Deb Marlowe is here today to share some holiday cheer and tell us about her Christmas novella, Lady, It's Cold Outside. I recently read it and it's an absolute delight, a heartwarming story to put you in the Christmas spirit. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. At only $0.99 in e-book format, it's the perfect "Merry Christmas to me" gift! For more information about Deb and her books, visit her website. Connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.
Please join me in giving Deb a warm, Romance Dish welcome!
We all know one. That person who tolerates Halloween. They put out the pumpkins, and coo over trick-or-treaters. They enjoy Thanksgiving - the food and friends and family. But truly, deep down - they are just waiting. Waiting for the carols, the lights, the tree, the cookies and presents. They spend most of the year biding their time, waiting for Christmas!
You can name someone like that, can't you? I can! My Grandpa was one. He loved the decorations especially, but everything else about Christmas too. And he passed that love on down to my mom. My mom loves Christmas! She collects Santas and 'I Believe' signs. She starts shopping in June or July. She has lots of decorations and is always looking for more. She sometimes can't wait and puts her tree up before Thanksgiving. She decorates her house and some of the public places in her building - all in exquisite taste. Her gift list is a balanced work of art. We didn't always have a lot when I was young, but she made every Christmas special for us.
It totally makes sense. She grew up in the golden, Christmas hey-day. When carolers visited house to house. When Bing crooned carols on TV and the Rankin and Bass specials were brand new! But more than that, I think she loves the spirit of the Season, the love and togetherness and warmth that we are more likely to show each other.
So, when I was thrilled to be writing my first Regency Christmas story, a character popped right into my head, a character who also loves Christmas. In Lady, It's Cold Outside, a little boy named Dowd has had a rough year. He's faced loss and now he's being uprooted - and he wants his Christmas, dang it! He wants every bit of cheer and goodwill and Christmas magic that he can get - and he's not afraid to dig his heels in and let it be known.
I had to find the right sort of people to give it to him, right? And both Miss Glenna Bolton and Lord Ellesworth need some Christmas magic too. Helping the three of them find it together was a lovely experience for me - and I hope it will be for you too!
For today, though, I'd love to know - do you know a big Christmas fan too? What is their special Christmas talent or love? For example, I think we all know someone who is magic with Christmas Candy, don't we, PJ?
Share your story and a random commenter will win a digital copy of An Unexpected Encounter, the first novella in my Half Moon House series.
Excerpt from Lady, It's Cold Outside:
When his turn came, the boy paused. “Do soldiers like gingerbread?” He sounded worried.
“This one does,” Ellesworth returned, climbing to his feet and nodding to the ladies. “It’s my favorite.”
Dowd beamed. “Mine, too.”
“Cream to go with it, sir?” Miss Bolton smiled at him and the ache in his leg was eclipsed by a new one blooming in his chest.
“No, thank you.” He wrenched his gaze from her and accepted a dish from the boy. “I don’t wish to miss a bit of that gingerbread flavor.” He took a bite and closed his eyes. “As good as my mother’s,” he told Dowd. “And that is no light compliment.”
“I stirred,” the boy told him with pride. “And I only broke one bowl.”
“Well done, sir,” Ellesworth acknowledged with a nod.
“Cook said I could come back to her kitchen anytime I brought Miss Bolton to clean up my mess.”
“She sounds like a wise woman.” He managed not to laugh.
“I told her about your gun and your sword and about my puppy.”
“Puppy?” Ellesworth looked to the girl with alarm.
“The puppy that he means to have,” Miss Bolton clarified. “Dowd is hoping to convince his grandmother to give him a pup for Christmas.”
“A boy needs a dog,” he agreed. “There is no better first best friend.”
“See, Lady?” Dowd grinned up at the girl. “I told you he would know.”
The boy moved on, with the companion following. Miss Bolton, however, stayed put, still smiling at him over her pitcher.
“You have won a devoted admirer,” she said softly.
His heart betrayed him. It soared high, for the smallest moment, because that silly, wayward organ thought she referred to herself.
Then his brain caught up and he knew she meant the boy—and he was afraid a hint of crushing disappointment must have shown on his face.
She blinked. “It’s just a case of hero worship,” she hurried on, sounding suddenly alarmed . . . and then her brain caught up.
She blushed. Charmingly. Color swam up from beneath her high collar, inching its way toward her hairline even as it strove to match its hue. But then she straightened. Lifted her chin. Color still blazing, she said, “My friend Miss Headley recognized your name, sir. She told me what she’d read about you in the dispatches, what a great service you’ve done for England.” She swallowed. “I should have said, you’ve won two admirers.”
It was boldly, bravely said. And devastating to his reserve. He fell harder, because he knew she meant it and because they both knew what was happening—both inside and between them. Matching pulses, gone quick, and senses on alert. Matching minds—and hearts. They stood there, both embarrassed, but both ridiculously happy, too.
What an adorable plot. I was so taken with the way the hero conversed with that young boy. A man who takes time to truly interact with and show compassion for a child or an animal is a Real Man in my book.ReplyDelete
Our neighbors have a big family and all of their children live close-by. The number of grandchildren is growing quickly. They are true Christmas enthusiasts with lots of decorating. The daughters and daughter-in-law get together and have a bake-a-thon for Christmas cookies and Grandma buys making pajamas for the grandchildren. It is so wonderful to watch this loving family together. Wish more families were this close.
I'd like to add a postscript: I can't wait for PJ to post some pictures of her candy baking. It always looks so good! :-)ReplyDelete
Connie, I have chocolate melting in the kitchen as I type this! :)Delete
Hi Connie! Yes--I so agree with you about the Real Man! Gotta love a guy who can be both tender and masculine! Your neighbors sound like such fun!ReplyDelete
And yes--I've been fortunate enough to sample PJ's creations--she amazes me!
