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Monthly Archives: December 2020

 2020 is on its way out and 2021 is creeping in.

I thought I’d check my Wikipedia and find out the history of New Years. So for those who don’t know, like me, here’s some interesting information on New Year’s.

January 1 is New Year’s Day It’s the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. In pre-Christian Rome the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named.

The order of months in the Roman calendar was January to December since King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC. Until 1751 in England and Wales (and all British dominions) the new year started on March 25 – Lady Day, one of the four quarter days (the change to 1 January took place in 1600 in Scotland).  Since then, January 1 has been the first day of the year.

During the Middle Ages several other days were variously taken as the beginning of the calendar year (March, 1 March 25, Easter, September 1, December 25).

  In many countries, such as the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and the UK,  January 1 is a national holiday.

With the expansion of Western culture to many other places in the world during recent centuries, they have adopted the Gregorian calendar and the 1 January date of New Year has become global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (such as Israel, China and India).  Many in the countries where Eastern Orthodoxy predominates celebrate both the Gregorian and Julian New Year holidays, with the Gregorian day celebrated as a civic holiday, and the Julian date as the “Old New Year”, a religious holiday.

In present day, with most countries now using the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight, or the dropping of a ball, a shoe or other devices.

So if you do make New Year’s Goals, finish off your goals for next year watch the ball drop on TV, pour yourself a glass of bubbly and toast the new year. No parties this year. Stay healthy.

May 2021 be a good year where you and yours are healthy, happy and work toward, or reach your goals and Covid is controlled.

Happy New Year everyone!

 Hello…Alicia Dean here. Myself and twelve other authors (13 total, get it? 😊 ) each wrote a spooky, suspenseful story in the ‘A Friday the 13th Story’ series. They are stand-alone but have recurring threads and they were all released on Friday, November 13th .

My contribution to the series is titled Blood and Breakfast. Check it out below. And be sure to check out my contest where you can win an Amazon gift card! Find details here: (Contest ends Dec 15, 2020)

All stories in the Friday the 13th series:

Links to Evil by Rolynn Anderson

Till Death by Maureen Bonatch

Blood and Breakfast by Alicia Dean

Retribution by D.J. FitzSimons

Shattered Reflections by Tamrie Foxtail

A Deadly Game by Jannine Gallant

Dead to Rights by Margo Hoornstra

In the Still of the Night by Callie Hutton

Glimpse, the Dinner Guest by Stephen B. King

Scorned by Anna Kittrell

Vanity Kills by Dianne McCartney

Fatal Legacy by Krysta Scott

Azrael’s Chosen by Leah St. James

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Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 10, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who shared the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me ), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley (she almost always works in a mention of him into her stories) and watching (and rewatching) her favorite televisions shows like Ozark, Dexter, Justified, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and Vampire Diaries. Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

I was plotting my story and trying to figure out why a normal family man would suddenly snap and murder his family. I realized that hallucinations could cause people to do crazy things, so I researched what could make people hallucinate. I discovered that the plant, jimson weed, can cause serious hallucinations. I also wanted to incorporate some kind of an authentic local legend in my story, so I researched legends in various states and came across the Devil’s Footrock in Rhode Island.  I was able to mesh the two–jimson weed and the Devil’s Footrock–to come up with how the husband/father in my story lost his mind and killed his family. It’s so much fun when ideas click and make a story come together. Here’s a photo of Devil’s Foot Rock:

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

Alicia: My very favorite genre to write is suspense/mystery/thriller because that’s what I enjoy reading. Anything creepy, scary and dangerous gets my heart pumping. I love to create evil characters and set them loose. I also enjoy giving them their comeuppance. 😊

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Alicia: It’s not really a ‘who’ but a ‘what’. I’ve always loved to read and, for as long as I can remember, my own stories swirled around in my brain. I didn’t really ‘decide’ to become a writer, I had stories inside me that wanted to get out, so I had to become a writer.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Alicia: When I’m already working on a story, reading the previous chapters gets my creative juices flowing. Also, I have a ritual where I listen to rain videos on YouTube and that helps me get in the writing mode.  When I’m first starting a story, my creative juices don’t flow. I just have to force it until I’m in the zone.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Alicia: Oh, yes. Two, really. Foghorn Leghorn and Bugs Bunny. Because they are hilarious and Bugs Bunny is so clever and mean.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet ‘in person’ and why?

