Thursday, September 14, 2017

Are Christmas-themed Novels Worth Your Time? This Author Says "YES!"

I love Christmas. 



One of our Living Nativity pics with sweet pre-schoolers... Oh my heart!
I love the preparation, the beautiful winter season here in Western New York, the calm, the quiet, the long dark nights, lit with a community wide twinkle-fest, joining in the celebration of Christ's birth. Advent is a true season to me, to my church, to my faith community. It's not just a song fest (although who doesn't love non-stop Christmas music????)

(Straight No Chaser's "Twelve Days of Christmas" from 1998)



In England, the Twelve Days of Christmas are renowned. They begin on Christmas and end on January 6th, Twelfth Night or the Feast of the Epiphany. The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is based on those twelve nights, a fact lots of today's kids don't know!

In America, Thanksgiving unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas season... but lately the Christmas decorations are in full swing by late September, and take center stage as soon as Halloween is kicked to the curb.



What does this mean to us as authors? Does it pay to write a book that is so specifically designated to a particular holiday?

Absolutely.

And I say that for good reason. A lot of good reasons, in fact. I have a current Grace Haven Christmas-themed book releasing in four weeks:

Due on shelves 10/17/17!!!!



And look what's coming out from Harlequin's popular Reader's Service in October! I'm coupled with Jillian Hart in a Classic Christmas collection... or you can buy my highest selling book of all time... "His Mistletoe Family"... on its own!


This is the cover from Jillian's original book....

This is the newly redesigned cover of "His Mistletoe Family"..... Love it!

AND... The amazingly talented people of Harlequin's art team re-designed this cover... they must have gone back to my original facts on my Art Fact Sheet, the design sheet all authors fill out to help the art team envision your work... because the two little boys on THIS cover look like the pictures I sent! The pictures were of my grandson Dave and my little buddy Nolan Tydings, and these little fellows look like they did six years ago! Adorable! 

Raise your hand if you like the Hallmark Channel.

Are you a "Heartie"?

Do you love mysteries?

Do you love CHRISTMAS MOVIES????

Do you love that Hallmark now shows them All Month Long???

Hallmark discovered something that Harlequin figured out a long time ago. We love the idea of romance at Christmas.... We love the bonding, the family, the sacrifice, the holiday cheer, the drama, the longing, the loneliness, the kindness of strangers.

WE LOVE THESE THINGS, and how nice is it that we can write about all of this with a thread of faith?

Harlequin doesn't re-release these beloved Christmas stories on a whim.

They want to make money.

Writing's a business, publishing's a business, the romance we love comes to one thing and one thing only: NUMBERS.

The dollars and cents of the situation.

So yes, if you've been considering a holiday-themed book, I say do it! Go for it! Be big and brave and bold...

You can offer it for sale from September through December. You can do a Christmas in July sale. You can market it any way you want, but first you have to write it.

Go for it.

Have fun. And some tips for writing a Christmas story when it's not Christmas... Listen to Christmas music... slide a holiday movie into your line-up. Read the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2... 

This beautiful creche was in the Oakdale Mall ... How beautiful and how fun to have a Nativity scene in a mall!  Oh... Hello, boy!
Imagine being that young mother, on the road, traveling mile upon mile to obey a government edict.

I have a CD that begins with "Breath of Heaven" and goes through a dozen beautiful, heartfelt Christmas hymns and/or songs that make me THINK... and FEEL... because that's the guts of a great Christmas story. We want the reader to be immersed in all aspects while wrapped in a blanket of caring and empathy.

Think of all the famous Christmas stories/movies/themes you love. The pauper... the princess... the single mom or dad... the child buying shoes for his sick mama... Caught in an airport... caught in a skyscraper with terrorists/thieves!!!!... Babies.... sick babies.... newborn babies.... pregnant single mothers....  Abandoned babies.... Lost loves.... new loves.... Small towns.... big cities.... Leaving the big city for the small town....

There are so many tropes that go well with Christmas. Let's finish this up by sharing ideas: What Christmas tropes/plot ideas do you love most? What story would you love to write?

To celebrate the beautiful fall season, I've got copies of "The Lawman's Yuletide Baby" (NancyMae on facebook said she couldn't put it down, and I never argue with NancyMae!!!) and "Yuletide Hearts/Mended Hearts", two top-selling books from my Men of Allegany County series!  Two people will get both books... a delightfully fun package to get in the mail!

Come on in... coffee's hot and fresh and I brought chocolate dipped pumpkin spice cannolis to go with... Happy fall, everyone!

Ruthy Logan Herne loves writing sweet books with unforgettable characters, the kind of folks who live next door to all of us. With over forty published novels and novellas (and more on the way!) Ruthy is living her dream of crafting stories while baking cookies for the Blodgett Family Farm in Western New York. Friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter or swing by her website... she's always happy to see you!  




145 comments :

  1. Looks like I get to be the first to comment today. I love Christmas books and I love Hallmark Christmas movies, even if they are really corny sometimes. I have written several Christmas short stories but haven't written a book. It is something I would like to do. A lot of my story ideas are about keeping simplicity in Christmas instead of rushing around thinking you have to do it all. That is something I have to remind myself in my own life each year.

    Please put me in the drawing for the Christmas books. I plan to start reading Christmas books by the first of October because there are so many I want to read.

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    1. You're in, darling! And Sandy, my first book started as a short story... then it grew as I took the idea deeper. Those stories could be the beginning of that book, sweet thing!

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  2. Hey there Ruthy! If I stay up for just a few more minutes I can tell you GOOD MORNING!!!

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    1. Hahahah! So true! Waving from the cool overnight in Western New York my friend!!!

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  3. I love Christmas stories. Great covers. Love them. PASS THE EGGNOG.

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    1. I forgot to mention EGGNOG. My favorite!!!

      Wait. Or was it mulled wine? I forget.

      Well, either one is my favorite. I'll need a few glasses of each to be sure.

