One Small Moment That Changed My Life by Stephanie Queen

a-look-back-at-the-past-100-yearsComing to the end of the year we all tend to get retrospective and I’m no exception. (Myren is an exception. He never talks about his past. Hmmm, I wonder… Oh, never ever mind–back to retrospection…).  The tendency may be to think about the big moments, like weddings and births. These are more like events than moments and clearly changed our lives. But there are those smaller moments too, if we look back and remember them, that might have had an unexpected impact. I remembered one from my past, and recognized it as life changing years later.

I was seventeen years old and sitting in the front seat of my car with a guy I was mad about. It was a cold Tuesday afternoon. He was exciting and handsome and funny and I had hopes for us. I remember how my chest bubbled with my heart beating so hard and how jumpy with giddiness I was to be in close quarters with him. To be flirting with him.

He said: Did you go to the movies Saturday night?

I said: No.

He said: That’s too bad.

He seemed flustered. I was puzzled.

I said: Not really.

He left the car abruptly and went back to his basketball practice. It was February vacation week. The next time I saw him was unexpectedly three days later. At a wake. For his father.

He was heartbroken. His gorgeous blue eyes were rimmed in red. I tried to comfort him. He rebuffed me. He was aloof and hardly met my eyes. He was stiff when I hugged him and he said nothing in response to my words of condolence. Not even a nod.

I was more than puzzled now. I was confused and distressed, but I reasoned that he was clearly upset and going through emotional upheaval. There was no way I should expect to make sense of his behavior. So I let him be.

When we got back to school the next week, it was worse. He didn’t speak to me, didn’t sit with me in study hall the way he used to and wouldn’t even look at me or say hello in the halls. I asked his sister, a friend of mine, about it and she didn’t know what was wrong. I was devastated. He’d rejected me completely. I had no choice, so I moved on. And I had no idea what went wrong,

Not until much later.

Later I realized my mistake. Now and then I’d think about him and wonder how he was and what might have been between us. How we might have had something. As time went by, I gained objectivity as my hurt cleared. I’d had no idea at the time what went wrong. Until one day, realization dawned and broke open a whole new abyss of hurt and regret.

It was a simple misunderstanding. A small moment that changed my life.

He’d said: Do you want to go to the movies Saturday night?

Do you have any of those moments that unexpectedly changed your life? Please share! You BeachcomberPrequelLondoncan read all about life-changing moments for ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise as he struggles through his partnership and desire for ex Scotland Yard detective and knock-out Shana George in the Beachcomber Investigations series. The first in series prequel is FREE on iBooks: The Beachcombers. Get it now!

If you share one of your moments in the comments you will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Beachcomber Investigations, book one of the series.

It’s Your Turn!

Now…it’s your turn to let us know what one, or more, Special thing you do at Christmas or Christmas Eve. I’d love to hear some of your memories and or special things you do at this time of year.

Each year my grandson and I bake cookies and make a Gingerbread Train together.

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We made houses until he got a bit older, so I thought the train was best for him a few years ago. Last year we added a Christmas tree, this year we added tiny gifts under the tree and two deer beside the train. Next year we’ll add something else, but have no idea yet what it will be.

We have a tiny Christmas tree my granddaughter colored and cut out ornaments when she was about five. We still bring out the tree each year in her memory. It’s a lovely memory to cherish.

When I was younger, we could open one gift Christmas Eve, the rest were saved until Christmas morning. Needless to say, we had a hard time falling asleep, because we could barely wait for Santa.

Mom did the best she could with what resources she had, but above all there was love involved with the gifts. Kids would probably laugh these days, but we always counted on oranges and peppermint in our stockings. Mom would roll the orange to break apart the pulp, cut a hole in the top and insert a stick of peppermint inside the orange. If you’ve never eaten an orange and peppermint together, give it a try! It’s really good. 🙂

I love romance, contemporaries, comedy, mystery and thrillers. Most any genre catches my attention if the story has a great plot and lots of twists and turns. Filling our readers with books each Christmas season gives me a reason to order my favorite authors or find new ones. I don’t really need a reason to order, but who doesn’t like finding surprises on their reader during this giving season?

Tell us what your favorite genre is. Do you have a book or movie you read or watch every year?

We usually watch Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life. The season doesn’t feel complete without those two. Of course there are many new Christmas movies this year too.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’m still cooking and baking. The holiday sneaked up on me this year. Too much else going on to be well organized. Never fear, all will come together as it does each year.

I wish you a Wonderful and Merry Christmas! My hope is this year will be your best Christmas ever.

