Happy New Year from Anastasia and the Gang!
Today we welcome back romance author Vickey Wollan to tell us about the First Coast Romance Writers' holiday anthology and share a cocktail recipe with us. Learn more about Vickey and her books at her website.
Most people have a variety of traditions relating to holidays. Everyone has their own version, and that’s a good thing. Ringing in the New Year is no different. Some folks eat certain foods or consume a specific beverage because that activity brings good luck for the upcoming year.
In Romancing the Holidays – Volume 2 one of the short stories, “Holiday Fixation” by Karen Renee, Alex (the hero) uses a drink to tell Deanne (the heroine) that he knows her better than she thinks.
Deanne is the office manager at a PI firm and Alex is a lawyer at a firm that uses the investigative services of Deanne's employer. A subtle work-related change occurs that gives Alex the opportunity to show Deanne he’s wanted to date her for a long time. She goes to ask for a drink at a holiday party at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, but Alex places the order for her. A Sidecar is not a common cocktail. The fact the Alex knows Deanne’s drink of choice opens her eyes. How romantic is that?
This festive tale is just one of fourteen short stories, and some are written by newly published romance authors. Proceeds from this novel benefit First Coast Romance Writers (FCRW), a non-profit organization that helps writers hone their craft and expand their knowledge of the publishing industry. In 2020, FCRW started an annual tradition. The next volume releases on September 22, 2022.
It’s an amazing sight to see the joy of an author holding a book in which they are published for the first time. The FCRW members are incredibly supportive of one another. The amount of learning that occurs as the writers go through the steps of independently publishing a novel is immeasurable.
Romancing the Holidays – Volume 1 and 2 include stories with Fall and Winter holiday themes. Thus, the inspiration to have Alex order Deanne’s sidecar. Romancing the Holidays – Volume 3 will include holidays celebrated throughout the year.
Since New Year’s Eve 2021 is upon us, First Coast Romance Writers wish all romance readers a safe and prosperous 2022. May a hero in your life do something incredibly romantic to show you how much you are loved. Happy New Year!
Classic Sidecar Cocktail
1-1/2 ounces cognac
3/4 ounces orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
3/4 ounces lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Garnish: orange twist
Garnish: sugar rim (optional)
Coat the rim of a cocktail glass with sugar, if desired, and set aside.
Add the cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Romancing the Holidays
Looking for a Happily Ever After? How about fourteen of them?!
Romancing the Holidays, Volume 2 is a collection of romantic short stories all with the happy ending you crave. Genres include: contemporary, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense and young adult.
And what better time to find romance than during the holidays? Escape into these Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Three Kings Day and Valentine’s Day adventures, and swoon anew with each couple as they fall in love.
Proceeds from this anthology benefit First Coast Romance Writers, a non-profit organization that helps writers hone their craft and expand their knowledge of the publishing industry.
Today we sit down for a chat with JD Thompson from M.R. Dimond’s Black Orchids Enterprises Mysteries.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
Boring. A late twenty-something with all the trappings of a successful life, I wondered when it was going to deliver happiness. I went to my good corporate legal job every day to do nothing I ever wanted to do. I dated a woman because I didn’t want to be back on the dating apps and in the bars. The only excitement was when our ABBA tribute band got a gig, and we were supposed to be too grownup for that.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I’m a listener. It makes me a good mediator, which I prefer to court battles. I hear both what people are saying and what they don’t.
What do you like least about yourself?
I wish I’d had the courage to do what I really wanted, like my friend and bandmate Chantal Gaumont. Only I wanted to be a poet. Or a musician. Neither pay a living wage, so I became a lawyer in the family tradition. Only the kind of law I want to practice doesn’t pay much either. I hated myself when I accepted a clerkship with a judge and later a position in a corporate law firm. The idea was to pay my dues so later I could do what I wanted. But by the time the firm’s partners got far enough up the ladder to do what they wanted, they’d forgotten what that was, or at least why they wanted to do it.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
On what day? I’ve examined corpses while filling in for the Assistant Justice of the Peace. I helped Animal Control catch a bobcat in downtown Beauchamp. Dianne and I chased a client cross-country to Washington, DC. And wearing satin suits to sing in an ABBA tribute band is nowhere near as bad as blowing through a trombetta squash in the Beauchamp All-Vegetable Orchestra. This lady lives to put me in weird places.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Adverbs. And profanity. She tries to smooth out my language in all kinds of ways, and my language is not smooth. On the upside, I can hand these stories to my grandmother.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing somebody important to me. My mother died of cancer when I was nineteen. That was bad beyond belief. Then I found out there are other ways to lose people, like when my friend Johnny crashed right into the psych ward after nine years of higher education. I’ll never forget his dead, blank eyes. I thought he was gone forever, even if his body kept moving. If that could happen to Johnny, the best and brightest of us, it could happen to any of us, a sorry reward for being the good children we were.