Alicia: Without a doubt, Elvis Presley. I have adored him all my life and he was beautiful and talented and charismatic and kind. As for a living person, this will probably not be a popular answer, but President Trump. It would be amazing to meet the president of our country.

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Alicia: Well…I guess the obvious answer is write. But I think you mean, free from writing as well. 😊 I would love to spend a day just visiting with my family. I lost a brother two years ago and I wish I’d spent more time with him.

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Alicia: A police procedural, the first in a new series. The working title is “The Eye of a Red-Haired Woman.”

Blurb for Blood and Breakfast:

Determined to boost the sagging ratings of her internet radio show, “A Dark Place,” murder junkie Sasha Gillette checks into the Talley House Bed and Breakfast in North Kingston, Rhode Island. She and her co-host plan to broadcast an episode about the murders that took place there thirteen years earlier on a Friday the 13th, when a man butchered his entire family.

Not long after Sasha arrives, the other guests begin to disappear. Has a killer from the past resurfaced or is there a copycat on the loose?

One of the lone survivors, Sasha f inds herself trapped with a sadistic killer and, suddenly, murder isn’t as much fun as she thought.  

Excerpt from Blood and Breakfast :

“I’m going to look for her. It’s not okay that she’s been gone for hours when she said she’d be back in thirty minutes. Do you know where she was taking her walk?”

“I-in the woods.”

“Well, of course she was,” I muttered. “Agnes, do you have a flashlight I can borrow? And maybe something I can use for a weapon?”

Agnes nodded. “I’ll get you a flashlight. I have a hammer.”

Dorset rose as well. “I’ll go with you.” He cut his gaze to Bradley, but the dufus just sat there without volunteering to help. “Nothing, old chap? Not going to offer to come along?”

“I should stay here in case she comes back,” Bradley murmured but he didn’t look at them. Was he afraid…or feeling guilty?

  I shivered when we stepped outside, drawing my hoodie tighter around my body. The nearly half full moon hovered in the cloudy sky behind the branches of a Tulip tree. Lightning flashed, illuminating the back yard. The icy air held the scent of rain. “We need to hurry,” I told Dorset. “It looks like it might storm.”

He nodded. “I’d say let’s split up to cover more ground, but with one flashlight and hammer, and with the odd happenings lately, maybe we should stick together.”

“Agreed.” My teeth chattered, though it wasn’t all that cold.

We walked along the wood line, shouting for Macy, shining the flashlight between the trees. Nothing. As if by mutual agreement, we entered the woods. I shuddered, not only concerned about a potential maniac, but also leery of whatever creatures might be scurrying around at my feet. I was a city girl and didn’t even own a pet. I was not okay with encountering an animal, of any kind.

We searched for another half hour with no sign of Macy. We were deep into the woods when the sky opened up and doused us with buckets of rain. Thunder rumbled and more lightning flashed. We gave up and hurried back to the house.

The others were waiting for us.

“Anything?” Bradley asked, his voice high-pitched with anxiety. He seemed much more concerned about Macy than he had been about his wife.

“Not a sign,” I said. “We need to call the police.”

“I did.” Agnes was seated in the forest green wing chair in the corner of the library. “They took the information but said she’s an adult and can leave any time she wants.” She rose. “We waited dinner for you. Let’s eat.”

A pall hung over the room as we ate in silence, the air thick with fear and confusion.

Afterward, I excused myself and headed upstairs, anxiety weighing on me. I had an overwhelming feeling that I wouldn’t sleep a wink. Nor would anyone else.

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Christmas Eve  is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day and Christmas Eve is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day. Christmas celebrations in Western Christianity have long begun on Christmas Eve, due in part to the Christian liturgical day starting at sunset, a practice inherited from Jewish tradition and based on the story of Creation in the Book of Genesis. Many churches still ring their church bells and hold prayers in the evening, Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve, traditionally at midnight, in commemoration of his birth.

It’s been a challenging year. Many people have died. Others are still struggling with their recovery. Business are struggling or closed. For many Christmas will be spent alone or only with close family living in the house. Our normal has disappeared. Next Christmas we will hopefully back to family and friends celebrating together. I’m one who will be home celebrating with my husband. I felt I wanted something normal. Here’s the poem I’m sure most people know and love at Christmas.

Please enjoy and have a Safe, Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!

