THANKFUL AUTHOR BLOG ROUNDUP
Featuring Melinda Curtis
What I'm thankful for:
Other than the good health of me and my family, I’m very thankful to be hitting my stride in my writing career now. It’s an exciting time to be an author. I remember days early in my career when I couldn’t think of what would happen next. It wasn’t so much writer’s block as not understanding story structure and conflict as well as I should have. I love writing and actually wish I had more time to get words on a page.
This story is part of a collection of three novellas from Harlequin Heartwarming. How did you become a part of this collection?
Anna Adams and Anna J. Stewart are two of my critique partners. We were talking about how much we love holiday stories one night and decided to pitch one to the Heartwarming line (which we all write for). Anna Adams loves towns in Maine and came up with the name Christmas Town. Anna J. Stewart is fond of small towns with character and came up with the idea for The Tea Pot. And I can’t remember what I contributed to the idea – lol!
Will there be more Christmas Town stories?
I’m trying to convince the Annas and our 4th critique partner that we can publish a new installment every year. And I’d love to ask other authors to participate.
As the holidays approach, what traditions do you have?
We always put up our fake tree with lights on Thanksgiving morning to liven up our turkey day gathering, but we don’t decorate it until we feel festive. Maybe that’s because turkey makes you lethargic. And then there’s all that shopping. About the time I want to wrap is when we decorate.
What is your favorite holiday treat?
I’m partial to those peanut butter cookies with a kiss on top. The weird thing is I’ve never made them. One of my dear friends from elementary school made them with her mother every year.
Gina Vernay was in an accident as a child and has a scar down her right cheek. Since then, Gina has always sat on the sidelines, lacking the self-confidence to shine. Wanting what many of her friends have – love, a family – Gina signs up for an online dating account. But her picture doesn’t show her scar. And she’s always too busy running The Tea Cup in Christmas Town to meet anyone, much less a man to share a kiss under the mistletoe in the town’s gazebo. But when one persistent on-line suitor arranges to meet her on Christmas Eve, Gina’s life turns upside down.
The Christmas Date is the third novella in Christmas, Actually – three holiday stories about three siblings living in Christmas Town, where tradition has it that a kiss on Christmas Eve in the town square gazebo will lead to wedding bells in the new year!
Excerpt from The Christmas Date:
In the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning, Gina stood at the edge of the town square and traced the deep, jagged scar that ran from her left temple to her jawline with the tip of a gloved finger, as if her touch could erase the past. The small ball of worry, the one that hadn’t let her sleep last night, expanded like bread dough in her chest, pressing against her lungs.
I should have told him.
Snow fell silently, blanketing the square and the balsam firs lining it. The trees, mistletoe gazebo and surrounding quaint old buildings were draped in holiday lights. The town square looked like a snow globe, beautifully pristine and peaceful. The wind swirled around her, stealing her worried breath.
A whistled tune drifted through the darkness. “Jingle Bells.”
A block away, a figure appeared on Taylor Street. Nick Banning, the town handyman and whistler.
Gina sucked in cold, much-needed air. There was too much to do today for her to wallow in what-ifs. She hadn’t told him and this afternoon she’d face the consequences.
Carefully, Gina walked along the snowy sidewalk toward The Tea Pot. She’d bought the corner shop from her aunt last summer, trading in safe columns of numbers and isolated cubicles for early morning pastry making and running the place where everyone in town gathered.
Arriving at her doorstep just as she did, Nick finished a whistled chorus, his breath mingling with snowflakes. “Morning.” He had a boxy tool bag slung over his shoulder. Holiday lights softly illuminated his handsome, reassuring features. Nick was one of the few people in the world who made Gina feel at ease, despite her scar.
She hurried to unlock the door and get them out of the cold. Once inside, she scuffed her boot soles across the extra large doormat, ridding them of snow. “When I asked you to show up first thing, I didn’t really think you’d show up this early...whistling.”
“No reason not to whistle.” He stomped the snow from his feet, first on the outside grill, then on the inside mat. “Big day today.”
She had the distinct impression that he knew she had a date this afternoon, and was teasing her about it. Gina flipped on the lights and peered at Nick. He tugged off his knit cap and slid it into a coat pocket, revealing short dark hair, a gaze that didn’t mock and a familiar, lopsided grin.
Nick caught her staring. His grin widened. “What? You forgot today’s Christmas Eve? The annual Christmas pageant? The night Santa Claus comes to town?”
“No...I...no.” Of course he didn’t know about her blind date. Well, it wasn’t exactly a blind date. In her continued quest to de-comfort zone herself, she’d signed up for an online dating service and had been instant messaging a guy named Football20 for a week. He was going to introduce himself to her in person this afternoon. They planned to have coffee together. That was, if he didn’t take one look at her scar and bail.
Buy Links for Christmas, Actually:
Award winning, USA Today bestseller Melinda Curtis writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, and the indie pubbed Bridesmaid series. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”. Melinda also writes independently published, hotter romances as Mel Curtis. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood's Golden Age except a lot hotter.”
Readers of this blog will be emailed a FREE sweet, fun novella set within the Hollywood Rules world by signing up for Melinda’s book release email newsletter.