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    2. Eggnog rocks... I love the stuff. And if I pair it with great holiday foods and desserts... Oh man....

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    3. I make an Eggnog Sugar Cookie.
      KB

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  4. Hi Ruth:

    My favorite Christmas romance is “Red Kettle Christmas”… an historical romance which I believe came out before you were writing historicals. Just thought it deserved a mention. In fact, I think I am going to read it again before Christmas.

    Point: Christmas stories make good ‘keepers’.

    Warning on Pet Peeve: “Christmas” stories that do not center on Christmas but only happen with Christmas as part of the overall storyline background. These stories, when marketed as Christmas stories, can greatly aggravate a fan.

    BTW: Do you think being a Christmas song has hurt the sale of “White Christmas”?

    Vince

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    1. Vince, so many good points! My new Waterfall novel "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" comes out in November and is set during winter, but is not a Christmas novel... it's a women's fiction that just happens to be at that time of year so we're carefully not pushing it for holidays... Great point!

      Sometimes the author has absolutely no say over the marketing. I've had that happen a few times, and the author's hands are tied... of course that's a little different if you're doing an indie novel, then it's on us completely!!!!

      Bing Crosby. White Christmas. Holiday Inn. Rosemary Clooney... oh be still my heart!!!

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    2. I forgot to thank you for your sweet words about "Red Kettle Christmas"... I love that story, and I'm glad it touches your heart just the way it should because you've been to that part of New York, you understand the backdrop and the heart of the story. Thank you, Vince!!!

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  5. I absolutely love Christmas reads. They are always rather special.

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    1. Mary, they are! There's a heightened emotion of love and tolerance and sacrifice that's part of Advent, part of the holidays, and if an author taps into that, what wonderful stories they can create!!!

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  6. How is this even a question??? Lol

    I love Christmas books, movies, music, decorations, cookies, blankets, clothes, art... Imma buy it if it's about Christmas. :) I'm one of those people that would keep the tree up year-round if I could. As it is, I keep it up until Epiphany (January 6th).

    And congratulations on all your old/new releases. My Season of Joy is rereleasing Dec 1st, paired with Deb Kastner. Lucky us... lucky readers to have SO MANY Christmas books to choose from, right?

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    1. Mary Jane, I love that they're doing this! First, it's fun for my newer readers to get their hands on these books... And it's a great way for new folks to find us on the shelves. Anything that increases an author's shelf life in brick-and-mortar is a good thing.... Raising our discoverability can't hurt.

      And I leave our tree up until the 6th, too... because it's such an important part of that Bethlehem journey!

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    2. I also leave my tree up until the 6th. For one reason, I don't always get mine up as early as I want to, so I can't bear to take it down. But then it comes down sometime after the 6th whenever I can get to it!

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    3. I'm right with you Sandy. I love Christmas and all that goes with it. Sadly last Christmas we didn't get a chance to buy a 'real tree', but had 2 fake ones. We took down the one in the living room in the front of the house), but didn't get around to taking down the family room tree until months later! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ LOL

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  7. P.S.

    Ruthy, I don't want to sound like a stalker but do you know I read Yuletide Hearts like a textbook? It came out the year I started writing and I bought it after seeing you here in Seekerville. I remember being so excited to see your name in Walmart.

    Anyway, I'd already started writing and your book was so perfectly perfect, I filled a notebook picking it apart, trying to find out how you got your story to come together the way you did.

    Yuletide Hearts (on my shelf on six inches away from me) should be offered as a textbook in Love Inspired writing classes. :D

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    1. P.P.S. Side note, Yuletide Hearts sits between 'Emma' and 'Pride and Prejudice' on my shelf. LOL.

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    2. Oh my stars, what a lovely thing to say! I love that story, and I remember how hard you worked to get your name out there, Mary Jane. You set the example for so many, an example I've pointed out to others... You and Jan Drexler and Melanie Dickerson (among others) of how to keep on going... don't give up... stay the course. And the "course" doesn't have to be one brand of publishing these days, but it should always be our best work.

      Thank you for those kind words! I have my own version of "Shadow Jesus" waiting to be put up at Beth's house this November... Simple is so often good!!!! :)

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    3. Mary Jane, I do that too, pick other people's books apart. A good way to learn, especially for LI books, which have certain peaks and valleys.
      KB

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    4. Now I must get this book and try to deconstruct it myself.

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    5. Likewise! And this is the perfect time of the year for it!

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  8. I had iced tea for lunch today...two glasses, so I'm up late.

    I love everything Christmas, too! It's hard to celebrate it in the middle of the desert, but I manage to put out a Creche and some other decorations.

    A few years back I wrote a contemporary spin-off of Mary and Joseph, and her baby was born in the home her husband, Dr. Joe, surprised her with on Christmas Eve. It was only 1K, but my group liked it.

    Congratulations on your old/new releases, Ruthy. I'm going to look for them at my favorite 'gittin' places.

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Marcia, thank you! And I love the idea of your short story... Every book begins with an idea. A spark. A thought... and then it grows. But it's nice to have those sweet short stories, too!

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  9. I love everything Christmas. Christmas stories, Christmas movies, Christmas music, etc. I can never get enough. I love both Hallmark channels and love it when they do Christmas in July...I just wish they did it longer. I did DVR some of the movies this past December and July so they are readily at hand.

    I would LOVE to be entered to win a copy of The Lawman's Yuletide Baby. Thank you for the chance Ruthy!

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Cindy, I should be mailing to all my influencers this week, so yours is coming! I got the books ten days ago, my bad... I blame THE FARM, Cindy! It's all the farm's fault! :)

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  10. Great post, Ruthy! I'm ready to break out my Christmas decorations. I love all things pertaining to Christmas, particularly the Hallmark movies and the music. Your redesigned cover of "His Mistletoe Family" is fabulous! By the way, one of my favorite Christmas stories was "Red Kettle Christmas" loved it!

