Amy, here. My friend, Regina Rudd Merrick, had a fun new book release yesterday. I couldn’t resist asking her to come tell you more about it.
Thank you, Amy, for inviting me to guest-blog today about my upcoming Christmas novella, 12 Days of Mandy Reno!
In Book 3 in the RenoVations, Inc. series, we diverge from romantic suspense to plain old contemporary romance, my first love, set in the rural area where I live in western Kentucky.
I could have interviewed a character—Mandy Reno and Clay Lacey both offered—but when I mentioned writing this post as a fairy tale, Mandy, especially, was all in. (Clay kinda rolled his eyes, but Mandy started bouncing on her toes and clapping her hands, and if Mandy likes it …)
I’ve never written a fairy tale as a book, and to be clear, 12 Days of Mandy Reno isn’t written in fairy tale form, but it’s a Christmas story, and magic happens, right?
If not, don’t tell me. Mandy and I like to live in our magical bubble, thank you very much.
You have to understand, I was the kid who wore out multiple copies of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the “Stories and Fables” volume of our 1974 World Book Childcraft set, while the “Make and Do” and “The Green Kingdom” volumes were still pristine. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll write a humorous, magical fairy tale set in Kentucky!
And now, snuggle up under a fuzzy throw and sip a cup of hot chocolate (or coffee, or tea) and listen to our little story …
Once upon a time, on a farm, in the (fictional) hamlet of Clementville, Kentucky, there was a Christmas Princess named Mandy Reno. All year, she’d looked forward to all things Christmas.
She was adored and held a place of honor as the baby of the family and as the daughter of the lady whom the family considered their very own “Christmas Elf” because of her over-the-top decorations proclaiming the season.
Princess Mandy Reno thought things would never change.
She had grown up into a beautiful young lady, a law student no less, but, again, being the youngest child, and the youngest GRANDchild in the Reno family, she had expectations, and as Princess, she decreed the following:
- After Black Friday shopping, decorating for Christmas would begin.
- No music but Christmas songs would play after Thanksgiving weekend.
- She might be all grown up, but Mom will always be there to make Christmas, Christmas.
When the grown-up Christmas Princess learns her parents have been delayed by the Spirit of Christmas Present and will be out of the country at, of all times, Christmas, the season is ruined. Utterly, undeniably, unconditionally, ruined.
(Apparently, the decree that Christmas must remain the same was lost in the shuffle and never notarized.)
For Princess Mandy, darkness spreads over all the land (of Crittenden County, in Kentucky).
When the Sheriff of the province, Clay Lacey (enter Prince Charming) hears of her plight, he knows he must do something. Otherwise, Christmas would not only be ruined for her but for him, as well.
He’s watched Mandy grow up, mostly while pursuing her cousin, but when she lays her plight at his feet (or rather, the booth at the Clementville Café), he realizes the five-year difference in age isn’t so large after all.
And Princess Mandy is very pretty.
As he ponders the disturbance in his jurisdiction, the first thing that comes to mind is the classic Christmas Carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The wheels of creativity begin to turn. How can Sheriff Clay combine the elements of the traditional song with a way of anonymously distracting Princess Mandy from the despair of her Christmas being ruined? It becomes his first priority.
Will Princess Mandy notice Sheriff Clay when, eventually, she finds out who has been her benefactor? Does she consider him just “the guy who used to date her cousin and asked her to marry him in the most embarrassing way ever,” or as someone she would consider a suitor?
The entire province (Clementville, Kentucky again) seems to have a part in the plan, and, even though dark forces threaten to pull him away from his project, which he’s named “12 Days of Mandy Reno,” he must choose whether to continue with the surprises, or let the pain and anguish (see what I did there, Amy?) of a shattered Christmas darken the holiday for everyone in the land.
I’d like to end my tale with “and they lived happily ever after,” but for that, look for 12 Days of Mandy Reno, newly released and also on Kindle Unlimited!
Now a question for you, the reader: Do you like fairy tale retellings? If so, what’s your favorite, or what fairy tale should I set in the unlikely kingdom of rural Kentucky?
Leave me a comment below by November 18th, and I’ll choose one reader to receive a brand-new, signed copy of my book, 12 Days of Mandy Reno (US readers only). And if you can’t wait for that, go ahead and snatch it on Amazon!
Law student Amanda Reno is stuck in her tiny hometown in Kentucky to complete her studies virtually and work part-time at the Clementville Café. Her parents are stuck in Brazil, leaving Mandy to celebrate Christmas without them.
Young Sheriff Clay Lacey takes matters into his own hands, devising a plan to take Mandy’s mind off her crushed expectations. She is no longer his classmate’s tagalong kid sister, but a young woman he is increasingly attracted to.
How will Mandy react when she finds out Clay is the one working to make sure she has a memorable Christmas? Will she be pleased? Or will she cringe as she thanks the man who may be falling in love with her?
Purchase Link: https://scriveningspress.com/book/12-days-of-mandy-reno/
Regina Rudd Merrick is a multi-published author, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, lover of all things fun, beachy, and chocolate, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. Married to her husband of 40 years, she is the mother of two grown daughters, and lives in the small town of Marion, KY. Connect with Regina on Facebook, Instagram, or on her website at https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com.