‘Twas the night before Christmas,

By Clement Clarke Moore  

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,

With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Dasher ! now, Dancer ! now Prancer  and Vixen !

On, Comet ! on, Cupid ! on, Donner  and Blitzen !

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”    

I write contemporary romantic suspense. This holiday season, because of Covid, the US/Canada border is closed. I couldn’t head south to avoid the cold. So, I’m here in the snow and cold. And we have a Covid lockdown. I’m stuck in the house. I should be writing but I’m binging on Christmas movies. I think it’s part of Covid isolation and fatigue. It’s not the classics I’m watching like Miracle on 34th St, It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Scrooge, etc. I’m calling it research. (I’m hiding as I confess this.)                                                                                                                                                      I’m watching hours of the Hallmark type Christmas stories. Do you know how many of those are on every day? I find it interesting. The stories read more like earlier romance. The h/h don’t kiss until the final scene when The End comes up. There’s no sex or sexual intimacy. There’s very little touching. There’s conflict, a plot that revolves around a conflict. The h/h goals and their conflict and a romance triangle. All is resolved in the end and we have the HEA ending. Usually the ending is the h/h kissing in front of Christmas trees and decorations. Sigh…

I enjoy these movies. They take you out of the world we live in these days. I can’t believe the Christmas decorations in each movie. The houses are lighted up inside and out. My house is decorated but nothing like the movie houses. It takes you into a magical world. They’re feel-good stories. The characters all smile, with their sparkling white teeth. But It’s nice to see smiles. In the real-world smiles and laughter aren’t that common these days. I’m wondering if maybe I need to write this type or romance. I could still throw in a murder and a body but keep the romance more innocent showing hope to the reader.

If you write romance – suspense, sci-fi- steampunk, paranormal, whatever, what do you think? Should we go back in time and write more about feelings and love than sexual conflict? I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have a chance to share while getting ready for a different and non-hallmark Christmas..

Robyn came up with another interesting topic for our group blog this December. Write a short story, flash fiction, or use an excerpt from one of your books. I was going to use an excerpt from one of my books but then I thought I’d try and write a short Christmas story. I hope you enjoy it.

A Merry Covid Christmas

Sarah switched on the Christmas tree lights. The tree stood in its usual place in the corner where it had stood for the last thirty years. The nativity scene sat on the end table by the new couch. Well, sort of new. She’d replaced the twenty-five- year-old one five years ago.

It was a comfortable room like most of the rooms in the house she and Tom had raised their two children. Every Christmas had been family time. Even when Carol and Steve had left for college and moved out, they always made it back for Christmas. Two years ago, Tom had died. It had been difficult that year, but Steve, and Carol and her family had come home. This year there would be no family. A sigh slipped out.

Familiar Christmas songs played softly in the background. There had never been a Christmas quite like this one. Covid wasn’t family friendly. No Christmas Eve at church, although she had watched it on the computer. No family get togethers, and for many people no food.

She’d had a bad spell a week ago after talking with Carol. She felt sorry for herself. She’d be alone. No sense putting up the tree or decorating. No family for dinner. She hadn’t even planned to cook a dinner. Why bother?

Then she shook it off. Carol and Steve were worried about her. First that she was a high risk for Covid, and second that being alone for Christmas she’d be depressed. She didn’t want them to worry about her and ruin their own Christmas. There were so many people worse off. People who couldn’t pay rent or their mortgage and might lose their homes. Others who couldn’t buy food. And those who had family members who were ill.

No, she would not wallow in pity. She’d dragged out the tree and decorations. She’d baked dozens of cookies and tarts, boxed them and sent them to Carol and Steve. She’d sent dozens off to The Mustard Seed and the food bank. She’d order everything for a big dinner. A turkey was in the oven and dinner with all the trimmings would be ready soon. The wonderful smell of Christmas filled the house. Small, divided boxes lined the counter ready for the turkey dinners.

It had been a busy week. It felt good. Sarah sang along with ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ as she pulled the turkey out of the oven and made gravy while it cooled and then mashed potatoes. She sliced the turkey, packed the boxes, added the Brussels, and filled a small plate for herself.

The taxi arrived.

“I’m so glad you can do this. Here’s a list of the addresses.” She gave him the piece of paper. Sarah had contacted a couple of agencies to get the list, mostly single mothers, and the elderly. “I typed it so you wouldn’t have trouble reading it.”