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    1. Oh, I forgot to thank Vince for that shout out for "Red Kettle Christmas", the story that put me on the path to historical romance!!!! I love that story... and it was because someone else had to drop a contract that I was given that opportunity.

      Of course that duo was the LAST BOOK that Summerside Press printed, which means I may have caused their demise!!!! YIKES! But what a great story that is... I hope they put it on sale for a lower price this year... and I'm thrilled that Guideposts (who bought Summerside Press books) gave me the opportunity to write fun mysteries for them... Isn't it amazing how things come around, Jill??? Oh, that Holy Spirit!!!

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    2. I also loved "Red Kettle Christmas."

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  11. I read Christmas stories year round. They are always uplifting. I can't wait fir the Hall ark movies to start and the procession of wonderful themed Christmas books . Thank you so much for a chance to read the two books offered..

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    1. Deana! I'm so glad to see you over here, sweet thing! I'm putting your name into the candy dish and I love how you take the time to review and rate books... Thank you from all of us!

      And when there's time to read, I can read a Christmas story any time of year. I love them!!!

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  12. Okie dokie, I just wrote a long comment that disappeared so I'll keep this one short. Ha! She says confidently. I'm the Scrooge of the bunch.

    Christmas is a sad time of year for many people because we've lost loved ones who made it special or they live far away. For years, I dreaded the constant playing of carols on the radio, decorating the tree with all the ornaments my mother-in-law had made, the busyness and frantic search for gifts.

    It's only in the last few years that I've regained the Christmas spirit. I even watched a few Hallmark Christmas movies last year. Plus I wrote a Christmas novella for the collection Sleigh Bells Ring that released last year. The individual novellas will be re-released this year as e-books.

    There's lots of fodder here for Christmas stories...a new love that heals a broken heart, a child that brings restoration, coming home after years of estrangement to find forgiveness.

    People need uplifting, inspirational stories at Christmas--stories of Christ's healing love and the season of miracles. Since I'm working on a novel this year, I won't be able to write a Christmas story. Next year maybe.

    If you haven't ever read MYRA JOHNSON's One Imperfect Christmas, she wrote a novel that captures your heart and exemplifies what I just said. You can find it on her website or on Amazon.

    Thanks for the coffee, Ruthy!!

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    1. Barb, "The Lawman's Yuletide Baby" is that kind of story... a man who takes his losses seriously, who can't abide Christmas or the things we all take for granted... who would willingly work non-stop throughout the holidays so he can ignore them completely.

      And then he moves in next door to a single mom with two kids including an eleven-year-old girl who loves all things Christmas... Gabe's story is so touching. He's anguished. He's angry. He's so solidly alone in a room filled with friends.

      And then life interrupts.

      You've touched on a really good reason why Christmas stories open our hearts, wallets and minds, because we've all despaired from time to time... and then hope rekindles.

      That's my favorite kind of Christmas story, too!!!

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    2. Then I definitely need to read The Lawman's Yuletide Baby!

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    3. I agree on "One Imperfect Christmas." It was a great story.

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    4. You'll love it. And I'd say that even if I hadn't written it! :)

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  13. I LOVE Christmas books & novellas! Love writing them, too. So I'm looking forward to your latest one. And congrats on the reissues!

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    1. Glynna, I just reread "The Pastor's Christmas Courtship" for inspiration for MY Christmas story!
      Kathy B.

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    2. Neat, Kathy! I had so much fun writing Garrett & Jodi's story in a Christmas setting! I really enjoyed Paris & Cody's Christmas story, too (High Country Holiday) and can hardly wait to write another holiday one!

      Will your story be book-length or novella? (I'd love to try my hand at a novella sometime.)

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    3. LI book-length. I'm paring it down now. 8,000 words over! I got it down to 7,000 last night and while I slept, God gave me a way to tighten up the end and trim a few thousand more. God is good, I could not do this without him. Or anyway, not do it well.

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    4. Kathy, I'm in full agreement, it's a blessing to have Him on hand! Amen to that... Although he still expects us to do the work. :)

      Glynna, thank you! I'm so excited to have re-issues. I'm like totally psyched to have my 20th Love Inspired hit the stands next month (Readers' Service subscribers are already reading it!!!) and in our 10th Anniversary of Seekerville month! HUZZAH!!!! :)

      I loved your holiday novels... they always make me sigh.

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    5. Kathy--So glad you found a way to cut stuff. When I started writing for LI, I ALWAYS way overshot the word count! :( Thankfully, I'm better now, which saves a bunch of time.
      Like you, though, there isn't one single book I've written that could have been written without God holding my hand all the way!

      Another trick is to search for "weasel words" - we all have pet words, useless words that we tend to repeat over & over. I can sometimes cut 500 words or more out doing a 'search' on my list of weasel words. It takes a little time, but is so worth it!

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    6. Thanks, Ruthy! I love writing the holiday stories. Enjoy tapping into family traditions and writing "super cozy" settings.

      Since I'm currently working on my next proposal, I hope to have a little time to overdose of Hallmark Christmas movies this year. Have been under deadlines for years at that time so haven't gotten to watch them in ages.

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  14. Yes, I love the Hallmark channel. Yes, I love Christmas movies and books. I've got my favorite movies I watch every year.

    Ruthy, congrats on your new Christmas story and the reissue! While looking for hurricane supplies, I was shocked to see Halloween candy for sale. I'm not sure I'm ready to think about Christmas, but since the focus is on Jesus, what better season to think about?

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Jackie, the minute back-to-school disappears from the shelves here, Halloween takes over... and the morph to Christmas happens mid-October so that the full onslaught of Merry Christmas is with us throughout November now... and while some don't like that, I don't mind it and I'll tell you why...

      We make Thanksgiving special in spite of the Christmas flurry... and waiting to do outside decorations here in December or even late November can mean lake effect snow, squalls, bitter cold or nice fall weather... so a lot of us sneak out holiday things out the beginning of November to avoid the snow. There's a big difference in weather in WNY between November 11th and December 1st...

