mail on His Mistletoe Family that said the woman really disliked the May-December aspects of the romance, that a good man like Brett would have found someone more appropriate.

    And then another reader said she loved the balance of the age difference, that each person fulfilled the destiny and hope of the other and that's what made the story special to her.

    So same story, two different readers and very different points of view. I think that's what makes finaling in a contest a coupe.... because it's so rare to find 4 or 5 people who are touched by any one work in the same manner. The plus side of that is I take finals (and non-finals, LOL!) with an easy nod because it could so easily go the other way.

    You write the Christmas Passion story and I'll delight in reading it!

  97. Virginia, I'm laughing at you....

    Just because.

    Our tradition was that if anyone called Luke "the baby" I smacked 'em... or came close. And there were good reasons... I knew too many "baby's" of the family who grew up to be needy, enabled brats. So I decided that wouldn't happen to Luke... We knew he was going to be our last and I had that Fierce Mother stance going! Anyway, we didn't call him baby, he's a delight and smart and successful (and 6' 3" and 190 lbs. so he dwarfs Dave and me) and he called this week to say he was at a resort (via his job) where they were supposed to get in touch with themselves and others... and he said he was doing a talk on how his parents' work ethic pushed him to be the man he is today.

    How stinkin' sweet is that????

    So you get to call your least un' whatever you want... I won't pester you... MUCH... but you know I'm right, you understand the depth of my SERIOUSNESS of crazy motherhood, so therefore you'll probably throw darts at my picture, OR have another baby and therefore spare that absolutely adorable little fellow, OR you'll stop using it and NEVER GIVE ME CREDIT FOR SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE.

    Sigh.... :)

  98. Nancy, did I tell you how much I loved your Christmas card??? Probably not because I'm a dolt, but I loved it... So stinkin' lovely.... I'm smiling, looking at it, hanging in the doorway.

    And I won't change a thing I do because Nancy likes me just the way I am. Love you back, kiddo!!!! :)

    Myra!!! I saw that one! (they repeat them haphazardly throughout the season...) I saw the last 35 minutes, anyway, and the illuminaries.... what a sweet movie.

    I do believe it was the fastest transplant surgery in the history of medicine, but yes, a lovely tale of families rent apart by tragedy... and brought back together.

    And I loved that pilot!!!!

  99. Ah, Vince.

    Her voice is lovely.

    Just lovely. Thank you for sharing that.

  100. Yep, the plot wasn't entirely believable, but then Christmas movies are entitled to stretch things a bit.

    And I cracked up over that doctor's expressions in the backseat of the plane as they bounced along through the storm clouds! I just knew any minute she was going to pull out a barf bag!

  101. Virginia, isn't that sweet about Keith Lessman?

    I think I'm green-eyed. Dave would be like wide-eyed if I made him read anything bigger than the royalty check...

    But he does cut firewood for me, so he must like me A LITTLE.

    I suppose I should be comforted that he's not reading anything... Although with my love of reading that's always a surprise!

    But we both love baseball.


  102. Seekerville has been a busy place today.

    Vince, sending fudge and pumpkin pie for your kind mention of YULE DIE, featured in Christmas Peril. I did have fun writing the novella and loved working with Margaret Daley in the two-for-one!


  103. Myra, does that mean that Julie's "toned down" isn't exactly the same as mine?



    But I bet it's charming and lovely to beat the band.

    Oops. A cliche. Dadgum!!!

  104. Mary Connealy there is so much truth in what you say.

    That makes me mad.


    But you're right, absolutely right, there's so often a hint of lack in the story that should be there. It's a God-hole....

    Let's eat more cookies. That's got to make us feel better!!!!

  105. Deb H, I'm adding your name (pushing the cat aside, she's looking suspiciously at the dish of paper as if she should be here, eyeing the food bag when there are RATS TO KILL....)

    Really, Cat???? REALLY????

    Anyway, I digress, you're in and I hear you 100%! I love Christmas stories too and I want you to find your Kindle. I have a cheap DVD player... Hey, it works, and that's all I need when I'm traveling with least un's! :)

  106. Oops, Deb, I meant I could SEND you the cheap DVD player... and that way you can comatose the kid for the trip.

    Duh on me.