From all of us here at Authors of Main StreetMerry Christmas and Happy New Year!

You can find my new book Christmas at Apple Lake  at Amazon. http://tinyurl.com/oza44bz Happy reading!

Christmas Past by Susan R. Hughes

Christmas memories have a way of staying with you for life. When I wrote Mistletoe & Wine, set in 1986, I drew upon one particular holiday tradition from my childhood.

Every year, sometime in December, my dad would take my sister and me to Sparks Street, the pedestrian mall in downtown Ottawa, to shop for Christmas presents for our mom. Sparks Street was a more popular shopping destination back then, before the Rideau Centre (a huge mall) was built nearby in the early 1980s.

Our shopping trip started with lunch at a tiny burger joint on thwalruse corner of Sparks. There were no tables or chairs, just counters where you’d eat standing up. Our next destination was a shop that specialized in native handicrafts. I remember beautifully stitched leather moccasins, Cowichan sweaters, bizarre-looking Iroquois masks, porcupine quill boxes, soapstone carvings, and felt animal dolls dressed in Inuit coats. Many of Mom’s treasured items were bought there over the years.

Another essential stop was the bookstore. Every year we’d buy Mom a couple of the latest comic strip collections – Garfield, The Far Side, far sideGiles, Calvin & Hobbes and Herman. Once we got cold and hungry, we’d stop in at the nut shop. Dad would treat us to bags of delicious warm nuts and a cup of hot chocolate. He’d buy chocolates for Mom there as well.

The record store changed over the years. Vinyl albums were replaced by CDs. The shop is probably gone now, with the growing popularity of digital downloads. As a teenager, I remember the Cutting_Crew_I've_Been_In_Love_Before_coverexcitement of leafing through the latest singles – back then they were 45s. One year, when I was about fifteen, I showed my dad the Cutting Crew single I really really wanted. As much as he hated popular music, he went all the way back downtown another day and bought it for me. I’ll never forget that.

Eventually this tradition petered out. Shopping at the local mall became more convenient. I rarely have occasion to go downtown anymore. Navigating the traffic is unpleasant and parking is expensive. Sparks Street isn’t what it used to be, but to me it will always be associated with my dad, sister and me on cold December days, dashing from shop to shop, covering our ears with our mittens to keep them warm. Those memories, knit deep into my mind and heart, are woven in with warm feelings that I will always associate with Christmastime.

About Susan R. Hughes1980sCover.indd

I’m a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance. Sign up for my newsletter to find out about my sales and new releases.

Christmas in a Galaxy Far Away by Joan Reeves

Illustration of Santa claus and Christmas reindeer in ChristmasI bet you thought this was going to be a review of the new Star Wars movie. Nope. We aren’t seeing that until Christmas Day. (We have a date with our younger daughter and her husband–both are complete Star Wars fanatics.)

This is about another galaxy far, far away…a time when I was a child with my nose stuck in a book. I’d been that way a couple of years since I’d learned to read rather early in life. I was very young and was already a total geek and wanted only to read.

Amazing Gift

Then Christmas came, and I awoke to find a record player under the Christmas tree along with a half dozen 45s.

Yes, kids, jump in the Way Back Machine and head to the Dark Ages…before digital music, iPods, and CD’s. Before cassettes. Before 8-track cartridges.

Even though I was too young to know what was cool and what wasn’t, I still recognized that all those 45 records would appeal more to my parents’ generation than mine. With one exception. A little gem of a song by Alvin and his chipmunk buddies Simon and Theodore with some ineffectual blustering by an adult named David Seville according to the record label.

Wow. I loved that song from the minute the round black vinyl made its first few revolutions on the turntable. I literally wore that record out. Thinking back on the months that followed Christmas and realizing how many times I must have played The Chipmunk Song, I now see how extremely tolerant my parents, especially my mother, were. They never yelled, “Cut that damned thing off.” (I confess, I wasn’t as tolerant with some of my daughter’s alternative or rap or hip hop tunes.) Nor did they try to sneak it off the turntable and consign it to the trash.

The Chipmunk Song by Alvin and The Chipmunks was produced by Liberty Records and first appeared in 1958. It had already been around and popular by the time I received the record. The whole thing was created by Ross Bagdasarian aka David Seville. He was a pioneer with the multi-speed record player and became a millionaire by fiddling with those speeds. You may have heard of his first hit, a little ditty called Witch Doctor which sold over a million copies.