What makes you happy?
Lots of things:
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
My mother wouldn’t have died, for sure. Maybe Dianne and I would never have broken up, even the first time, which was more for stupidity’s sake than anything.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Besides my father, who isn’t a regular, but there’s still too much of him—Dianne and her eternal spreadsheets that keep track of our bank balance and household chores. Mind you, those are her good traits too.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
It’s got to be Chantal Gaumont, Agnetha in our ABBA band. Despite getting the accounting degree her family wanted, she’s determined to be a singer. You can hear her most nights in Austin and Lockhart clubs, with or without the rest of us. She’s living her dream, and I wish I had that kind of courage.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Her first career was as an orchestra cellist, but she always wanted to sing, so we get to. She spent decades rescuing cats, so Johnny gets to do that. She loves to dance and she’s good with numbers and organizing, so Dianne gets to do those things. And she’s read mysteries ever since she could read, especially mysteries about friends who solve them, so here we are. Her website is https://dimond.me, where she’d appreciate it if you would sign up for her newsletter. She promises not to send it too often.
She’s got a blog there, too. My partners and our intern are so mad that I’m doing this interview that they’ll be posting their own interviews.
What's next for you?
My 20-year-old twin sisters will get into trouble, because that’s what 20-year-olds do, in a book currently called Family Matters. I’m not looking forward to it. I’ve already lost my mother. Then for the fall, there’s book about holidays, starting with Ascension of the Virgin Mary, then Jewish High Holy Days, Halloween, and All Saints Day. A murder happens somewhere in all that. The book’s called Hallow at this point, though it sounds more like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
I understand you like crafts and cooking here. I do a lot of crafts, because my partners don’t accept excuses like “I don’t know how” when there are holidays to decorate for or costumes to make. It turns out there’s always a task any idiot can do, which seems to be me, but you probably know everything I know.
As for cooking, breakfast is the only thing I’m good at, and everybody knows how to make a pancake, so I asked Johnny for a holiday treat recipe. He gave me one for those Hanukkah jelly donuts, sufganiyot. But Hanukkah was a month ago, so you’re stuck with my signature dinner: Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Avoid the house brand of soup. They’re all thin as water. Pro tip: If you buy artisanal bread and deli cheese, people complain a lot less, especially if the weather’s turned cold suddenly. They never stop complaining if you use the plastic cheese substitute wrapped in plastic.
It’s been great getting to know you. I hope you’ll join our Christmas grand opening in Birth of the Black Orchids. Or just stop by Gregg House any Friday night, when Johnny cooks for half the town. Watch out for the kittens on every surface.
Birth of the Black Orchids: A Light-Hearted Christmas Tale of Going Home, Starting Over, and Murder—With Cats
A Black Orchids Enterprise Mystery, Book 1
What if the American dream was living and working with your best friends? Millennials Johnny Ly, Dianne Cortez, and JD Thompson decide to find out when they quit their high-powered jobs to operate out of Johnny’s ancestral home in a small Central Texas town.
It’s such a nice old house. Too bad about the murder, which they’d better solve before it ruins their Christmas grand opening. Can they rise to the occasion with their skills as a veterinarian, accountant, lawyer, and an ABBA tribute band?
Bonus story: “The Way Old Friends Do”
A few months into the new year, income is low for the Black Orchids, with the town of Beauchamp happily using the free coupons from the grand opening. So Dianne expands their services to what JD calls “baby-sitting old ladies”—an easy job, until the clients run away.
Only three more days until Christmas. Here’s an easy and delicious muffin recipe to whip up for Christmas morning breakfast or brunch. Or New Year’s Day. Or anytime. Enjoy!
