Winter Blogfest: Ornaments by K.K. Weil

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a digital copy of Shatterproof.


So many things come to mind when people talk about the holidays. In my house, holidays are synonymous with traditions. My kids are even more insistent on maintaining traditions than I am. If we do something once, we have to do it every year. I hope they never stop adding to our ever-growing list.

The year my daughter was born, I bought a Christmas ornament with her name, weight, birthday, etc., as I’m sure many people do. But it’s what came next that became the tradition. I decided that every year, I would buy each of my children an ornament that represented something from their lives during that year. It could be a hobby, an interest, anything…the sky was the limit.

Naturally, as Christmas approaches, my kids plot out what they’re hoping to receive. But my favorite part is that in the weeks leading up to the holiday, neither of them can wait to see their ornament. They take guesses on what I’ve chosen for them. When we decorate our tree every year, they search through the decorations for past years’ ornaments and talk about the memories that go along with them. They always place them on the tree strategically, where everyone can see. And no matter how tempting it might be to start ripping open the stacks of presents under the tree on Christmas morning, they both insist on going to their stockings and opening their ornaments first.

The pleasure of the ornaments definitely isn’t all theirs. I love trying to find the perfect item for each of them and I love that it’s a special gift from me to them – more meaningful than any of the toys that will be forgotten soon after the New Year. My daughter’s ornaments range from a soccer player to an artist’s palette to a princess (to represent her obsession with all things Disney in her younger years). Last year, my son got his black belt in Tai Kwon Do. That porcelain boy with a black belt was one of my favorites to buy. It will forever remind my son of his accomplishment. But I also enjoy looking at my tree, with all his other interests hanging from it, including an infatuation with bull riding. (Who knew they made bull-rider ornaments? These days, I think you can find anything.)
I view these ornaments as a kind of road map of their lives, with each one representing a path they’ve traveled. It will be interesting to see how these markers change as they grow and for them to reflect on themselves each year when we take them out. What they don’t know is that a long time from now, when they eventually move out, I will give them their ornaments to take with them.

One day, my children will create their own traditions. But when they start building memories in their own homes, with their new families, it’ll make me happy to know they’ll always have these to build on.

Shatterproof_w9927_750Griffin Stone knows the stats. Sons of abusers become abusers. This is his single fear.

After witnessing firsthand his parents’ tumultuous marriage, Griffin worries that he, too, harbors an explosive dark side. Can he escape from his father’s rage-fueled ways or is he destined to become part of the cycle?

Unable to persuade his mother to leave and wrestling with his resentment towards her for staying, Griffin volunteers at Holly’s House, a safe haven for abused women. Through sculpture, Griffin gives these women pieces of themselves they’ve long forgotten. Holly’s House is the only place where Griffin finds peace and purpose.

Until he meets Frankie Moore.

Frankie is an aspiring photographer, finding beauty in things most people miss, including Griffin. Griffin is attracted to her free-spirited, sassy attitude but fears Frankie will trigger the most intense part of him, the one he must keep buried.

Frankie’s got to get her act together. Her anything-goes behavior is leading nowhere fast. She’s hopeful that her latest hobby will be a building block for the future. But when a stranger appears on the other end of her camera, looking as complex as he is handsome, Frankie thinks this might be just the change she needs.

About the Author:“Instead of telling you how I’ve always loved to write (which is true) or how I dabbled in different genres for years while I was a teacher, before I took it up full-time (also true), I’d like to let you get to know me a little.

I love trying all different foods. I enjoy everything from street meat to decadent delicacies. When I travel, I pester the locals for restaurant recommendations, off the beaten path. Having said that, I am a savory fan. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I’d much rather have another bite of dinner and one more glass of wine that save room for dessert. There is one exception to this rule. Reese’s peanut butter cups. Sometimes I think I love those more than I love my children. I’m kidding. Maybe.

I’m left handed. I blame my horrendous handwriting on this, even though I don’t really believe they’re related. Everything in this world is built for and by righties. (Ever try using a can opener with your left hand?) So when I meet another left-handed person, I feel an immediate bond to her, like we’re in this special club. A club founded on being inconvenienced. When I was young, I was desperate for my sister to be a leftie like me. So even though she grabbed things with her right hand, I’d quickly switch them to her left. Now she’s ambidextrous.

I always save the best of everything for last. It’s a compulsion. I don’t like pizza crust very much, so I eat it first. I tear it off, piece by piece (I don’t bite the slice backwards. I’m not a Neanderthal, for God’s sake), until there’s just a little bit left in the center. I use this as a handle.

I have an irrational fear of lice, bedbugs and any other insect that can become an infestation.

I prefer beaches over grass, heels over flats, dramas over comedies, coffee over tea, night over morning and fall over spring.

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  1. Thanks for hosting me! I’m very happy to be here 🙂

  2. What a wonderful tradition with the Christmas ornaments for your kids. They will be such meaningful keepsakes for them. Interesting premise for your book – I think Griffin trying to break the cycle consciously makes a huge difference.

  3. Wow! HOW were you able to find all those perfect ornaments over the years??? We used to have a Christmas House that sold items all year long and they carried gorgeous ornaments from all over, albeit a bit pricey. Unfortunately, with major road construction came decreased business and they couldn’t ride it out long enough for the traffic pattern to return, so they closed their doors. It was my ‘go to’ place when I started my niece’s Christmas Hope Chest. I’ve never found another place like it and no other of my nieces seem to care for the idea of a hope chest – guess it’s a bit archaic these days. But my niece Does use the beautiful dolls with those lace dresses, and fragile filigreed glass ornaments …. now I have boys and boys don’t ‘do’ hope chests. ::sigh:: I think what you did was wonderful but it helps when you start the tradition young. With my boys, I had better luck with the Leprechaun House during St. Patrick’s day. 😉 Those leprechauns know how to party. lol

    As for your story, it sounds like a wonderful character driven romance – thanks for sharing!!!!

  4. I love the idea of a hope chest, Michele. So many of the older traditions are beautiful. And I think the Leprechaun House sounds great! Luckily, I’m able to find pretty much any ornament online. Makes things much easier! Thank you for the kind words about Shatterproof. Happy holidays!

  5. Question to the author: What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?

  6. Such a lovely tradition with the Christmas ornaments, such wonderful memories. Shatterproof sounds like a fantastic book with wonderful characters.

  7. fun traditions with ornaments
    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  8. Anna Tomlinson says:

    Would love to read this book! And the author sounds like a soul mate! Love the ornament tradition, we have one too but not as amazing!

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