Winter Blogfest: Rachelle Paige Campbell

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Enter to win a kindle copy of Holidays, Inc.

Waiting for Memories

My favorite family tradition started as the thing I hated most as a kid. Growing up, I lived thousands of miles away from extended family. For several, very special years, my grandparents, my great uncle, my uncle Tim, my aunt Joanne, and my three cousins traveled to our house in New Jersey for Christmas. Those visits were filled with laughter, hugs, and delicious food. The culmination of each trip was Christmas morning. Our seventies tract house had a huge entry hall with a staircase leading to the second floor. With the highest ceilings in the entire house, the nine-foot-tall tree stood centerstage. Underneath the pine-boughs, the floor remained empty until December 25th. Then, we’d wake to the astonishing sight of mountains of presents for five lucky kids and seven adults. From the top of the stairs, we glimpsed every package, debating the name year’s biggest. We couldn’t wait to open the gifts. But at the bottom of the stairs stood a sentry.

I mentioned five kids and seven adults. We were outnumbered. None of us were brave enough to charge down the steps and risk getting in trouble on the happiest day of the year. Instead, we waited. With much belly-aching and whining, we begged the adults to please let us down. Under the feeble excuses of making coffee and looking for the camera, the grown-ups made us wait. My parents swore I’d do the same thing one day and I’d enjoy it. I promised when I became a Mom I’d make my parents wait on the stairs. We were both right. On the years I’m blessed to have my parents celebrate the holidays with my family, my mom and dad sit on the steps next to my two sons. My boys complain far less than my brother and I did. But the memories are no less sweet. My go-to saying is you can’t choose your children’s memories. When my boys are men, I hope they will think fondly on our Christmas mornings.

Former child actress, Danielle “Dani” Winter, left Hollywood to transform an old cinema into a dinner theater, seeing the project as her chance to take control of her future. The middle-of-nowhere location in Wisconsin is a perfect escape from backstabbing celebrity friends. The small town welcomes her help with open arms, but one man questions her plan.
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After unsuccessful writing stints on both coasts, Paul Howell returns home to New Hope. He’s shocked to discover that his sister has sold the family business to a beautiful woman. With the encouragement of his neighbors, he reluctantly agrees to write Dani’s next musical.

Working together, they discover more similarities than differences and grow close. When Dani’s former best friend and America’s sweetheart, Kara Kensington arrives, their blossoming relationship is threatened in more ways than one.

Rachelle stumbled into the world of romance novels in college; as a way to help speed up her reading to make it through Art History textbooks. After years in the professional world writing very dry grant proposals and auction descriptions, she started writing the contemporary romance stories she wanted to read. Setting her books in some of her favorite destinations was her inspired way to require plenty of research trips every year with her family.

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Winter Blogfest: Peggy Chambers

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of Strawberry Sundae Delights.

Zoom meetings for Christmas? It could happen this year. As the Corona Virus gets more prevalent, family gatherings are getting smaller. Mine is just about ten people, and they are from my town or no more than 100 miles away. But we all do different things, and all come from different walks of life. Some work from home these days, some are retired, and a few are still in school. There are no little ones in this small family anymore. But should we gather is the question.

I need to send out Christmas cards. I should check the closet to see how many are left from last year. Fewer people send cards these days, but I love getting them and it may be the only way we can communicate soon. No more Christmas parties or fancy dresses. Only the food you cook for you and your loved ones and nothing more. But thankfully you still have loved ones to cook for.

I remember Christmas at my grandmother’s in Arkansas. She had eight kids during the Great Depression, and no one did without. She saw to that. Then each of her kids married and had families of their own, but they still came home at Christmas. The tiny kitchen was full to the brim with food. Each child had a present, normally homemade. We caroled and sat around the Christmas tree – which shone like the stars outside the tiny house – and we loved. I have never felt such love as when I was at my grandmother’s. It was the way Christmas should be and I tried to mimic it with my own children.

At my house we baked cookies while we wrapped presents. Okay, there may have been a little cookie dough on the bows, but it was a well-meant mistake. We watched all the Christmas specials and then on Christmas Eve, we ate snacks by the fire for dinner. There was too much food preparation still to happen in the morning to cook dinner the night before.

But this year whether we meet online or if we’re together, I hope to convey the love I felt at my grandmother’s to my small family now. We can still eat together, even if we see each other by Zoom, and send cards by mail and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. There will still be next year – if we play our cards right.
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Here’s to you and yours no matter how you decide to celebrate Christmas this year. Stay safe, eat too much, and mostly love the ones you are with whether online or in person.

Merry Christmas.

Schoolteacher Sienna Schultz is still stinging from a bad breakup with her fiancé when she finds herself unexpectedly infatuated with a new man. While working her summer job at her aunt’s ice cream shop in the small tourist town of Sandhill Island, she meets Jake White, a college student from Corpus Christi who is working on a shrimper for the summer. Sienna is not ready for another relationship, but Jake is difficult to resist.

Sienna’s peaceful summer is shattered when a series of suspicious events unfold. Her aunt’s suppliers refuse to sell to her, putting the future of the shop in jeopardy. Then, when the store is vandalized, they wonder if someone is out to harm not only the business, but Sienna and her aunt as well.

Jake offers to help uncover who’s behind the incidents, which brings the two of them closer together. Can Sienna trust him…or is she headed for another heartbreak?

Peggy Chambers is an award winning, published author, always working on another. She attended PU, UCO and is a graduate of OU. She is a member of the Enid Writers’ Club, and OWFI There’s always another story weaving around in her brain trying to come out.

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