Christmas Morning Apple/Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins
Servings: 12 muffins
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini
1 small peeled and diced apple (any variety suitable for baking)
Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
6 ounces whipped cream cheese (room temperature)
1 egg yolk (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry muffin ingredients except the sugar.
Using a stand mixer, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. Fold in the zucchini and apples.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together only until combined.
Using the stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and sugar until smooth and creamy.
Using a 1-tablespoon scoop, place a scoop of muffin batter into each muffin cup. Add a scoop of the cream cheese mixture. Then another scoop of muffin batter.
Bake at 425F for 5 minutes. Leaving the muffins in the oven, reduce the temperature to 350F and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
Cool muffin tin on wire rack before removing muffins.
Awhile back, Lois Winston, the author who keeps messing with my life, gave me a brief respite and wrote a children's book. With the holidays fast approaching, it seemed a good time to remind people of the book because no matter where you fall along the political spectrum, you have to admit, it’s been a divisive few years. Couple that with a pandemic and various conflicts going on across the globe, and it’s a wonder we all don’t crawl into bed, pull blankets over our heads, and refuse to come out. And we’re adults. Think about how our children must feel.
If you have a young child on your holiday shopping list, you might want to consider purchasing a copy of The Magic Paintbrush as a gift. Without being preachy, The Magic Paintbrush addresses the issue of differences, in this case, a kingdom that’s all pink at war with a kingdom that’s all blue for longer than anyone can remember—so long that no one even knows what started the feud. It takes two children from another land to point out to the rulers of both kingdoms how we're really all the same inside and the benefits of everyone getting along.
Now if only people in the real world would do likewise….
Lois originally wrote this story for her own grandchildren (yes, she's that old!), but the reception she received convinced her she should send it out in the world for others to enjoy—and learn from—because the lesson taught is one the world really, really needs right now.
When nine-year-old Jack and his seven-year-old sister Zoe are snowed in for days with nothing to do, their complaints land them in every guy’s worst nightmare—the kingdom of Vermilion, a land where everything is totally pink! At first Jack is mistaken for a spy from the neighboring kingdom of Cobalt, but Zoe convinces Queen Fuchsia that they’re from New Jersey and arrived by magic.
Queen Fuchsia needs a king, but all the available princes in Vermilion are either too short, too fat, too old, or too stupid. Jack and Zoe suggest she looks for a king in Cobalt, but Vermilion and Cobalt have been at war since long before anyone can remember.
Jack and Zoe decide Vermilion and Cobalt need a Kitchen Table Mediation to settle their differences. So they set out on an adventure to bring peace to the warring kingdoms—and maybe along the way they just might find a king for the queen.
Award-winning author R Weir lives in Colorado where he enjoys the outdoors with his wife, daughter, and dog. Both his Divine Devils and Jarvis Mann Private Eye series explore the gritty underworld of crime, suspense, and mystery where no evil stands a chance against his written word! Today he allows us to eavesdrop on a conversation between the main characters from his two series. Learn more about him and his books at his website.
A Divine Chat Over a Beer
I was wiping down the counter at my Denver bar on this quiet middle of the week, hoping for more customers, when low and behold I got my wish. Walking in was a stout good-looking man dressed casually, taking a seat on the other side of the counter.
“A beer please…whatever you have on tap,” he said with a tired deep tone.
I grabbed a frosty mug from the cooler and filled it to the brim, sitting the frothy liquid before him. He took a long sip, the foam sticking to the upper part of his wrap around goatee at first, before dissipating. The bald dark-skinned man releasing a tension-filled sigh confirming he enjoyed the taste.
“A tough day?” I asked while tossing a bowl of pretzels within his reach.
“You have no idea,” he replied after another long drink.
I’d heard many fascinating stories in my recent years behind the bar, and I was interested in his. “Bartenders are great listeners.”
The man grabbed a couple of pretzels, swallowing them. “I was chasing down a criminal who had injured a woman during a burglary. Damned if I just missed grabbing him.”
“Are you a cop?” I inquired, curious about the man’s profession.
“A former US Marshal…now working privately.”
“Former, you say. Any particular reason you no longer work for the Feds?”
Wrinkles formed on his forehead, anger in his tone. “A kid I was guarding was murdered. His father was a US Senator, and I was blamed.” He took another drink of his beer, the liquid level below half. “Even though he was killed by an assassin from long range.”