The driver took the list and scanned it.

Sarah brought the large bags with the dinners from the kitchen and handed them to the driver.

“How much do I owe to deliver all these?” Sarah opened her purse.

“You made dinner for all these people?” he asked.

Sarah nodded. “So many people need help these days. This isn’t much but hopefully it will bring a little Christmas to a few people.”

“Lady, if you can do all that, I can deliver them. No charge.”


“Really. Merry Christmas. I’ll see if I can get them delivered before they all get too cold.” He hurried back to the taxi and drove off.

“Merry Christmas and thank you.” Sarah called after him. She smiled.

Back in the kitchen Sarah got her plate of food. She gave it a quick zap in the microwave. She smiled. She’d be eating alone but it didn’t feel so bad. The smile lasted and she hoped that some people would enjoy a special turkey dinner. She was one of the lucky people with a home, food and her health. There would be next year for the family Christmas. And she wouldn’t eat alone. There was Zoom with Carol, Josh, and the grand kids.

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HoHoHo! Christmas Eve is a week away. Are you ready?

It’s been a different year. I hope you’re wearing your mask and social distancing. For me, I’ve done most of my shopping online. I prefer to shop locally but stores are closed or limited to 15% occupancy. Hopefully they manage to hang in there.

Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day, the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus. Christmas Day is observed around the world, and Christmas Eve is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day. Christmas Eve get togethers, festivals   and parties are cancelled this year around the world.

Christmas Eve in Canada is the last day of preparations for the Christmas Day and Boxing Day  holidays. It is a busy shopping day and some people give gifts to family and friends on this day.

According to Wikipedia many people in Canada have to work on Christmas Eve, but it is also a day of preparation for the approaching holidays. Some people buy last-minute Christmas gifts for family members and friends while others wrap presents that they bought earlier. If a family is going eat a traditional meal on Christmas Day, they may begin preparations on Christmas Eve.

A traditional Christmas Day meal often consists of roast turkey or goose with squash, turnips, potatoes and cranberry sauce as a main course and mince pies or plum pudding for dessert. However, people may eat dishes as diverse as clam chowder, spiced chicken wings or traditional food from the wide range of cultures represented in modern-day Canada.

Many families put up their Christmas tree and other decorations on Christmas Eve. However, some do this earlier in December and just save a few special decorations, perhaps representing the Nativity, to put on display on December 24. In some areas, a large Nativity scene, perhaps with live animals or actors playing the parts of Mary and Joseph, is set up on Christmas Eve.

People who attend church regularly may go to a church service on the evening of December 24, known as midnight mass. Traditionally, this service started at midnight as December 24 became December 25 but now often starts earlier in the evening. In Quebec the traditional meal after this service is a pie of meat, potatoes and onions known as  tourtire  ( tortiere ,  tourtier ).

Some families, particularly in Quebec, may exchange gifts in the evening of Christmas Eve. However, many others, particularly those with small children, end the day by hanging up large socks or sock-shaped sacks known as Christmas stockings. Children are told that a mythical figure called Santa comes to fill them with presents during the night. The story of Santa is so important to Christmas in Canada and the United States that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) maintains a website to allegedly ‘track’ Santa’s movements on Christmas Eve. Even with Covid Santa can still be tracked this year.


What about you? Do you have Christmas Eve traditions? What will you be doing this year?

 Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for a writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When she writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen!  In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of 18 works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller , A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife , The White House Wedding, and The President’s Daughter.

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She r esides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home   with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Beverley: Why do you write romance?

Seelie: Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.

Beverley: Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?

Seelie: I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I they have to be paired with strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.

Beverley: Why did you write “The Last Christmas?”

Seelie: My father is 94-years-old and as you might expect, has had a number of serious medical, age-related events. Each time, we were told to prepare for his death. Each time, he survived. The fact was, my Dad wasn’t ready to die. And his children and his grandchildren weren’t ready to let him go either. So I started thinking about terminal diagnoses and how they are really a best guess, not a guarantee. That, of course, led to thoughts how a terminal diagnosis often causes people to give up and prematurely mourn the death of the person who is ill. I wondered how that impacted the outcome. And because I was preparing to write a holiday book, I also started thinking about the power of family, and how, time after time, families are capable of creating miracles.

That led me to “The Last Christmas.” Christmas truly is a time for miracles, and thought it important that everyone be able to experience one through the tale of the Wright Family.