  107. Jamie Adams, thank you!!!! Hey, Connealy left a crust of ancient mincemeat pie for folks to share.


    Scrooge MacConnealy.

    Sigh. ;)

    And Kav, thank you so much! I agree, didn't LI do an amazing job of Christmas front-loading this year!

    Hallelujah! :) I'm so glad you've enjoyed them. That just delights us!

  108. Deb, I've often wondered why they don't equip devices with beeps like the phone... So you can press a device to find a device.

    Stuff disappears around here big time, it's quite ridiculous, and then when it turns up it's usually ME that put it there.

    This does not bode well for my future, you get that, right?


  109. Oh if you want to learn about Christmas and Sandra Lee Smith just pop over to my blog (shameless plug here)

    She is on my blog today.

    Oh I got excited my SIL asked what I wanted for Christmas on the Sunday and I sent a link to something well It arrived on Wed. its under tree waiting for Christmas. Couldn't believe how fast it came (of course it was one of the few deliveries I got this week)

  110. Hi Ruth:

    You can write the most beautiful music ever written and yet it will still depend on the musicians who play it to determines how well it will sound. The writer is the record and the reader is the record player.

    You wrote:

    “I got an e-mail on His Mistletoe Family that said the woman really disliked the May-December aspects of the romance, that a good man like Brett would have found someone more appropriate.”

    The heroine, Haley, is probably the most appropriate person in the entire world for Brett. I think a better marriage fit would be almost impossible to find. Both can be the right person for the other. Being the right person is more important than finding the right person.

    I have no doubt that Haley and Brett will stay happy with each other for the rest of their lives. I just finished an otherwise wonderful romance except for the fact that I only give the couple a fifty percent chance of staying married.

    I think an important part of the HEA is found in building a foundation that makes lasting happiness a likelihood. But then, who knows? Sometimes you write a story with a terrible ex-wife who did x, y, and z and you get a reader who actually is a terrible ex-wife who did x, y, and z and you can just forget her ever liking your book. I think in this case those books get 1’s -- no matter how well they are written.

    BTW, at my age, Haley and Brett have a May-July romance. : )


    P.S. Actually, I wrote this post to say that when it comes to Christmas music, my all time favorite is Mannheim Steamroller – which I think you probably also like. (They seem very New York, to me). If you love female figure skating as much as I do, I think you’ll love this version of “What Child is This” with David Archuleta doing the singing and one beautiful skater doing the skating.

  111. Mary & Ruth & Items Lost

    You just hit on it! A talking ‘clapper’. You just clap your hands that the little speaker attached to the lost item says: “I’m over here you absent minded idiot.” Not only will it help you find lost items, it will also act as a kind of behavior modification. : )

    BTW: Imagine having this device on ten different items? You clap your hands and you hear voices coming from all over your house. Why, you'd find things you didn’t even know were lost.

    You’ll both make millions. I’ll be happy to do the commercials.


  112. Merry Christmas Ruthy, Seekers and Seekervillagers! I really enjoy reading Christmas stories and sometime I'd like to write one. My memories of childhood Christmas are really magical. I'm hoping my grandson's will be too!

  113. Ruthy mentioning ancient mince meat pie reminded me of something.

    Today the bread I took for my lunch was Pepperidge Farm Ancient Grain.

    So weird. Ancient Grain. I expected something out of a Pharoah's tomb but it's mostly wheat and yep, that's been around a while.

  114. Hi Ruthy,thank you so much for your kind words.I'm 23 now.

    Merry Christmas to you,an everyone here at Seekerville!

    Katie N.

  115. I love Christmas stories, thank you to all the authors of Seekerville, without you where would I be? LOL


  116. I love Christmas stories...and Ruthy posts, so thank you! Your description of the Dickens classic performed by the Muppets was great (I'd forgotten Kermit has a nephew, LOL). ~ I'm also a TSO fan--Wow! Their music is powerful. ~ Thanks for sharing today, Ruthy--and Merry CHRISTmas!! Hugs, Patti Jo

  117. Pat Jeanne, join the sap club!! I'm a founding member...

    and proud of it!


