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Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Award-winning author Karen McCullough has written more than a dozen novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, paranormal, and fantasy genres. Learn more about her and her books at her website

What Is It About Christmas Stories?
Everyone loves a good Christmas story. Or, apparently, even a mediocre Christmas story, as long as it delivers some kind of feel-good message.

Hallmark offers a long list of Christmas-themed movies each December (and now reaching into November). Netflix supplies quite a few more. Search for “Christmas stories” on the Amazon or Barnes & Noble website and the resulting list of books and movies is practically endless.

What’s special about Christmas stories that we hunger for them? And, yes, I include myself in that group. I love them, too. What is the particular magic of the holiday that transforms a good story into one that tugs at the heartstrings? 

I think the question, as I worded it, contains its own answer in the words “magic” and “transform.”

Those of us in most Western cultures have been brought up to believe that the season is, in fact, magical. We may no longer believe in the storybook Santa Claus or Father Christmas or Kris Kringle, but there are remnants of belief lingering in the depth of our psyche. After all, the reason for the season is ultimately based on an act of divine intervention in the world, with the coming of Christ as a human baby who contains a spark of the divine as well.

I firmly believe that no matter how much our rational brains have rejected the idea of magic, elves, flying reindeer, and miraculous old men bearing gifts, a deep-rooted part of us still wants those things to be possible. And we also want to allow that those supernatural forces could work in ways that can transform us, individually and as a group.

The idea of a special holiday bringing out the best in people, and a generous flow of love from some persons influencing others in an outpouring of joy, care, openness, concern, and acceptance has nearly attained the status of a cultural myth. We may not believe in it, but we sure as heck want it to be true.

And because I totally buy into wanting the “Christmas Spirit” to be a true thing, I’ve written two Christmas stories that are very different from each other. Blue December is a traditional, sweet contemporary romance novel while A Vampire’s Christmas Carol is a darker, more Gothic paranormal story that still encompasses the Christmas Spirit.

A Vampire’s Christmas Carol

Can Christmas Eve get any more fun? On her way to her family's home, Carol Prescott’s car slides into a ditch in a deserted area with no cell phone signal. The only available shelter is already occupied…by a vampire. To Michael Carpenter, Carol is the bait of a trap.

In an effort to hold onto his soul, Michael has resisted the urge to drink human blood for almost a century. Now he hovers between human and vampire. If he doesn’t drink from a human before the night ends, he’ll die. He’s desperately thirsty, but Michael has seen the soulless monsters vampires are and he prefers death. Carol is pure temptation to him, the Christmas present from hell…or is it from heaven?

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