      Or perhaps I'm using that as an EXCUSE to decorate early, Jackie!!!

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    2. We always look for a warm day in October or early November to put the outdoor lights on our house. But then we don't turn them on until Thanksgiving night. It is not pleasant to put lights up when it is cold and the wind is blowing.

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  15. Congratulations on all that book news, Ruthy! Wow! New covers, new releases, lots of good stuff.

    I love Christmas stories and movies. I also love to write them. I have two out now, including my new release Solve by Christmas, and another that is written but is yet to be published.

    I'd love hear more ideas on marketing holiday books!

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    1. Amber, marketing is tricky, isn't it? I think having a newsletter helps keep people aware. Having said that, I better get mine done for October and November!!!!

      Keeping a presence on facebook is fun, but I don't think it's necessary... I just like chatting with people, talking with readers, writers and family!

      Joining in on promos like Ryan Zee Promotions, anything that helps bring you discoverability without putting a huge amount of money out.

      But mostly I think it's BOOK PRODUCTION. The more books you have out, the more people are watching for the next one! Or looking for the last one. Keeping them coming, getting a flow is an author's best friend in my humble opinion!

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  16. Ruthy, I don't know about anyone else, but Christmas stories are definitely worth my while: watching them, reading them and writing them. Just about all human emotions are magnified at Christmas -- loss, loneliness, wishing your kids had a dad, wishing your kids had a mom, watching your children's faces light up with whatever, dealing with family secrets and tension. That's why psychologists are double-booked over The Holidays and some churches offer a "Blue Christmas" service. Add in financial stress and time stress and you've got a cocktail of emotions ready to be mined. Pardon the mixed metaphor. It is the "most wonderful time of the year" and also the worst.
    I'm working on the first book of a series that takes place in a small Northern town which hosts an annual three-day Christmas Festival. Christmas, not "Holiday." Lives are changed during that Festival, as townspeople and guests let Christ work in them. My series hook is, "Welcome to Hilltop, the town that heals."
    And I think we need Christmas books, especially in the inspirational realm, The world's Christmas has gotten, well, awful. I'm emphatically not interested in Grandma getting run over by a reindeer, plastic reindeer that "poop" chocolate, or running up my credit card. Don't know what Christmas will look like this year with a different cash flow and relatives moving out of the area, but it will not look like what I just described.
    PLEASE enter me in the drawing. I know we're not supposed to use caps, but it's two RUTHY BOOKS.
    KB

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    1. This series sounds really interesting.

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    2. Kathy, I love the premise for the series! Good for you!

      Some of my favorite Christmas books for kids are The Crippled Lamb, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Bear Stays Up for Christmas and of course A Christmas Carol and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (mostly because I identify with those Herdman kids big time!!!!)

      And I haven't seen the plastic reindeer... and I'm okay with that! :)

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    3. Kathy, you are so right about human emotions being magnified at Christmas, and I enjoyed connecting with the examples that followed, whether they were emotions I'd felt myself or through someone else, a movie, or a book. I agree, the way Christmas magnifies the emotions plays into the success of Christmas themed books and movies. I watch Hallmark Christmas movies November to January, but watching a regular Hallmark movie (same themes) during the year isn't quite the same for me. Now I know why. :)

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  17. The Lawman's Yuletide Baby-love the cover! Snow, a cute baby, Christmas story, and did I mention snow?! Can't wait to read it! If you need another influencer, I'd love to join!

    I love anything to do with Christmas. I'd watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music all year long. My favorite movies are the ones where the main character has to bring a date along, and she's not dating, so has to go out and get one lol. Like Holiday in Handcuffs with Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez. And Christmas Comes to Willow Creek with John Schneider and Tom Wopat (the Dukes of Hazard) is my next favorite because who doesn't like unexplained good things to happen? I also read Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes every year. I'm getting so excited for Christmas and snow and the holidays and snow! Thanks, Ruthy, for a great post!

    Congratulations on your new releases and new releases of old releases!

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    1. I loved Two From Galilee... I had my mother's copy and let someone borrow it, and haven't seen it since, but that's okay. If it's blessing others, it's doing exactly what Marjorie intended it to do!

      And Sally, you're on the list! I added you over the summer when I expanded it, so you should be seeing these soon!

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  18. Yeah, so, the Christmas story is the one I have to cut 8,000 words from. Not fun. But worth it in the end.
    KB

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    1. I'm always cutting.... I say too much and then have to get concise, but it's okay... it teaches me to search for a better word, better phrase. We're all in this together!

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  19. Ruthy, I love reading and writing holiday stories!! I especially love Christmas stories that have all the traditions we have in our family. There's something so festive and heartwarming about these stories. I guess they bring back the best of memories for many people.

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    1. Missy, you're right! And if you don't have all those lovely memories, these stories give you a goal, an aspiration... to be joyful and helpful to others, to reach out, to extend that hand to a stranger. That's what we love about Christmas stories... In "Try, Try Again", the old homeless man, a former NYPD detective and bridge negotiator, saves the life of a rich man contemplating suicide... and in turn, changes the course of giving in The Big Apple for thousands like him.

      I love when we don't have to "see" the results of our actions, but do what we should just because we should do it intrinsically. Because we're the hands and feet of Christ.

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    2. Ruthy, that's so right that it's also a way for people to enjoy the holiday spirit, to let them dream of their perfect Christmas even if they don't have the memories.

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  20. I love Christmas stories, of course.
    I don't get the Hallmark channel, but I've still seen a lot of their stores.
    My favorite is What a Wonderful LIfe.

    Ruthy, are most of your Christmas stories stand-alone books or part of a series?