    PIPER!!! Thank you for buying books, you little sweetheart, you! And yeah, weren't the deals marvelous? I love, love, love that folks can get a book in their hands for under $4.... That's just a marvelous thing in this day and age...

    It suits my frugal nature!

  118. Jenny, that does sound wonderful! I'd love it with custard or ice cream... and the cranberries and popcorn is strung on thick thread... so it just drapes on the tree like any garland. It's really pretty and natural looking. We did it every year until the kids were all into so many sports and clubs and work that I couldn't quite make the time to sit and string.

    But I love it! It's a very old-fashioned New England look.

    Vince, White Christmas is one of my favorite movies. Not as favorite as It's A Wonderful Life, but close!!! And I loved Bing in Bells of St. Mary's....

    Ah. Bing. :)

  119. Vince, I agree! Haley and Brett balanced each other. I thought it was a lovely match! And I think May-July is a fine romance, you rascal!


    We can never write one book that pleases all, so we write what we can and please some. And I'm silly enough to JUST KEEP WRITING because eventually someone will like it... and that makes me so stinkin' happy!!! :)

    Vince, no clapper. Oy. Oy. Oy.

    A button. Discreet. A silent optic message that searches out my errant devices.

    And then they can squeal to let me know where they are, LOL!

    Myra, yes, Christmas stories should get a little "miracle" latitude! I agree!

    Mary, Ancient Grain bread....

    Like new grains aren't delightful?

    Is that like an heirloom tomato?

    And vintage grapes.

    I'm not sure if we're talking current food or historical lesson planning.

  120. Katie, I'm so glad you came back!

    So 23.....

    Is it better now? I know some young folks who found it got better as they finished college... matured... got out on their own.

    I don't mean to pry, but I wonder if you discovered that too? That it's a slowly improving outlook?

    And we're always ready to play the "clown" over here... Or at least make fun of Mary Connealy. It's what I do... :) It's kind of fun, right?

  121. Wendy Newcomb, it's always a pleasure to see those little rag dolls and your sweet words!!!

    Merry Christmas!

    Patti Jo Merry Christmas to you, too!!! I love your cheerful take on things and I'm high-fiving you for the Muppet shout out and loving TSO!!!!

    Oh, and Vince, yes, I love Manheim Steamroller... Oh my stars, Chip Davis is amazing. And I first heard them about twenty-something years ago. How can it be that long ago? But it was because my sister was still living here in the north... I fell in love with their stuff. Then TSO came along and took it a step further and arranged the music to rock opera stories. And they hooked me totally.

    Like Patti Jo said, the power of the music and the lights and the voices always makes me think of how to fix things for people... how to put things right.

  122. GLYNNA SAID: "JULIE -- we all know why you didn't have time to read Christmas books. You were too busy reading GONE WITH THE WIND for the 10-millionth time!!! 'Fess up! :)"

    RATS!! Foiled again ... ;)

    VINCE SAID: "Please tell your husband that, “Passion is not sex. It is the amperage of love.” (Guys will understand this.) I’m not sure he is always a good influence.

    Oooooo, I like that Vince, and you're right, he is not always a "good influence" when it comes to the level of passion I like in a book, but then I've always been the crazy and wild one in our marriage and he's the safe, sane one who keeps me on track, so I can't really complain. ;)

    VINCE ALSO SAID: "Passion is good. It is sin that’s bad."

    IT!! :) And, YES, you should write this novella yourself and test it through a series of contests and then publish it on Kindle. Trust me, no sky will fall ...

    And, you're right -- "Marcy is so honest it’s scary." Just like the gal who conjured her up. ;)


  123. Mary and Ruth
    thanks for the notes on my missing Kindle. now i don't feel like such a dolt. i had asked my three year old if he knew where mommy's Kindle was - he'd said 'no' yesterday. today? oh yes momma - it's in mommy and daddy's room. daddy took it away from me.

    sure enough, Kindle resting on a small shelf by the bedroom door - out of reach for dear toddler and looking like a DVD video cover.

    i could really use the beeper idea for stuff around here. little child unit likes to hide things and then forget where he put them (until he wants to play with it again that is...*heh*)

    of course, he looks so proud of himself when he "finds" something for mommy. (are you happy now, momma?) he's in the "i wanna please mommy sooo much" phase. i'm soaking it in and enjoying it while it lasts.