Blurb for The Last Christmas:

When the doctors say there’s no hope, Santa begs to differ. After all, he claims, miracles are love combined with action to get the desired result. And at Christmas time, everyone deserves a miracle!

David Wright is dying from cancer. He is not expected to see another Christmas. At least that’s what the medical professionals say. Fortunately, Santa begs to differ. After all, modern medicine is nothing more than a best guess. Santa believes anything is possible until you give up. When Santa tells David’s wife, Joan, that heaven is full and she has to keep her husband alive, she is beside herself. She has no medical skills. How can she save anyone’s life? Set your skepticism aside as Santa embraces a family already mourning their father’s terminal diagnosis and teaches them that a Christmas miracle doesn’t always require heavenly intervention. Sometimes, all it takes is a family with enough love to create their own. As Santa says, a true miracle is when love combines with action to get the desired results. And only humans are capable of that. Will Santa’s words fall on deaf ears? Or will Team Wright find a way to save their father’s life?  

Excerpt from The Last Christmas

“It’s not about you, it’s about him, Joan.,” a grumbly voice said. “You’re looking at this all wrong.”

Joan turned so fast she almost lost her balance. She glared at the old man who had spoken. He was around seventy, with ruddy cheeks and twinkling blue eyes. And thick white hair. Lots of white hair. Flowing over his shoulders, winding up in a very lush beard. On top of his head was perched a brightly colored red knit hat. She frowned. “Wait a minute. You’re Santa Claus. Without the red suit, but clearly, you’re him. I’d know you anywhere.”

The man bowed and with a smile, said, “At your service.” He gestured toward a park across the street. “Let’s take a walk.”

“Oh, no. I’m not going anywhere with you.” Joan shook her head. “I didn’t mean you actually were Santa Claus. Everyone knows he doesn’t exist. I just meant you looked like him. You’re just a man who looks like him. I don’t know you. Why would I…” She glared at him. “You’re not even wearing a red suit. And since when has Santa taken up armchair psychiatry?”  She ran a hand through her blonde hair. “I must be hallucinating.” Despite her objections, she followed him across the street.

Santa laughed. “My dear, I have been dispensing advice since I was old enough to talk and make people listen. God chose my role a long time ago and I have gotten very good at it.” He looked toward the heavens. “Sorry, old boy. Still working on that humility!” He chuckled. “Man never stops reminding me.” He smiled at Joan. “Do you sense any ill-intentions from me? Of course not. I’m Santa . All I want to do is talk.”

Joan reached out and touched his shoulder.

He laughed again. A laugh that came directly from his belly. “Yes, I’m real. Well, as real as a centuries-old spirit gets. I even eat all those cookies children leave me each year. And let me tell you, that’s a heavenly feat.” Again, he looked skyward. “Yes, sir, I am well aware that borders on gluttony. A sin. You know darn well it has nothing to do with gluttony and everything to do with the magic of Christmas, an affirmation that Santa is real. I do it for the children.” He smiled at Joan. “Sometimes, He gets a little overbearing with his angels.”

He smirked. “Even God has his faults. He is by no means perfect.” A strong wind swirled through the plaza, nearly catching his knitted cap. He clapped his hand on his head to hold it down. He whispered, “And he doesn’t take criticism too well, either.”

Joan stared at the man. Surely, she was losing it. Santa a spirit, an angel? He and God didn’t even travel in the same circles. She shook her head, trying to make the hallucination go away.

Santa sighed. “I know, I know. You’ve been taught that I’m not real. That I’m a myth. That’s a rumor started by Satan himself, the old devil. He can’t stand the fact that people embrace the goodness in the world. And that I spread good cheer. He would much rather unleash a plague and make people miserable. He hates Christmas. He hates that the birth of Christ is celebrated, and his birth, well, is not. He really can’t stand the fact that love binds people so tightly during the holidays.” Santa shook his fist toward the ground. “The fool pouts all through the holidays.” He then sat up straight and gazed at Joan. “Christmas is really about love, you know. All kinds of love. The type of love he’ll never have. Love of family, love of children, love of—”

“What the heck do you want?” Joan blurted. “People are starting to stare.”