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    1. Connie, even the books that are part of a series are stand alone books... you don't have to read any other books in the series to get the full impact of the story. And I'm thrilled that Love Inspired tucked "Mended Hearts" into this duo offering... Mended Hearts is such a beautiful story of hope and healing, of a woman who endured a very traumatic situation, a woman who saved lives... but can't forgive herself because she couldn't save everyone...

      I love stories of healing. Of hope. Of grace.

      And It's a Wonderful Life is a favorite here, too! George Bailey!!!! Mary Bailey! Zuzu's petals! :)

      So you can read any of my Christmas stories (traditional or indie published) and you'll laugh and cry, Connie! :) And then you'll grab more twinkle lights. There's never an overload of twinkle lights!!!

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  21. Ruthy! I echo your opening line, "I love Christmas".

    I have a special place in my heart for Yuletide Hearts as it's the Ruthy book that started it all for me. I will read most any book about Christmas, so when I spotted this small book on the shelves at Goodwill I grabbed it up. After I read it I knew there was something really special about this author and proceeded to hunt down every other book out there by this Ruth Logan Herne, And then I notice in the back of one of those many books, there's a place called "Seekerville" where this Ruth hangs out on something called a "blog".

    Yuletide Hearts is my first recorded LI book on Goodreads way back in 2013. I credit you Ruthy for introducing me to Love Inspired books and for following my first blog ever. I just took a stroll down memory lane over on Amazon and fondly enjoyed each and every cover and story. Try, Try Again is one of those books not marketed as a Christmas story, but that beginning! I loved that story! I also noticed on my "stroll", for kindle readers, The Mistletoe Family is on sale for .99. Great deal and start to Christmas reading for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

    I'm so looking forward to The Lawman's Yuletide Baby! Corinne deserves some newfound happiness! It's a Ruthy and Christmas, two of my favorites!

    And Welcome to Wishing Bridge! I'm glad you are such a dedicated daily writer. I need a Ruthy book fix on a regular basis!

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    1. Oh, you made me get all teary-eyed, Tracey!!!!

      I love Yuletide Hearts... and I love working with Love Inspired and all the great publishers I've been blessed with.

      But I have to say that "Try, Try Again" is one of my favorite novels because it captured so much of what I wanted to say about Conor and Alicia... and family, faith, hope and honor. Of forgiveness.

      That book means a lot to me, and I'm so glad it's touched a lot of hearts!!!!

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  22. Favorite Christmas story. Not Hallmark story.

    One more question. When you write a holiday themed story, do you start of thinking holiday, or do you take a already planned/plotted story and decide to make it Christmas.

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    1. Connie, mine are always, always, always based on Christmas... not another holiday re-dressed.

      My favorite Holy Day is Easter. The glorious resurrection, the 40 days of Lent, of sacrifice, prayer and repentance. I don't know if that's as prevalent in other churches as it is in the Catholic church, but I love it because it reminds me to be true to my spiritual self, to not let the goofiness of a world run amok take precedence... It's so easy (especially in a business like this) to get caught up in awards and merits and measures and lists... Bah humbug.

      If I can write great books, make people laugh, smile, cry, sigh... AND SOMEONE IS PAYING ME TO DO IT????

      I'm a happy camper.

      The rest is window dressing to me... so my Christmas stories begin as Christmas stories, geared toward family, faith, sacrifice, forgiveness, blessings, sharing. All the goodness we espouse during Christmas.. those are my Ruthy-Christmas tropes!

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    2. Gotcha. And that makes perfect sense. :)

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  23. Ruthy I can't wait to read The Lawman's Yuletide Baby.

    The Hallmark channel is one of the few things I turn the TV on for and my family knows that when the Christmas shows start I get first dibs on the big screen. My husband even records the shows for me. I think he's afraid what might happen to his football game times if he doesn't.
    I love Christmas romances as long as they really are special to Christmas and not just a romance that conveniently occurs with Christmas as a back drop. I always feel cheated when Hallmark has one of those movies labeled for the Christmas season. And I like stories where people live in the country and make Christmas wonderful without the department stores. And I want to see Santa get saved!

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    1. Barbara, I couldn't agree more! And I think Hallmark has been way overdoing it on the love triangle stories, there are so many other ways to tell a beautiful love story! That always makes me think the hero/heroine who's "in love" with the jerk is kind of pathetic... and I don't want them to be pathetic. I want them to be flawed, but not stupid!!! :)

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  24. I love Christmas stories! Toasting with a mug of hot chocolate!

    Have a wonderful day!

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    1. Caryl, thanks for dropping in and I'm toasting you right back with the eggnog! Let romantic hearts prevail!!!!

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  25. Ruthy, I also love the picture of the sweet children in the Living Nativity. Love all things Nativity. My daughter collects them and has about 10 sets. My husband brings them back to her from his church-building trips overseas. I also love large Nativity collections. One is housed at a monastery in northern NH, was collected by a retired priest and numbers a couple of thousand. The other one was collected by a Protestant layperson and is displayed every year at the festival that inspired by fictional Festival. She has about 500 and I'm always so impressed to see the different ways people interpret Jesus's birth, in line with their particular culture. Elongated Masai figures, Japanese ones in silk robes, Aleut ones with Jesus on a sled. I also love the way each culture uses what they have. There's one from Cuba that was made of discarded auto parts. They show the collection in the Old Library and it's a high point of the Festival for me.
    I used to direct and produce children's Christmas pageants for my church. You can do it with seven kids: one Mary, one Joseph, minimum one shepherd, minimum one Three Kings, minimum one angel. Unless you want a live Baby Jesus. It is so worth doing, the kids learn so much about the Nativity and are so cute.
    Anyone ever read Barbara Robinson's "Best Christmas Pageant Ever"?
    kB again

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    1. Kathy, I just mentioned Barbara's book in a comment above, as one of our regular Christmas reads! I was a "Herdman" growing up, and how nice it was when someone let us join in anything, so that whole book just grabbed me in years ago and wouldn't let go. I love it!