A million copies might sound like a huge hit, but it pales in comparison to The Chipmunk Song, actually titled Christmas, Don’t Be Late. He wanted to use a gimmick to represent animal voices, and his children suggested chipmunks. In the end, Bagdasarian did all four voices including the David Seville character. He named his chipmunks after Liberty Records executives. Si Waronker became Simon, the good chipmunk; Ted Keep was Theodore who was kind of silly, and Al Bennett was the memorable Alvin.

You can get a copy of the original Chipmunk Song as well as videos of the subsequent television show or books, but the song remains the best of the lot, in my humble opinion.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve listened to a CD my daughter gave me a few Christmases ago. After receiving it, I promptly loaded it into my computer. The album is a Christmas mix she put together of some of my favorite Christmas songs. Track 1 was, of course, The Chipmunk Song by Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. It’s nice to know I raised my daughter to appreciate the finer things in life. *snicker*

Christmas Romance

I haven’t used The Chipmunk Song in a story yet, but I may. In the meantime, I have 2 Christmas romances for your consideration.

LuvU4Ever, a holiday short story romance, is free! (If Amazon and Nook still haven’t reduced it to FREE, get it from one of the other sellers listed.) Nobody’s Cinderella is reduced to only 99 cents.

LU4E_2500p_NYTLuvU4Ever (Free)

This Christmas, Noelle faces the biggest decision of her life.

LuvU4Ever. That’s what was engraved on the gold heart David gave her when he proposed. They’ve shared 10 years of joy in what she thought was a forever love.

I told you never to call me at home.

Can nine little words destroy her forever love? What will Noelle do? Will she walk away? Or dish out some payback? Or will she choose love?

Available at All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle (Amazon has NOT price matched so it’s still showing 99 cents there.) * iBooks * Kobo * Nook (Nook has NOT price matched either so it’s still showing 99 cents.) * Smashwords and other ebook sellers.

NC_2400px3200p_framed_NYTNobody’s Cinderella (Reduced from $3.99 to 99 cents)

Darcy Benton is the oldest cliche in the world—a woman in love with her boss. Other than that, she’s no-nonsense, practical, mature, and sober. She’s just the kind of woman Chase Whitaker wants as head of accounting for his company. She’s definitely not the kind of woman he wants in his bed.

Enter Darcy’s meddling, matchmaking best friend who has a plan to transform Darcy into a hottie designed to attract Chase’s interest. All it takes? A couple of little lies…and a wish on a Christmas star. Darcy should have heeded that old advice: be careful what you wish for.

Available at All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords and other ebook sellers.

Wishing yoXmas To Do List_webu all the happiest of Holidays and a glorious New Year!

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. Available as ebooks and audiobooks, her romance novels all have the same underlying theme: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s email list/newsletter for readers and receive a free book.

Christmas wishes

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Christmastime for me is filled with emotion. I am a Celt by birth and spiritual affiliation, so perhaps this comes with the territory. Everything seems to have meaning during this contemplative time of year. The nights are lengthening, daylight is precious and bustling with activity. Work becomes frantic as the calendar year comes to a close. Celebrations last the month, or more, and are filled with friendship, family and hope for the coming light and the New Year.

There is magic in theses moments. Magic to be shared.

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Every story I write has some element of magic—that power that thought, intention, and action bring, especially when the spark of the Divine enters the mix. Words carry power, so let us use them! I believe in Christmas wishes—their power to heal both the wisher and the recipient.

Here is my wish for you, from Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, by John O’Donohue. I’ve combined a few of his Blessings, and although the words are his, this wish for you is mine.

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 A Friendship Blessing

 May the light of your soul guide you.

May you be blessed with good friends.

May you learn to be a good friend yourself.

May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.

May you never be isolated, but always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam cara (soul friend)

May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light, and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.

May the day never burden.

May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises.

May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.

May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.

May your soul calm, console, and renew you.

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May every word be granted to you!

If you believe in the magic of Christmas wishes, please give one in the comment section—and may all your wishes come true this Yuletide Season!

 

Blessings,

 Leigh

A CHAPTER SHARE

Because sharing is caring.

This is an open invitation to share your first chapter. In the comments, please leave a link to a place where you have your first, or favorite, chapter online. If you’d like, leave a buy link, a one sentence teaser, and a cover image as well.

I’ll start the fun. My story, The Little White Christmas Lie, can be found the Christmas on Main Street boxed set. You can also read it (well, most of it) here. Little White Christmas Lie

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Neither Carson nor Millie know that their lives are about to spin out of control thanks to a patch of black ice, a cow, and a little white Christmas lie.