Welcome, Deb! Funny you should mention Christmas candy. My condo has been a busy hive of cookie and candy making activity the past few days. I had an 8-year-old sleepover guest Saturday night and we baked up a storm. Lots of icing, sprinkles, and cookie glitter! Today, it's a variety of chocolate barks and bon-bons. I need to get my family goodie packages into the mail by tomorrow so this elf will be a busy lady today!ReplyDelete
Oooh! I can almost smell it from here! :-)Delete
Hi Deb and PJ!ReplyDelete
Sounds like a wonderful heartwarming Christmas story. :)
I have a friend who was our neighbor when I was growing up. He's the same age as my sister, and he was born on Christmas Eve. Of course, he loves all things Christmas! He's the one on Facebook who is posting things about it being 293 days 'til Christmas. He always decorates his house with lots of fun decorations. His prize possession is a Christmas Story leg lamp that he proudly displays in the window. We can always count on Travis to give up a bit of Christmas cheer any time of year.
Travis sounds like my kind of guy! My youngest brother was born Christmas morning and he's the least Christmassy of all of us. Probably comes from missing out on birthday hoopla all those years. ;-)Delete
Hi Mary! I'm so glad your friend embraced his birthday! I know some folks who have gone the other way and feel a bit cheated. Love the leg lamp! I went to a Dirty Santa party last year and a leg lamp was one of the prizes!ReplyDelete
I bought Lady, It's Cold Outside as soon as it was released July 1st and just wanted to let all of your readers know that they are going to have a wonderful time reading it!
Awww! Thank you, Jeanne! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!Delete
My sister performs her Christmas magic on present wrapping, a skill I sorely lack. Her packages are creatively beautiful and individual. Mine look so mass-market: take bag, insert gift, add tissue, done! Thanks for a fun post.ReplyDelete
Hi LSUReader! I'm afraid I'm with you. I have a friend like your sister. Clearly she significant time and money wrapping. Now, I do like to have the perfect present--but it takes the same time to unwrap them, if they are normal or art. LOLDelete
I'm with you two. My package wrapping is nothing to shout about. My sister-in-law, on the other hand, is a gift-wrapping star. Early in her retail career, she managed the department that handled gift wrap and it shows!Delete
I love Christmas! For a while there it became one of the saddest holidays of the year but it's become my most beloved on once again. I used to work at JCPenney wrapping Center and they taught me some lovely techniques that I've put to practice every year.ReplyDelete
You have professional skills! I'm jealous! I'm so glad you've found joy in the holiday, too.Delete
My oldest daughter is one of those people who absolutely loves Christmas. She and her husband go all out in decorating their house. Lights on the outside and two or three trees in the house with all kinds of other decorations. Both my daughters and I get together for a full day of baking. We have so much fun.ReplyDelete
Cooking or baking together is one of my favorite things! I try to find a good excuse to tempt my sister over to do it in other parts of the year too. ;-)Delete
We have one AMAZING house near here--not a car goes past that doesn't slow down to take in the sheer volume of decorations in the yard!
We have a main tree--but we also recently got a small pencil tree for my Valiant Husband and all of his Sci-Fi ornaments. It's a space battle tree! I would love one of those dress form trees too. It's a slippery slope!
My Mum is the person who has the spirit of Christmas in her life. I believe she carries it all year through. Even when she's a bit down her home is filled with gifts and wrapping paper. All so she can give others joy and a small token of love during this special time of year. I admire her giving nature and open heart. Reading the snippet from Lady, It's Cold Outside. I think your story looks to be a great Christmas read. Maybe it will help me catch the spirit of Christmas myself. Thank you and Happy Christmas... Karen Over-GalReplyDelete
Your mom sounds as lovely as mine! :-)Delete
Karen--I just realized that was you! Now I *know* how lovely your mom is! :-)Delete
Hi Deb and PJ *waves from Oregon* It was fabulous meeting you two at HRR this year <3ReplyDelete
I used to decorate inside the house it excess, lol. 4 years ago both my parents died within 3 weeks of each other during the holidays and I just can't get into it yet. All our holiday traditions were tied up with my parents... Never fear though I'm a walking jingle bell during the holidays. I wear my Christmas on my body ;-) On my fingernails, rings, jingle bell earrings and bracelets, shirt and socks. I will get back to the house when I get through all the estate boxes in my living room. MERRY CHRISTMAS all!
Oh and I'm Lenna Hendershott. Glittergirl is my "screen name"Delete
Hi Lenna! It was lovely to meet you too! I'm so sorry to hear about your parents--but I'm glad you are keeping your special holiday 'close'! My favorite Christmas earring look like ornamants--and the lovely Sabrina Jeffries made them for me! Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas!Delete
Thanks for the thoughts and the birthday wishes today <3 I have jingle bell Christmas trees on today with matching shirt and socks, lol. I make most of my holiday jewelry. It's wonderful to hear Sabrina does too!Delete
Thank you for the excerpt. This sounds like a delightful story for the holidays. It reflects the dreams and hope both children and adults have this time of the year. I hope all of their's are fulfilled.ReplyDelete
I like to decorate for holidays. The last few years have been too chaotic and I haven't done much. This year is worse than the others. I have trees for several rooms in the house and lots of other decorations. I loved it when I worked at the library. I was the children's librarian and decorated as much as I could throughout the library. I really want to be able to fix up the house next year.
I hope you and your family have a Wonderful Christmas and a Great New Year.
Hi library pat! Oh, children's librarian sounds like a dream job! I hope things calm down and you get to decorate as much as you like! Merry Christmas!Delete
It was. I really miss it.Delete