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    2. My favorite Herdman was Gladys. "HEY, Unto You a Child Is Born!" That's the way we should all feel, it's the second-biggest event in history. Second to the Cross, of course. I would love to have heard Gladys's take on the Resurrection.
      KB

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  26. My Christmas LIS's arrived the end of last week and they're carefully tucked away till I finish editing this WIP as my motivational reward. I was lucky enough to marry a man who loves Christmas as much as I do and is happy to leave the tree up to Jan 6th as well. I didn't grow up with happy Christmases but have redeemed them within my marriage by giving my own children very happy ones. So, while we don't get the Hallmark channel up here, we have favourite Christmas movies we've collected over the years and we play them in the order the kids love to see them, and have our traditions in Advent as well. If I had room I'd collect Nativity sets but we move too much and I know the anguish of having a set from Equador break in to a gazillion pieces so I stopped doing it. But this time of year, I look forward to the fall and Christmas coming. As Christmas wasn't always a great time for me, I'd love to write a story about someone who found love and the meaning of Christmas through a reunion trope or the innocence of a child. Great post Ruth, thank you!

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    1. Laurie, I'm smiling. I withhold favorite TBR reads as rewards, too, until I make my writing goals. :-)

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    2. I do this, too! I have ever since I was a kid, a mini-reward system... I'd study like crazy or do my math or clean my room... and then reading was my reward. I do the same thing now, that's why my writing gets done in the middle of the night, before anyone else is up. I love that we do this together!

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  27. Great post Ruthy! Love Christmas and Christmas books! Three of my first six books were Christmas stories! Then I took a break. Now I am writing another one for Barbour! I would love to read your stories! Blessings

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    1. Carrie!!! Thank you for taking the time to stop over here with your crazy busy schedule! It's always a pleasure....

      I'm with you, I love the added emotion we can pack into Christmas stories... and you know what I forgot to mention in my post???

      That the Lifetime channel actually does Christmas movies with FAITH attached... and Hallmark rarely mentions it, or even shows a church.

      Isn't that an odd twist and turn?

      I realized that two years ago and thought... Wow...

      Things sure do have a way of changing around here! :)

      But they still do a lot of great stories (and I'd be honored to have mine be one of them someday!) and if they keep a thread of faith in their stories... like they do with When Calls the Heart... I'd love it!

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  28. RUTHY, I feel the love! LOVE this post. LOVE Christmas. LOVE Christmas movies and books. LOVE your book covers. Ahhhhhh....

    I definitely see the appeal of Hallmark's movies. Some are better done than others, but it's an exciting time. They've honed in on something we're in short supply of in today's vast array of bad news and focused on the good.

    Even reading your post made me feel good! Thanks! :-)

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    1. Cynthia, I am in total agreement. I love the sweetness and the lack of immoral content and just good old-fashioned romance... although I don't know why they're not doing historicals... Wouldn't that be fun? The producers of When Calls the Heart do such a good job, I'd love to see a Ruthy historical as a Hallmark movie!!!

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  29. I love. Christmas books and movies! I will read/watch them year round. I think my favorites are the ones with young children. How special it is to experience Christmas through the eyes of a child!

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    1. Julia, hi! I agree.... And I love young kids, broken marriages, single parents finding true love.... Oh, be still my heart!!!! There is a miracle of Christmas in every little one's gaze, isn't there?

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  30. OH... I forgot to mention a FAVE Hallmark Christmas movie is HOLIDAY ENGAGEMENT. SO cute and giggle-worthy. (And Shelley Long is simply hilarious as the MC's overbearing mother.) FRIENDS, watch it! :-)

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    1. I don't think I've seen that one! MUST CHECK IT OUT!!!!!

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  31. Ruthy, your post has put me in the Christmas mood! I'm revising a story that's set during Christmas so thanks bunches for the inspiration!

    I love Hallmark Christmas movies! I love all the old favorites like It's a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Story.

    Love your covers!

    Janet

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    1. Janet, happy to help, LOL! I've been waiting until September to talk about this/these, because it seems wrong in August! But now, when Sam's Club has a huge display of ribbons and wrappings and various trappings... and the books are releasing in just a couple of weeks!!!.... it seemed to be the right time!

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    2. Yes, Christmas comes earlier every year. :-)

      Janet

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  32. Ruthy, the living nativity is precious!

    Janet

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    1. Aren't they so cute??? That's Brody, Megan, Joslyn, Mary Ruth, Elijah and Xavier... Finn was the baby shepherd that went wandering, a story unto himself, but we got the cutest picture of him wandering toward "Bethlehem"! We're hoping to do another one this year with the grandchildren... and the DONKEY!!!! :) #mustlovedonkeys!!!!

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    2. The donkey will be adorable and add a lot of realism to the stable scene.

      Janet

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  33. Good points, Ruthy! I keep telling myself I need to write another Christmas story. Too many other projects keep getting pushed to the top of the priorities list, though.

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    1. I had vowed to myself to have a Christmas story out every year once I was published... I missed last year by a month! I had Home on the Range in the fall and An Unexpected Groom in January. And then one that had Christmas in it, Her Unexpected Family, but it wasn't a Christmas story, so we glossed over it. So that was weird, having no Christmas story that year!

      But I'm back on track this year... and I'm not sure how next year will go, but if I don't have an LI Christmas story, maybe I'll have an indie one out. It's just fun to have a cache of Christmas stories to promo in the fall!!!

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  34. Cut my WIP to 54,500! Still needs some smoothing out, but that gives me 500 words to play with. This is a great day.

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    1. I am so proud of you! Happy dancing in WNY where it is hotter today than it was all summer (only a slight exaggeration!).... Well done, Kaybee!

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  35. Ruthy, I've been toying with the idea of a Christmas themed writing... I really appreciate hearing your perspective and enjoy celebrating your new releases and re-releases with you!