Buy links for The Last Christmas:

“The Last Christmas” is scheduled for release in December 11, 2020and will be available from all major booksellers, including–

Extasy Books:  Preorder Link Available November 27, 2020

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Twitter: @SeelieKay



Amazon author page:

Funny, sweet, and quirky, Vicki Batman’s stories are full of her hallmark humor and romance and will delight all readers. She has sold many romantic comedy works to magazines, several publishers, and most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. Along the way, she has picked up awards and bestsellers. Avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Chocaholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why? 

Vicki: I write two genres-romantic comedy mystery and romantic comedy short stories. This kind of book flows from my fingers. I love writing funny things that happen to the characters and snappy dialog.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Vicki: Two people. I wanted to write like Dick Francis, and one day, I confessed that to Handsome, but it took a long time before I began writing. My kids were little and then Handsome started his business. My life was complicated with little time left. Plus, I really didn’t have the confidence. Second, a friend knew my story and on a girlfriend trip, she practically forced us to play a Q&A car game. For example: Pick one-Englebert Humperdink or Tom Jones. Then she asked, “Write the opening paragraph of a book using the word window.” Well, I had nothing, I mean nothing, nothing. So, I went home knowing I would have to send something later. I did. EIGHT CHAPTERS. She read them and handed the disc back with the instructions, “keep going.” I did.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Vicki: I love when people say things, and my head goes BOING!!! That said, I have also written stories based on a word, like fruitcake. LOL

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Vicki:  Bugs Bunny because he is a rascally wabbit.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet ‘in person,’ and why?

Vicki: Truly, the one person I wish I had more time with was my grandmother. She was so amazing. She had a hard life after her husband died during the depression with six kids. She farmed. Once when she stood in a bread line for an hour, she told me, “I could have been home plowing.” She crocheted, knitted, sewed, and tatted.

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day, what would you do with it?

Vicki: I would lunch with a friend. Read. Watch a movie and stitch.

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Vicki: I’m finishing up the final galley edits on Temporarily out of Luck, my third romantic comedy mystery, and started writing Sommerville days, vol. 2.

 Blurb for Sommerville

Love blossoms in the small town of Sommerville in these heartwarming holiday tales, filled with fun and forever possibilities.

The Great Fruitcake Bake-off: When a five-time baking champion teams up with her neighbor for The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, they discover baking a prize-winning entry is complicated, bad guys are plotting to take the crown, and first prize isn’t just about a ribbon.

Christmas Romeo: When two feuding co-workers win Christmas river cruises at the company holiday party, they discover each other isn’t so bad after all.

Twinkle Lights: When the owner of a Christmas tree stand has a heart attack, a do-gooder and a reformed high school delinquent turned lawyer meet the challenges of running the establishment; yet, when revenue goes missing, fingers are pointed.

Buy Links for  Sommerville Holidays 

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Instagram: vickilbatman 


Word by Word:  

 Only 17 th days until Christmas Are you ready?

I’ve decorated the tree and the house.   How about you?

This is my first Christmas here because we always go south. But with the border closed we’re staying home in the cold and snow. I found our artificial tree and two big moving boxes filled with Christmas stuff. I had forgotten a lot of it, and I haven’t decorated in our new home since we moved in four years ago. But I managed to find places for everything. All my Christmas CD’s are down south, but I found Spotify, so I have Christmas music. My ugly Christmas sweater and jewelry are also down south. Sigh…

I don’t decorate or play Christmas carols until after December 1st.     What about you? When do you put up lights, decorate your tree and play Christmas music?

Covid has definitely disrupted my plans, but nothing compared to what other people are going through. I’ve done some baking and I’m doing all my Christmas shopping online. Another change because of Covid. It works but I admit I prefer actual shopping where you can see the item, figure out the size needed, touch it, feel it, and even smell it. And Christmas songs play throughout all the stores.

Are you writing during this season or have you taken a break?

I am writing. I just finished a BIAW so I’m writing. And I’ve written two short Christmas stories. One is on my website at https://www.beverleybateman and in my newsletter, along with a couple of my Christmas recipes. I try to write a few minutes every day. If I stop it’s hard to get back into a routine.

Are you reading? Would love to hear what books you’re reading. Watching Christmas movies?

Covid has also changed our Christmas dinner. With Covid on the increase our new regulations state you can only have the people living in your household to dinner. So, there will only be two of us at dinner this year. If you want to have up to ten people you have to eat outside and social distance. Since it’s below freezing that won’t be happening. If it saves lives in our community and helps to stop the spread of Covid, two for dinner is a small sacrifice. Next year we’ll be able to have a regular Christmas. What will you be doing this year?

