Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Today's Special - - Sheila Roberts

It's my pleasure to welcome Sheila Roberts to the Romance Dish today.  I met Sheila at the RWA National Conference last summer and, after experiencing her infectious personality and light-up-the-room smile, knew that I had to give her books a try. 

Sheila lives in the Pacific Northwest and is happily married with three children. She tried out a lot of career hats, including playing in a band and owning a singing telegram company before focusing on writing.  Many of her books are best sellers and some have been Reader's Digest Condensed Books. One of her books, "On Strike for Christmas" was a Lifetime Network movie.  

Please give Sheila a warm welcome!


            When I first started writing "Merry Ex-mas" I spent a lot of time imagining awkward and difficult scenarios for my characters. How could I torture three divorced women during the holidays? I was like some kind of evil fairy.
            For Cass Wilkes, owner of Icicle Falls Gingerbread Haus Bakery, I started her out happily enough, with her daughter wanting a Christmas wedding. Probably because once upon a time I'd wanted a Christmas wedding. We got married in July. The least I could do is let one of my characters have what I didn't get. Wasn't that kind of me? Except then I had the daughter ask Daddy, the ex-husband who'd been so uninvolved in her life, to walk her down the aisle. Oh, and while I was at it I also ask filled up every B & B in town so that Daddy and his new trophy wife and their yappy, little dog had to come stay with Cass. Heehee.
            I wasn't any nicer to her friend Charley. I brought back her ex, who'd cheated on her with the hostess who worked at their restaurant, bringing him to town wanting to kiss and makeup. And, oh, does he put on the romantic pressure.
            And their friend Ella O'Brien? I stuck her in the house with her ex until it sells, keeping temptation right under her nose. And considering the fact that Jake is a hunky country singer there is a lot of temptation. Poor Ella and Jake. They were so happy until women started throwing their panties at him. Until her mother hired a private detective. And it's not helping that Jake has written a rotten Christmas song about her mama. (You can actually see Jake singing the song on Youtube. Check out "Merry Christmas Mama" and you'll see me as the wicked mama-in-law.)
            Oh, yes, I had fun with these three women and their exes, and I enjoyed the challenge of helping them work out their problems (which I was able to do in 308 pages). Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy in real life?
            Sadly, I know it's not. When we think of the Christmas season we think of it as  time of joy and celebration, of parties and family gatherings and gift exchanges. But for many it can be a time of loneliness and depression and stress. The holidays aren't so merry when you're going through a divorce or having to drop the kids off at your ex's place. I hear stories of holiday unhappiness and wish that I could write the sufferer a happy ending.
            Although I've never gone through a divorce there have been times in my own life when I've wished I could rewrite my story. Of course, some things can't be rewritten, but one thing I've learned over the years, no matter what I'm going through I can still work in some happy scenes.
            This upcoming holiday will hold some challenges for my family and there's no rewriting what we're going through. The only way out is straight through the problem. I already know that this Christmas won't look like past Christmases. But I'm determined to celebrate no matter what. We will sing Christmas carols. We will enjoy the Christmas lights. And we'll gather family and friends around us and bask in their love.

            What is your Christmas looking like this year? Are you dealing with an ex? Sharing kids? Wondering how you're going to spend the day alone? I hope you'll write some happy scenes into your holiday. And maybe, like me, you'll watch your favorite holiday movies and read some fun and heartwarming books. I'm already hard at work on next year's Christmas novel, but I might just take time out to re-read "Merry Ex-mas", to give myself a good chuckle and remind myself that no matter what we go through, eventually, maybe even in the new year, there's a happy ending waiting for us.

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment today will receive a signed copy of Merry Ex-Mas.  (U.S. / Canada only)


  1. Thankfully, my Christmas is looking to be a bright and happy one and for that, I am extremely grateful. I remember Christmas of 1975 when we were in France with our two little boys. I was called back home to the U.S. at Thanksgiving as my mother was gravely ill. I stayed at her bedside for six weeks as she lingered. The pain of watching my Mom slowly slip away, plus the pain of being away from my husband and sons so far away was something that scarred me for many years. After that experience, I became one of those people who dreaded Christmas. It took me many years to get over being that way. Today, I enjoy Christmas but I still don’t do a whole lot of decorating. However, my children do and always have a lovely time. That’s all that counts. My heart goes out to people for whom the holiday is a difficult one.

  2. Due to my daughter's recently diagnosed high risk pregnancy we will be staying in Wisconsin. Hope to have a beautiful, white Christmas. All 4 of my children plan to be with us and my 89 yo mom too.
    I'd love to read your book MERRY EX-MAS.

    Happy holidays!

  3. Hi Sheila! Welcome! I'm on my way out the door but will be back later to play! :)

  4. Being with family is what is so important. We will celebrate together and the little ones make it even more special.

  5. I've learned that nothing stays the same and some holidays are better than others but life is what we make it and I try to take some joy in every situation. It's about time I start my holiday reading - that always puts me in the mood!