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    1. Karen, the Christmas season offers so much depth to a story... there are so many layers of good and bad things about the frenetics of the holidays, American-style... it really lends itself to deepening the story without the author having to invent much of anything!

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  36. From Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, I read nothing but Christmas stories. Favorites I reread every year. There's a great selection in today's post. I have one Christmas novella out and will write another during the Christmas season for next year's release. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without great reading material.

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    1. Elaine, I totally agree! And I have old favorites I re-read too, including my own, LOL! Matt and Callie's story... Oh my stars... Brett and Haley in His Mistletoe Family... (wiping tears...) I remember one early review of that story said "THREE PEOPLE HAD TO DIE TO SET UP THIS STORY... And oddly, I'm still loving it. It's a great story."

      THREE PEOPLE HAD TO DIE....

      And it's true!

      But life isn't always neatly wrapped in a bow and stuff happens...

      I will never forget that review!!! :)

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  37. You're so right, Ruthie. Romance and Christmas go together. I love Hallmark movies...also love your Christmas stories. Keep writing. I'll keep reading!

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    1. Debby, you have the kindest heart... We'll keep writing together, because I was over the moon in love with that last Amish suspense... and I wanted that scar-face caught and punished!

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  38. I will admit I am one of those people who loves Christmas year round. I watch my Christmas movies all year and also read Christmas books all year. I am currently reading the Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson.

    I would have to say it is one of my favorite holidays. I love that authors write great Christmas stories and many that can be enjoyed year round.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Wilani, I'm with you... although I don't tend to read Christmas over the summer. Any other time is fair game! You are entered, my friend!

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  39. YES, YES, YES FOR CHRISTMAS NOVELLAS!!! Because they really do help you get in the mood for Christmas AND because I have three of them that I just re-released, so I DEFINITELY think Christmas books are a good idea! ;)

    Boy, Ruthy, I bet you have a ton of Christmas books you've written -- how many???

    HUGS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
    Julie

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    1. Julie, I don't know. A bunch. I'd have to count them... (runs to website... counts....) Twelve... Including Christmas novellas. Maybe thirteen, that's right, I forgot Silent Night, Starlit Night, coming out as part of "Second Chance at Star Inn" from St. Martin's Press!

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  40. hi Ruthy
    I love Christmas. I love Ruthy books. Put the two together and it's an instant must have for me. I love Christmas. I'm attempting to integrate both hubby's family traditions and my family traditions for the Gupster. We always have a few Nativity scenes around. One under the tree for Guppy to play with. Since two years old, he's loved "hiding" the baby Jesus from Mary and Joseph.
    I don't really get to watch Christmas stuff or play too much music around the house because hubby works in retail and gets burned out on all the Christmas music that plays over the store system constantly from Thanksgiving on and doesn't want to hear anything at home.

    I haven't written a Christmas story yet, but have a few ideas. I LOVE Christmas stories!!!! Put me in the draw for your Christmas stories anytime Ruthy!

    p.s. I LOVED the Seekerville Christmas novella collections. EPIC!!!

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    1. Deb, thanks so much for reading our collections! We had so much fun with those.

      I can just imagine how tired your husband can get of holiday stuff if he works in retail. They start putting it out before Halloween! I was shopping today and saw stuff already.

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    2. Deb, I love you right back! My husband worked in grocery until last year when he retired, and he wasn't a fan of Christmas music... but I have to admit, I played it anyway. I love it. It makes me joyous and because he was working nights and evenings, I had his sleeping time and working time to do what I wanted... So those Christmas hymns and carols got cranked, Deb! It's different if you're on the same schedule, but then earphones are a wondrous thing. :)

      You should be getting a Ruthy influencer package within the week, I just have to stuff the envelopes! So nice to talk to you, my beloved friend!!!

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  41. I can't believe that people are starting on the Christmas season already. I feel like it was only Christmas just last week. I don't actually like to start the Christmas season until after Thanksgiving is over, because I feel like the poor holiday needs someone to focus solely on it desipte the fact that it's stuck between Halloween and Christmas.

    I don't know if I've ever considered writing a Christmas story. Some of my books take place AROUND Christmas, but it's not the main part of the story. It's really just part of the timeline. I might have them celebrate it, but then at the end of the chapter, oh look, it's new years now too.

    I'm going to keep my hand down because actually do not like Hallmark movies. I find them kind of sappy.

    The book cover for The Lawman's Yuletide Baby is absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. Nicki, I agree the Hallmark movies are rather sappy, but that is the one time of the year that I am OK with sappy! :)

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    2. Nicki, I agree with you about giving Thanksgiving its due! I don't do anything Christmasy until into December.

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    3. Nicki, some of them are sappy!!! That's why I kind of liked some of the Lifetime ones better, they actually had a stronger message/conflict/reason for living!

      But I don't mind a little bit of sappy at Christmas, my friend! I get all ver klempt! :)

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  42. Ruthy, great post! Some day I want to write a Christmas story. One of the tropes I enjoy is from White Christmas, the unlikely hero and heroine getting together. It's always fun to watch two characters move beyond their preconceived notions and discover their missing halves, so to speak. :)

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    1. I love White Christmas... and I love Christmas stories so much... and the unlikely paths that cross and fine one another. YES! Jeanne, you've got such an empathy for people, I bet you'd write a great Christmas story!

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  43. I went online today to look up the schedule for the Hallmark Christmas movies and wrote them all down and made reminders in my computer to set them to record. So I will be ready!

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    1. Sandy, I love you! I can't record anything, I downsized cable significantly so if I don't catch things at the right time... or if they don't allow computer streaming... I miss them!!!

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    2. I love my DVR. It's the only way I can watch TV. It certainly saves time watching recorded programs over live and having to watch commercials. But I have to get rid of a bunch of things on there now to make room for the Christmas shows! :)

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  44. I love Christmas books, too! So much fun.