“That sucks. I’ve learned the hard way when working cases that those in power often step on those who aren’t.”
The man’s eyes locked onto mine. “You work in the business?”
“Private eye, at one time. I retired—mostly—to own and run this place.” I held up my hand and waved all around me. “Thanks to two bullets, I found this life to be easier on my soul and body. But occasionally I still dabble in the business.”
The man nodded. “I understand. I’d love to find a quieter life, but I can’t stop until I track down the killer. In the meantime, I chase down bad guys for our clients. It’s rough sometimes but I have team members to help.”
“Sounds interesting. By the way, I’m Jarvis, formerly Jarvis Mann PI.” I extended my hand.
Reaching across, the man shook my hand with a grip of steel. “I’m Hunter Divine, now working freelance as a troubleshooter.” Hunter smiled and reached into his pocket, handing me a card. “If you’re ever interested in getting back into the game, I’m always looking for good help.”
I looked down at the card reading it, his business name and logo revealing. Leading me to wonder what the hell this man delved into when it came to his work. It appeared he was a troubleshooter who lived on the edge.
“The Divine Devils,” I stated with surprise. “Is that some type of inside joke?”
Hunter finished his beer. “Not at all. It’s what we call ourselves. We’re willing to move heaven and hell to get the job done.”
I glanced down at the card again and tucked it in my back pocket for future reference. With a name like The Divine Devils, I didn’t imagine many wanted to mess with this man and his team. I grabbed his empty mug and filled it again, then got one of my own.
“This one is on the house,” I said, holding up my beer. “Here’s to you and your Divine Devils and hoping I never get on your bad side!”
Hunter laughed, followed with a hearty “Amen”.
“Maybe I should tell you the story about my case of The Front Range Butcher,” I declared, a cold shiver running down my spine at the gruesome memory.
“That was you?” Hunter replied, his interest piqued. “Spill the beans. I’d love to hear everything about that sick serial killer.”
“Where do I begin…”
A story I happily shared, the two of us chatting the evening away, bonding over the challenging and dangerous cases we’d both survived.
The Case of the Invisible Souls
A Jarvis Mann Detective Mystery, Book 6
With Christmas a few weeks away…Happy these last few months had been quiet, Private Detective Jarvis Mann decides to take on an interesting case. A homeless veteran knocks on his door with a story. Several of his homeless companions have been bribed, then taxied away never to return.
Taking pause to the man’s story at first, Jarvis digs deeper, learning of plans to clear out the homeless. When the man is attacked and seriously injured, Jarvis goes undercover, learning more about life on the streets than he ever knew, becoming one of the Invisible Souls in search of an answer.
Connecting Long Distance Through Holiday Traditions
Years ago, when my husband and I moved from Illinois to Southern California, we knew our lives would change. New jobs. New home. New friends. Until our first holiday, we didn’t understand the subtler effects of living far from family.
In Illinois, seasons clearly mark the year’s passing. It’s difficult to explain how fall foliage, snow-covered lawns, and the first sign of tulips can help organize the year along with the accompanying holiday. Easter in Spring. Independence Day in Summer. Thanksgiving in Fall. Christmas in Winter.
Missed family gatherings are especially noticeable on Christmas. Growing up, our family traditions included Midnight Mass with the opening of the gifts afterward, accompanied, of course, by delicious treats.
Though I no longer make it to midnight on Christmas Eve, I do carry on the tradition of the treats. Every time I make them, I’m reminded of childhood and the warmth of family gathered snugly inside while it snowed outside. It helps that the recipes are incredibly simple.
We called the first one Holiday Sandwiches. We would search the stores for cocktail rye. If you can find it, you are a better woman than I am. Long ago, I settled for rye sandwich bread. (I prefer Jewish Rye, but feel free to use your favorite, though it will affect the final taste.) You can cut it beforehand and make the sandwiches individually. If you’re in a hurry, add the topping to each slice, cook whole, and cut later.
The spread is simply packages of Buddig’s Beef, grated sharp cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and sliced black olives. Mayonnaise holds it all together. And here is where you discover how versatile this recipe is.
Hate onions? Leave them out. Hate olives? Okay. We’ll discuss that later, but again, you can skip them. I always plop one on top of a few sandwiches since my husband doesn’t like them. I’ve never tried green olives because they might make the sandwich too salty.