I’d love to hear from everyone about your Christmas plans and maybe how Covid is affecting them.


Katy Eeten is married to a Pastor and is the mom of two boys, ages 12 and 9. She lives with her family in southeast Wisconsin, despite her dislike for cold weather. She works full time in corporate America, but her true passion is writing.

In addition to First Class Christmas, she has three other Christian Romances available on Amazon. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found taking walks or bike rides with her kids, baking goodies, playing the piano, or spending time with her family.

2020 Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Mandy: Mandy Brockman

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Mandy: I grew up in Wyoming, but I moved to Minneapolis for college and never looked back.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Mandy: It’s a contemporary tale—but pre-COVID. After all, I flew on a plane with no mask, lol.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Mandy: I am passionate about my work and put my all into relationships. But my ex-boyfriend dumped me three stinkin’ weeks before my best friend’s destination wedding. Thankfully, a last-minute seat change put me next to CJ—a guy who’s a whole lot sweeter than my ex. But CJ doesn’t seem too convinced that I’m over Kevin. And I’m sure he’d much rather be with someone who is sold out for God like he seems to be. I mean, I can’t even reconcile an old beef with my folks. How could I ever make a relationship work with someone as mature and kind as CJ?

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Mandy: My goal is to feel whole again. The breakup with Kevin was rough, and I’m reminded of how crummy I treated my parents back when I was in college. For some reason, I’ve been running on empty lately, and I just want to remember who I am again and figure out what brings me joy. 

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Mandy: My ex boyfriend seems to keep showing up at the most inconvenient times. And my bitterness towards my parents for more or less convincing me to exchange my dream of being on stage for the more practical pursuit of business still simmers in the background of my heart. Then, I finally meet a super great guy, and I’m not sure I can put aside my unsettled feelings about my ex cheating on me. All in all, it’s not shaping up to be the merriest of Christmases.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Mandy: I really have no desire to see my ex again. I know I need to call my parents and close those old wounds, but it’s hard to swallow my pride. As for CJ… well, I could choose to open up my heart to what could be. He does seem to be set on helping me find some joy this Christmas. Maybe it’s worth the risk? 

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Mandy: I love music, especially Christmas music. And I don’t do well with turbulence. Nothing a handsome stranger’s caring attention can’t quell though 😊

Blurb for First Class Christmas :

When Mandy Brockman flies home from her friend’s destination wedding, her heart is on empty at the thought of spending Christmas alone. It doesn’t help that her ex is on the plane, seemingly unaffected by their breakup. But the kind-hearted man seated next to her seems to have it all together—and he’s handsome to boot. She knows her emotional healing won’t come in the form of another guy, but will the source of this man’s peace and joy help Mandy find the Christmas she’s looking for?

CJ Hawkins is captivated by the beautiful, feisty woman he meets on his flight. The only thing is, she’s fresh out of a relationship, and he has no interest in being anyone’s rebound. But the more he learns about Mandy, the more he’s drawn to her unique mixture of compassion and spunk.

Can he figure out how to make their relationship take off before this First Class Christmas is grounded forever?

Excerpt from F irst Class Christmas:

Once the bill was squared away, they stood to leave, retrieving their coats from the coat check on the way out. The thought of leaving CJ only to return to her lonely apartment brought the same sense of emptiness they’d been talking about earlier. She tried to shake it off. Out in the parking lot, he walked her to her car.

“I’d love to see you again, but I have plans tonight. Although…” his voice trailed off.

Mandy narrowed her eyes. What wasn’t he saying? “Although…?”

A small smile crept to his face. “You should totally come with.”

She was intrigued. “Where to?” They arrived at her car, and she turned to face him with her back against the driver’s side back door.

He waggled his eyebrows. “To fill that emptiness in your heart.”

She tilted her head, giving him a dubious look. “What makes you so sure?”

CJ placed one hand on the car behind her on her left, and then another on her right, pinning her in place between his arms. Their bodies were only inches away from each other. “Do you trust me?” She could hear the smile in his voice.

Taking a deep breath, Mandy kept her gaze on CJ’s. The truth was, she did. But that fact scared her a little. She pressed her lips together before responding. “Yes.”

He gave a flirty lift to his eyebrows. “Good.”

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