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    1. MH, thanks for stopping by, whoever you are! :)

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  45. Christmas in July? Yes! Christmas stories in September? You betcha'! Hallmark Christmas? Bring it on! I love Christmas and I'm not talking about presents, new bling, material things. I love the goodwill that just seems to ooze during the season. I never grow tired of the music and I certainly never tire of reading the Christmas books. Please throw my name into the snowman top hat that you probably have handy. Thanks for a great post and I look forward to your stories.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, you're in the snowman hat (great idea, there!) and I'm with you 100%! And yes, I love to decorate for Christmas... it's so much fun! And TWINKLE LIGHTS rock.... Thanks for stopping by!

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  46. I love Christmas books all year, though I do especially like reading them in late November and throughout December. Congratulations on all your Christmas stories, Ruthie! And I love the cover with the two little boys. May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. I am gobsmacked over that cover... first, that they re-did it, because the first cover was fine... but this one is better. Second, that the little guys in this are a much better match to the spread sheet I did FIVE YEARS AGO!!!! Hooray!!!!! Phyllis, good to see you, and thank you for taking the time to share books all over the place!

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  47. Hey Ruthy,

    I love Advent and I love writing Christmas. No surprise that my debut was a Christmas story. I have two others in the pipeline. I need to finish the current one first, but you make me want to push that aside and work on the Christmas one.

    My favorite Christmas songs to listen to when I need to get into the spirit is Steven Curtis Chapman's O Come O Come Emmanuel and Our God is With Us.

    And I LOVED His Misteltoe Christmas. I think that may have been the first of your books I read.

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    1. I loved, loved, loved that debut novel. Cate, it was so good!!!!! You finish the current one and then we'll do Christmas.... Because I can't wait for another Cate Nolan book!

      I love both those songs... The word Emmanuel, "God with us" is so powerful! Steven Curtis Chapman is wonderful... A favorite of mine is Casting Crowns version of Longfellow's "The Bells are Ringing" I'm inspired to be a better person every time I hear this song...

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  48. Hi, Ruthy! I've never written a Christmas story, but I love to read them. Looking forward to reading these - such beautiful covers! Thanks for such a fun post - and the chocolate dipped pumpkin spice cannolis!

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    1. THERE SHOULD BE A LAW AGAINST THE CHOCOLATE DIPPED PUMPKIN SPICE CANNOLIS AT WEGMANS!!!!

      I'm not even kidding, Laura... #addictive!!!!

      And one of these days, jump on board the Christmas train, my friend! There's plenty of room!!! :)

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  49. LOVE this post, Ruthy!! (And yes, I'm now humming Jingle Bells - - and smiling!!) :)
    I LOVE Christmas and I love to read Christmas stories but have never written one. Until now. After reading a Ruthy-post full of encouragement I plan to write one - - maybe a reunion theme.
    Thanks so much for sharing, and that first photo of the little kiddos is sooo precious!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. A reunion theme is a perfect Christmas trope... Patti, you bring such joy to your work that a Christmas story would be a natural for you! Something to think about!

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    2. Oh, and that first photo??? They were all about 2, 3 and 4 in that photo. Beth and I got them all set, and she snapped about 100 pictures with her "sports" mode camera... and it was #1 or #2 that we chose because the group DISINTEGRATED almost instantly, LOL! It was so funny!!!!

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  50. I'm so stinkin' late to this party! How could I possibly have missed a Ruthy post??

    Hallmark Christmas movies, yes please!! I have watched A December Bride TWICE now (Denise Hunter's book made into a movie)& loved it both times. What is it about Christmas that makes things even more romantic? Hallmark sure has a good thing going with them. :-)

    I can always tell when it's Christmas season because I begin to see the Love Inspired books coming out with their winter themed covers. The kids especially are cute with their Christmas Sunday best dresses/suits, or outside playing in the snow, sledding, building snowmen, and etc all bundled up against the cold. I think they have to be some of the best covers, don't you? :-)

    Please throw my name in the Santa Claus hat for the books, thanks so much Ruthy!

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    1. Your name is in the hat and it's so good to see you!!! And you can come late to my party anytime, my friend!!!

      I love those winter-themed Christmas displays! I love seeing the books come out, and they stay on the shelves longer, so that inspires more sales... And what author doesn't want to boost sales???

      I'm with you, the little kids, the bright eyes, the whole sweet emotion of getting home for Christmas... or not being able to get home for Christmas... Oh, my heart!

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  51. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmas & all that goes with it! Even sappy Hallmark movies! I have a WIP that includes Christmas & how special it is and how sad it can be for those missing family members, but it is a small part of the story. Includes cruising, love, mystery & even a man overboard! Who done it? I have taken a LONG break on my writing but this story is back 'on board' you might say. LOL
    I'm also working on some short stuff for a weekly SS pamphlet for my denomination & my 1st one is a true 'Christmas Miracle' kind of story. Now you have me thinking-maybe I need to make it grow into a fiction Christmas story--maybe next year?
    Please add my name into Frosty's hat. I need a Ruthy-fix! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Vicki

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    1. You are in Frosty's hat, and so good to see you over here! I love that you're writing again, Vicki! Good for you!!

      And who wouldn't love a Christmas Miracle story?????

      I'd love it! I'd love it to the moon and back, it's the season of miracles.

      So good to see you!

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  52. I love Christmas! I would love to win your Christmas books. I start reading Christmas books in July. (they tend to be more available then.)
    It was great to meet you at CFRR
    Becky B.

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  53. I LOVE Christmas themed books! YES! Oh my hannah pumpkin canollis YUMOOOOOOO

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  54. I LOVE Christmas stories! In fact I have one at the top of my TBR pile. I should be starting it in a day or two. I can't wait! All of the covers that you shared in the post are beautiful!

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    1. Scrolling back I see that a number of people asked to be entered in the giveaway. I don't know if that is necessary but I don't want to miss out on a chance to win these 2 wonderful sounding books. Please enter me. Thanks for the chance to win.

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