  6. Quiet Christmas with no gift exchange just family and a nice meal. I'm looking forward to it.

  7. Wonderful post. I love the season since we can spend time with all the family and relax and reminisce. thanks.

  8. AWESOME post!
    I actually needed to hear this! Hope your holiday is filled with Love Sheila no matter what the circumstances. I am feeling a bit down, lost my second job in about 7 years. Its tough to reinvent and move on, but as you said, you do what you can. In the middle of all that, we have finally decided to downsize. This house has been a huge money pit, Its a beauty, a nice home but the upkeep has done us in. So we spent 6 weeks going over every room, and painting, fixing and replacing what we havent already replaced in 15 years. It goes on the market next week and that leaves us with the holidays being up in the air. Will we sell by the holidays? before? after? We have no clue so we move on , as you say and make little plans except our usual. Which is fine by me. I LOVE this time of year and no matter what, I will , we will all enjoy it!
    By the way, looking very forward to reading this one...looks great!

  9. Sounds like there's a whole lotta storyline inside those pages, and I'm volunteering to be one of those reading it! Thanks so much for the chance!
    I have absolutely no idea what's going on for Christmas this year. I presume it'll be the same as previous years, in that we go to church and two neighbourhood parties Christmas Eve, open presents in the morning with our immediate family, put the turkey in the oven at 1 pm, and then hightail it to visit two brothers and their mom before getting back to finish off supper between 4:30 and 5:30 pm. We've had deviations from this theme throughout the years, as some of us have been blessed with getting the flu and missing out while the others partook ... or the MIL with Alzheimer's often needs medical attention ... or there's too much snow for travelling ... or we had roast beef because my daughter's "in-laws" already had the turkey and ham festivities ... but at least we make the effort when possible.
    It's a tad early, but what the heck! I hope everyone has the merriest of Christmases! Bring on the Christmas stories, as you can never have too many miracles of romance - at any time of year, really....

  10. I feel incredibly blessed this Christmas. I have a happy marriage and wonderful family. Christmas is really my favorite time of the year. One Christmas tradition that I will begin soon is reading nothing but Christmas romances leading up to the holidays. I think I am going to add your book to my pile! It sounds wonderful!

  11. Hello and welcome, Sheila! Icicle Falls sounds like a wonderful place to visit. : ) We love Christmas in our house! To us, Christmas is all about family...and food. Lol. Plus, I'm about halfway done with my shopping!

    1. Girl! You're HALFWAY done???? I am impressed!

  12. Christmas is very low key and casual in my family :) Just hoping to relax and get a lot of reading in! Thanks for sharing and congrats to Cheryl on the new release! Sounds fun :)

  13. First Christmas without dear MIL.... will be pretty quiet and low key..

  14. Don't enter me in the contest since I've already read and loved MERRY X-MAS.

    I liked Icicle Falls so much I also got BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (great book) and WHAT SHE WANTS (still have to read this one).

    Marcy Shuler

  15. You really are mean to your poor characters. Taking out your aggression on fictional people? No divorce here, but there are times I am sure my husband gets frustrated with me. We work it out.
    The past few years we have rented a place away from home and our oldest daughter and her husband join us for a week. We do have a family get together for all our children and their families on Christmas day and enjoy it. This year we are going to Edisto Island, SC the week after Christmas. They both work at colleges in high pressure jobs. A week off season somewhere quiet is just right for them. We will be there to babysit their 2 year old so they can have a night or two out alone. We would take our other daughter and her family, but she and my husband share a job and they can't both be gone at the same time. Once he retires, we'll plan trips with them. We enjoy the holidays and often enjoy them with those who have no one in the area to celebrate with.
    I like the sound of MERRY EX-MAS. It should be al lot of fun. I hope the release is a big success. Have a great holiday season.

  16. this year we'll all be together (it's an every other year in-law thing) including the newest from the next generation 16 month old - should be a lot of fun watching the little guy watch all that goes on.

  17. Our holiday forecast is good. Hubby and I will be home. Kids and grandkids will visit here. There should be plenty of good cheer and good food all around. And, since we're in south Texas, we'll probably all be dressed in shorts, t-shirts and sandals! Thanks for visiting.

  18. Sheila - I just discovered you thanks to a recent review by PJ and I read the first Icicle Falls Book. I would LOVE to win Merry Ex-Mas and continue my visit to this town with all of the great characters! Hope you continue this series for many more books!

    I haven't finalized my Christmas plans yet...but as long as it includes family time, it will be wonderful.

  19. I would love to read Merry EX-mas. I love holiday stories.
    I've learned through the years with 7 children and one divorce behind me that in the end the real blessings are being together to celebrate every new year. Having daughter survive Bone Cancer at the age of 8 taught me true miracles do exist and to enjoy all those together moments.My beautiful daughter is now 26 ad a healthy one. :)
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  20. Merry EX-mas sounds like must read.

    My beloved husband of 39 years passed away on August 1st from cancer, and we never had any children. I am going to one of my God-daughter's house for Thanksgiving, but don't know about Christmas yet. I am hoping that someone will invite me so I won't have to spend it alone.