You can also go crazy with the combinations. Swiss and ham. Corned beef and Swiss. Pepperoni and provolone. There is no limit!
The second treat is even easier. You’ll laugh at how simple it is, yet this is my most requested recipe from potlucks.
Just put equal amounts of jelly and mustard in a pot on the stove. I say jelly because jam and preserves have bits of fruit and, possibly, seeds. Heat until combined, and then add cocktail weanies. Cook on low until they’re heated through. That’s it. Boysenberry is the preferred jam, but it’s usually hiding out with the cocktail rye. I’ve used strawberry, grape, and seedless raspberry to name a few, and it’s always turned out great.
It’s surprising how the simple act of keeping up this tradition brings me comfort when family are far away. Another tradition I have is reading Christmas mysteries. Drop Dead Ornaments, one of Lois Winston’s books, comes to mind. Cozy and cozy-adjacent mysteries are populated by families and friends, and they go a long way toward making me feel the holiday spirit again.
2 packages of Buddig Beef, the 2 oz size, diced (Tip: My parents used to let us help by handing us a pair of kitchen shears to cut up the beef.)
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 small can chopped black olives (optional)
2 green onions, chopped (optional)
Rye bread cut into six squares (before or after you cook)
Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl. Add enough mayonnaise to hold them together.
Spread the topping on the bread. By spread, I mean plop it on with a spoon and push it around with the back of the spoon. The mix is thick.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and the bread crispy, about 10 minutes.
1 package of cocktail weanies, any variety
1 jar jelly, preferably boysenberry
Mix equal amounts of jelly and mustard in a pot on the stove. Heat on medium, stirring often until jelly melts and combines with mustard. Taste to determine if you prefer it with more sweet or sour and adjust accordingly.
Add 1 package of cocktail weanies. I dump the juice in too for extra flavor, but you can drain them if you like. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
A Scaly Tail of Murder
A Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic Mystery, Book 5
A new fiancé, an old boyfriend, and a murder that will change everything.
Frankie Chandler is finally at peace with her life. She’s engaged to Detective Martin Bowers, her pet psychic business is booming, and she’s overcome the emotional residue of a past relationship that destroyed her self-respect.
Just when everything’s going swell, trouble strolls through her front door. Jeffrey Ross, the ex-boyfriend who betrayed her, needs Frankie’s help. To get rid of him, she agrees to retrieve the keys he left with yet another hostile ex-girlfriend, a masseuse. Unfortunately, when Frankie shows up early at Friendly Fingers Spa, Jeff’s latest fling is face down in the new Jacuzzi. Murdered right in front of her Fiji Crested iguana.
The reptile refuses to tell what he knows, and when Frankie’s involuntary entanglement in the investigation threatens to ruin Bowers’ chances for promotion, she takes steps. After calling an uneasy truce with Jeff, the two form a crime-solving team that will either solve the mystery or bring an end to everything she’s worked for.
K.M. Fawcett writes contemporary, sci-fi, and paranormal Romances featuring underdogs and fish-out-of-water characters who find their place in the universe. When not writing about true love conquering all, she can be found teaching Isshinryu karate and weapons with her husband at their dojo in NJ. Learn more about K.M. and her books at her website where you can also find articles on self-defense.
Thank you for inviting me to the blog today to share Lacey Wilde’s Christmas Casserole recipe from Wilde Christmas. Wilde Christmas is part of the Candlewood Falls shared-world series, a unique world of connected stories by three different authors whose characters, business, and events appear in each other’s stories. How fun is that? We like to think of it as a literary soap opera. The Candlewood Falls books can be read in any order, as every book features a new couple who finds love.
Lacey Wilde’s Christmas Casserole Recipe
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
12 oz evaporated milk (1 can)
2 cups shredded cheese (Lacey uses a cheddar and Monterey jack mix)
1 - 28 oz package of frozen Tater Tots (Lacey prefers mini Tater Tots)
Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking oil and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté diced peppers, onion and salt and pepper to taste until onion are translucent (about 4-5 minutes).
In large bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in evaporated milk. Add cheese, Tater Tots, and sautéed vegetables. Mix well.
Pour mixture into the baking dish and place in oven for 1 hour or until eggs are set. Serve hot.
