When I thought about taking the step from writing as a hobby to a commitment toward publication, I didn’t dream of glamour, money, or having a cardboard replica of me and my bestseller at Barnes and Noble.
No, I had one fantasy.
I would be part of a Christmas collection.
Earlier in my journey, I thought it was happening, and it fell through. After awhile, I had enough on my plate I figured it wasn’t meant to be. Late last year, Kimberly Rose Johnson asked the Inspy Romance authors if they would be interested in participating in a Christmas boxed set.
Even better, I had just visited a magical place that set my holly-jolly heart into Christmas overdrive. The place is called Castle Noel in Medina, Ohio. My son and I weren’t sure what to expect, but one step inside and we knew we were in for a treat. From the gift shop to the tour full of decorations, celebrity Christmas photos, movie props, big store window displays, to the slide down the actual slide Ralphie used after Santa told him he’d shoot his eye out in A Christmas Story, my senses flooded with Christmas ideas. Gifts. Memories. Movie trivia. A story idea.
What if you had to work at a place like Castle Noel and you hated Christmas?
The idea kept me busy as I drove home and thought of different scenarios. The heroine would be the wounded soul who took her grief out on Christmas. Would the hero be a co worker? A boss? A tourist? It was fun to keep thinking about it when I couldn’t sleep or I was daydreaming.
When I knew the Christmas project was a go and I was part of it, the daydreaming became serious plotting. The rest shaped up truly from prayer. The hero, Kevin Holt, had his own pain. A special ed teacher, he enters The Christmas Mansion as part of a class project. The students have minor challenges, but one student creates big problems when he meets Holly Christmas, the co owner with a broken heart. The student discerns that Holly hates Christmas.
And he’s right.
This story was fun to write, and the feedback I received from those who have read my other books knew it. I was also able to showcase another Upstate NY setting for readers. Geneseo Valley is fictional, but the other towns and some of the establishments mentioned are part of my college years at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The college group that agrees to help Holly is similar to a class I took years ago and learned so much about regarding publicity. I also used some of the setup I remembered from Elmira, New York’s The Christmas House in the story as well when it came to collections.
Restoring Christmas is just one of eight novellas readers will be treated to when ordering A Christmas to Remember. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for the season than reading these stories. I’d love to give YOU a chance to win a copy. Leave a comment about a favorite Christmas memory and I’ll choose one random winner to receive a copy through Amazon gift.
By the way, I encourage you to check out the pictures at Castle Noel. They inspired me, and I think they will you, too!