You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Blog Tour

The winner of a copy of The Chamomile is    Nancy Shuman!

Nancy, contact me through my email, give me your address, and I'll mail you a copy right away. Merry Christmas, Nancy, and to all who visited and to those who left a comment. May God bless you with a very Merry Christmas!


Welcome!!!  Merry Christmas!!!

      On this Christmas Blog Tour you’ll find out from a bunch of authors about our favorite Christmas reads, movies, recipes, songs…
     You get the picture --  anything Christmas!
     Once you’ve read the blog, please, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my Revolutionary War romantic suspense, The Chamomile.

I wanted to share two of my family’s Christmas traditions with you.  The first one, I think, is a sweet story. The second, especially the picture that goes with it, might get me in trouble. (I’m tee-heeing here.)

A Very Special Tree Topper

When my husband, Rick, and I got married on December 19, 1969, I was still in college, and he had just gotten out of the Army and had only been home from Vietnam a few months.  He had a new job, but we were so poor we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree nor the ornaments to go on it. One day along with several couples at our apartment building, we went to some land owned by relatives and cut our trees.  We wound up with one that truly looked like Charlie Brown’s tree. We took cards from our weddings gifts, as well as some of the Christmas cards we had received and hung them on the tree using paper clips.
When we were done, we stepped back to view our masterpiece and Rick said, “Something’s missing.” He cocked his head. “I know. A topper.”
He went into the bedroom where we had stored our wedding gifts. I could hear him rustling around in the boxes, but I couldn’t imagine what he was doing.
Finally, he came out hiding something behind his back and told me to close my eyes.
“Okay, open your eyes.”
I looked at the top of the tree, and there to my delight was the bride and groom from our wedding cake.  Each year that has passed, even though our financial situation improved, we never even thought to replace our tree topper (even when the kids were young and embarrassed by it--though they appreciate it now).
This year we celebrate our 43rd Christmas together as a couple, and our tree topper remains the same.

Christmas PJs

Every year since our children were little, I bought matching Christmas pajamas for us to wear. On Christmas Eve, I handed out their mystery pjs and everyone would run to their rooms to put them on and we'd all come running out at the same time.

One year, we wore white T-shirts and green boxer shorts with happy faces wearing Santa hats –  oh, and they glowed in the dark too. One year I found short pjs with candy cane stripes. Another year we wore red plaid flannel pjs and I found sunglasses that had LED lights in them that blinked a bright red. When our daughter married, her husband gladly (?) became part of the tradition, and when our granddaughter was born, I made her a matching nightshirt. The year our grown son brought his dog home, we wore T-shirts with a design of carolers singing the song from the movie The Christmas Story, “Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra. Ra-ra-ra-ra! So,  I made the dog, Steeler, a matching scarf.  Oh, and one year I almost had a mutiny on my hands when I bought them red unit suits complete with flaps in the back. Now that was hilarious.

The year of green plaid nightshirts.

The year of the candy cane pjs, I entered a State newspaper contest that wanted you to explain your family Christmas tradition.
When I walked into the choir room one Sunday morning, one of my friends said, “I never in the world thought that I’d ever open my Sunday paper and see my dear friend in her pajamas!”  Sure enough, our story and the picture were in the paper for all to see.  We were in our Christmas jammies!!!!!


My 2012 Christmas Recipe

Laughing Deer Hors d’oeuvres

12 triangles of Laughing Cow cheese, any flavor
4 olives, thinly sliced
1 tblsp. poppy seeds (or small bits of black olives)
24 small heart-shaped pretzels

Slice the olives and place one slice on the pointed tip of the triangle – this will be the nose.
Make two eyes with poppy seeds or black olives.
Push two pretzels into the top of the cheese triangle for the antlers.

Now that I’ve shared some favorite Christmas traditions with you, why not swing by and visit some of my friends’ sites who are posting the rest of this month?

Gail Kittleson – December 10th

Linda Maran – 11th

Karen Wingate-14th –

Karla Akins-15th

Patty Wysong -- 18th

Davalynn Spencer – 19th

Tamara Kraft – 20th

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Exciting Blog Hop!

Authors Answer Questions about Their Works in Progress

          Linda Glaz, my agent with Hartline Literary Agency, invited her clients to participate in a “Blog Hop” that features authors answering questions about their Works in Progress (WIP).
My WIP is a third in a trilogy about Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos, the main characters in my Revolutionary War romantic suspense, The Chamomile, released in November 2011, and which won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick award as a top novel for the season.  Linda Glaz is representing the sequel entitled Laurel.
Title: The title of my WIP is Cassia.  Cassia is the name of the slave Lilyan rescues and, when Cassia dies in childbirth, Lilyan names her daughter Cassia. Cassia was known as the poor man’s cinnamon. In Exodus 30:23-4, Moses is ordered to use both sweet cinnamon and cassia together with myrrh and sweet calamus to produce a holy oil to anoint the Ark of the Covenant. Cassia is also part of consecrated incense offered on the specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Jerusalem Temples. Psalm 45:8 mentions the garments of the king that smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia. It is believed that when Christ returns, his robes will carry the aroma of cassia.

Where did the idea come from? The idea came from the many fabulous reviews for The Chamomile and my many readers who asked for more about Lilyan and Nicholas.  I love them too, and want to keep them in my life a while longer.

Genre: Inspirational historical suspense.

What actors would play your characters in a movie version?  I envision Sarah Bolger as Lilyan and Henry Cavill as Nicholas.  They both had leading roles in the TV series The Tudors. Mr. Cavill played Charles Brandon, and Ms. Bolger played Lady Mary Tudor.
Short Synopsis: I don’t have it all worked out yet, but  Lilyan and Nicholas, now successful vintners in the Blue Ridge Mountains, take their three children on a sailing trip to Roanoke Island, NC, to pick up root cuttings that have been shipped from the Mediterranean.  About halfway between Charleston, SC, and the Outerbanks of NC, they run across a slave ship dumping the dead into the ocean.  They save one of the slaves, a female who is still alive and near the delivery of her child.  The slave has smallpox, so the captain of the ship puts the Xanthakos family on an island in the Outerbanks. They are attacked by pirates and all sorts of exciting things begin to happen. 
Agency Representation? Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency, is representing, Laurel, the sequel to The Chamomile.
How long did it take to write that first draft? I’m only four chapters in.
What other books in this genre compare?  Similar books would be The Restitution by MaryLu Tyndall and Loves Reckoning by Laura Franz.
Any others in this genre? As I mentioned, The Chamomile was released in November 2011.
Anything to add?  I am having great fun researching pirates in the Outerbanks and all the shipwrecks near Diamond Shoals, called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”  My husband and I visited a maritime museum in the area that was so fascinating I spent HOURS combing through books and maps until Rick finally fell asleep in a chair. Argh!

If you’re interested in other authors’ WIPs, follow this “Hop” by visiting Amy Magaw’s blog next Wednesday, December 12.

Amy Magaw - -

Also, if you want to read about other Works in Progress, please visit these blogs.

Lisa Lickel -

Davalynn Spencer -

Karen Wingate -