    KINDLE FOUND, yay! my travel plans are rescued. (we do also have the small portable DVD player as well, but thank you so much Ruth for offering yours - i'm touched)

  124. Great post. I've been reading a slew of Christmas Books this year. Have a craving I guess. I've been writing some as well. Sometimes if I'm honest, I have love /hate relationship with the season. I have a copy songs that make me think. Happy Birthday, Jesus. And Dear Santa.

    Thanks for the Christmas wishes and the insight in your posts

    Tina P.

  125. WOW, RUTHY ... we are in on agreement on The Christmas Story??? WAY COOL!! And gluing the fringe was actually fun because I've always been a bit on the fringe of life anyway ... ;)

    VIRGINIA SAID: "JULIE- I love that your husband reads your books and I LOVE that he gave you advice."

    I love it too, Virginia, because he's a very creative type and comes at things from a totally different angle than me, which is good and broadens my scope. And I LOVE that he loves my books and I've even caught him watery-eyed a few times while reading ... so sweet!!

    MYRA SAID: "Julie sez the romance factor in ALITW is toned down????
    That tells me it's been WAY too long since I've read a Julie Lessman novel!"

    Uh, yeah, it is, Miss Myra and I've got reviews to prove it!! Try reading A Love Surrendered, then ALITW and the Christmas story is like pablum. :)

    CHRISTINA SAID: "Julie, that is the neatest idea. Did you get pictures? I'm surprised she didn't take first, what/who did?"

    Yes, we have pix, and they are adorable. Maybe I will post them in my Journal Jot blog tomorrow! She won a Sony Playstation, but first place was a plasma TV. That was won by the same gal who wins every year and everybody knows her and has to work with her while Amy is brand new, so not sure how much that factored in. Can't remember her costume and Amy's in bed, so can't ask her. Sigh. :|


  126. Ruthy, I'm impressed! You remembered my character name! I can't do that most of the time on my old books. :)

  127. THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL is actually my favorite Christmas movie.

    Christmas stories in general have a touch of something extra.


  128. DEB H!!!!

    LOL, I see that happen all the time. Someplace in this cavernous old house are TWO GAMES for some game system that I put away when my sons were being jerks...

    We never found them again.

    Oy. (I think it was 15 years ago, and really, I've cleaned once or twice since then. They're in something. I just don't remember what, LOL!)

    And the "take away"... Yup, that happens around here, too.

    My little goddaughter (2) lost Mommy's ring....

    Her wedding ring.

    She was playing with it because Mommy was making meatballs or something like that. Took them off and set them on the counter.

    When you ask the toddler, she smiles and tells you whatever she thinks you want to hear.

    And it's been months.



  129. Tina, I find reading them and watching TV movies and Christmas movies helps me get the mindset, but not as much as playing spiritual music. Breath of Heaven... What Child is This/Child of the Poor... Joseph's Song... Peace on Earth Good Will to Men... Mary, Did You Know... TSO

    But we all get inspired differently so you keep doing what works for you!

    Missy, that was a great book... Absolutely delightful!

  130. Mary Preston, YAY!!!! Muppet lovers of the world unite around the mice, rats, bears and the world of Dickens gone amok!


    It's utterly enchanting and makes me smile just thinking about it.

  131. I love Christmas stories! Please put my name in the cat dish! :)

    nicnac63 AT hotmail DOT com

  132. Please toss my name into the cat dish. I hope it's a really big bowl!

    My favorites were the Claymation Christmas and The Muppet Family Christmas Show. Twenty+ years later, we still sing "ba-dooby-doo" in "We Three Kings" and yell, "Watch out for the icy patch!"

    My house sits on a 385 acre farm, so the occasional mouse or bat invites himself in. That's life!

    Merry Christmas!

  133. I love the cranberry & popcorn garland on my tree as well!Love to win a book too!

  134. People love reading Christian fiction at Christmastime. I always look forward to at least one or two really good Christmas novels or novellas. Blessings!