Lacey’s Christmas Casserole can be enjoyed anytime of the year. You can even try adding other vegetables (broccoli works well) or add some diced ham. However, the red and green peppers makes this egg casserole a little more festive for the holidays. Enjoy!
Wilde Christmas: A Candlewood Falls Novel
Small Town Wilde Romance, Book 2
Christmas is about to get Wilde!
All Lacey Wilde wants for Christmas is to open her long-awaited bed & breakfast. When her only guest is a sexy stranger who claims her adopted Military Working Dog is his, Lacey isn’t about to lose her fur baby—or her heart—to charming Marine veteran Dean Hunter.
But the K-9 controversy is the least of their troubles. Danger lurks in the shadows of Candlelight Inn, and someone will stop at nothing to steal Lacey’s heirloom ornaments. Can Dean protect the woman he’s fallen for against a deadly threat, or will this Christmas be their last?
Growing up in a small beach town in NJ, Christine Clemetson wouldn’t have been caught on her beach towel without a good book. From that, she caught the fire of creativity and now pens edge-of-your-seat thrillers and mysteries. Learn more about Christine and her books at her website.
How Christmas Cookies Inspired Me to Write a Mystery
Do you bake Christmas cookies? When I was young, our family had a traditional Christmas cookie weekend. We mixed and kneaded cookie dough one day, and then baked the next. To bring in the holiday cheer, we would play all the classic tunes in the background. We filled big plastic tins with all different kinds of cookies, but my favorite was SUGAR! I loved using the cookie cutters and decorating with sprinkles, and especially liked making the small snowflake shapes with the cherry in the center.
With the cookie baking tradition being a big part of my growing up years, having a story in the Christmas Cookies Mysteries anthology was a perfect fit for me! This anthology includes fourteen mysteries inspired by the songs of The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Cookies CD; my story is inspired by the song Little Annie’s Christmas Wish.
The story starts out at a Christmas fair, where Anne Cooper doesn’t believe the tea leaf reader’s ominous words that danger is coming. But when Anne embarks on a harrowing journey Christmas Eve to uncover her past, she faces unexpected events. The desolate road in which Anne travels was inspired by a night last October. With the crisp air and the moon so high and bright against the dark sky, I knew a story was talking to me. I translated this into a blood moon as the backdrop for this story’s setting.
My favorite part about writing Little Annie’s Christmas Wish was giving the characters their voices, learning who they were, and how they would confront situations. To do this, I started by asking Anne lots of questions. What do you want to learn most about your past? What if you had to come face to face with the villain? I would take notes on what she told me, including her biggest fears, and then I moved to the other characters and did the same detective work. Sometimes the answers arrived when I was cooking or driving, or even cleaning (gasp!), and not always when I was sitting at the keyboard. There were also many surprises the characters told me along the way, which brought even more magic into creating this story.
I hope you enjoy finding out if Anne’s wish comes true. In the meantime, I’m hoping all of your wishes come true this holiday season!
Christmas Cookies Mysteries
An Anthology Inspired by The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Cookies Album
Everybody loves Christmas … and mysteries. And now the two of them have been combined. We hope you’ll enjoy this fun little project revisiting the Christmas Cookies CD. — Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys
Christmas is magical and includes many traditions like decorating the tree, giving gifts, baking cookies … and murder and mayhem?!?! Join in the fun this season and create a new holiday tradition with mysteries from more than a baker’s dozen of award-winning authors—all inspired by the songs of The Oak Ridge Boys' Christmas Cookies CD.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing—Patricia Bradley
Ollie Bramlett—Joseph S. Bonsall
From Love to Love—Lisa Preston
Away in a Manger —Beth Pugh
Aunt Elvira’s Jewels (aka Hay Baby)—D. L. Havlin
Little Annie’s Christmas Wish—Christine Clemetson
I’ll be Home for Christmas—Don Bruns
Blessed Be the Day of Our Savior’s Birth—Kathy Harris
Jingle Bells Murder All the Way—Kelly Irvin
Ordinary Days—Delores Topliff
Uncle Luther Made the Stuffing—Vanessa M. Knight
Back to Tennessee—Danielle M Haas
The Warmest Night of the Year—Kaye D. Schmitz
O, Come All Ye Faithful— M.M. Chouinard
O Come All Ye Faithful (Reprise)—Mindy Steele