12 Authors Celebrate Christmas Present

I'm celebrating A Christmas Carol, the novella by Charles Dickens, written and published in the early Victorian era in England. During that period, old Christmas traditions were held dear while new traditions like Christmas greeting cards and decorated trees were introduced.

Published on December 19, 1843, A Christmas Carol has never been out of print. The Christmas ghosts immortalized in the novella are iconic.

Last week, we visited with 12 popular authors about Christmas Past. They shared some of their favorite Christmas memories with us as well as some of their books. (By the way, books make great gifts or stocking stuffers!)

Today, we pay homage to Christmas Present. Again, I have as my guests a dozen popular authors. Each brought along a book to "show and tell."

If you're looking for a book for yourself or for last minute Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers, consider these books. I'm sure you'll find something you must have. In fact, some authors are doing giveaways so read the post carefully. To be eligible to win, leave your email address (written out, not as a hot link) with a comment on this post. Comments are open for this until Dec. 29. Those giving away books will select winners and notify them by email on or before Jan. 5, 2015.

Now, may I introduce my guests on this eve of Christmas Eve.

12 Authors Celebrate Christmas Present

Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the author of Circles of Fate. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined.

Pam's Christmas Story

The best Christmas present I ever received was a boost in my budding faith when a coworker gifted me a check at a time when our funds to buy presents for our kids were nil. At that time she asked only that I pay it back by giving to someone else in need when I could and I do....As often as possible.

Buy Circles of Fate by Pamela S. Thibodeaux: Amazon Kindle * Paperback from Amazon * B&N Nook or Paperback

JoAnne Myers is the author of Flagitious. Four crime/mystery tales of betrayal when lies, lust, and deceit are unleashed.

Note from Joan: JoAnne told me I could edit this if I wanted, but I'm publishing it as she wrote it. Not every child grows up in a loving household. That makes the holidays even more difficult because you don't have happy memories to think about when Christmas rolls around.

What's worse, you may have unhappy memories to dwell on because Mom and Dad couldn't get through Christmas Eve without having the mother of all fights. For many the holidays are minefields of negative emotions. Personally, I spent years "learning how to be happy" during the holidays. If you have happy memories, rejoice. If you didn't, you can make your own happy memories. Why do you think my motto is: It's never to late to live happily ever after?

In any event, kudos to JoAnne for her honesty. She learned how important generosity is and made that a part of her own holiday traditions.

JoAnne's Christmas Story

I don’t remember many good memories from my childhood. I was not abused, but I was not raised in a loving family. My parents divorced when I was four, and I was raised by my mother who did not enjoy being a mom. She had married my father because of family pressures to get married and raise a family.

What stands out in my mind, is how poor we were. My mother was a factory worker, and received little child support for me and my older sister. I recall it being the first day back to school from Christmas break. I was 6 years old. I had approached my teachers desk for some reason, and she asked me what I got for Christmas. I told her “nothing” because my mother did not have any money for toys.

When my sister and I arrived at home that day, we were greeted by my teacher and my sister's teacher who gave us new dolls and other toys. I thought that was a wonderful gesture those teachers did for us. I remember my mother standing there smiling. She was pleased her children had received gifts. This incident has always stayed with me. There are good people in this world. We should all try to be like my teacher.

My gift at Christmas would be generosity to someone less fortunate than I. I work in a nursing home, so I will be giving a resident a present.

Buy Flagitious by JoAnne Myers: Amazon Kindle * Lulu Paperback

Ashley York is the author of The Saxon Bride. Medieval Romance and Intrigue.

Ashley's Christmas Story

For Christmas, I would love to give author Victoria Zak the gift of taking away her breast cancer. She was just diagnosed and started chemotherapy two days ago. She's such a lovely person with two young children. She's only 39 years old--too young to be having the battle of her life. I would love to be able to take this all away from her and give her back a cancer-free life. She could go back to worrying about the mundane things we worry about when we don't realize how quickly things can turn.

Buy The Saxon Bride by Ashley York: Amazon Kindle * B&N * Kobo

Karen McCullough is the author of Blue December. With money disappearing from registers in her department and inventory going AWOL as well, Meg Brandt is having a really bad Christmas.

Karen's Christmas Story

My birthday happens to be on Christmas day. When people hear that, I get lots of sympathy because they assume I get shorted on gifts and attention. But it’s not true. My family, from my parents, to my siblings, to my husband and kids have always held a separate celebration for my birthday, and they don’t combine gifts. That in itself is the best gift I’ve ever received. My mother died a couple of years ago. Ever since then I’ve made a special, fairly substantial donation in her name to an organization that attempts to feed the hungry worldwide. It was an organization she supported while she was alive. Continuing her support is the best gift I can think of to give back to her now.

Buy Blue December by Karen McCullough: Amazon Kindle

Libby Malin is the author of Woman with a Parasol. Mother and daughter travel to France, uncovering family secrets: What is the depth of a mother's love? Libby is giving away a copy of Woman with a Parasol. Leave a comment with your email to be eligible to win!

Libby's Christmas Story

Best Christmas gift ever received? I've received a lot of wonderful gifts, so it's hard to pick one. Here's a sweet surprise present that could have gone horribly wrong. One year, my husband bought something that clearly needed to be assembled. It came in a big box, and, frankly, I thought it was an exercise bike. Ugh. Husbands--do not buy an exercise bike for your wife for Christmas unless she signs an affidavit saying she MUST have one. Otherwise, it sends the wrong message, you know?

Prepared to be disappointed, I was delighted to open the gift and find...a new desk chair! A very thoughtful gift since I spent so much time at the computer. It sent a very touching message--I support your writing, honey. Love my hubs!

If I could give any gift to someone, my first impulse would be to shower my kids with financial help. They're fine, but you can always use a little help. And I'd randomly give money to those in need, tipping waitresses enormous amounts, handing out items to the homeless, etc. Merry Christmas!

Buy Woman with a Parasol: Amazon Kindle Exclusive

Helena Fairfax is the author of A Way from Heart to Heart. Kate Hemingway thinks upper-class Paul Farrell is stiff and reserved...until he makes a revelation that changes everything.

Helena's Christmas Story

I was one of seven children growing up. My parents didn't have a great deal of money for presents, but my mum was really good at needlework, and she often made us things. The present I remember most was a doll she made me, with a complete set of clothes, including a fake fur coat. I absolutely loved that doll!

My brothers and sisters all have families of their own now, and my mum remembers each one of her grandchildren and children at Christmas with a present. I'd love to treat my parents to a few days in a posh hotel, with all their family there for Christmas dinner. They'd love it.

Buy A Way from Heart to Heart by Helena Fairfax: Amazon Kindle U.S. * Amazon Kindle UK

Rachael Kosinski is the author of The Christmas Lights. What if someone told you Christmas lights were really for a miracle, for love, to light a boy’s way home?

Rachael's Christmas Story

Best Christmas present I've ever received? An electric keyboard I received when I was fourteen or so. I mean, I'm that person who's driven to tears when they hear some instrumentals. So I woke up one Christmas morning and found a keyboard under the tree--it can even sound like an electric guitar or piccolo if I want it to, and my mom always loves it when I come home because I'll play to relax.

I started my freshman year of college last year and I got really close to this one girl. She plays the piano with skill I'll never have and was wicked smart, but wasn't sure what she wanted to study and her mom kind of pressured her to go into medicine. Then, towards the end of last semester, her father suffered heart problems and isn't allowed to work. My gift would be for her dad to get well again. My gift would be that her dad recovers, which would be great in itself, and that she would be allowed to come back and study whatever she wants.

Buy The Christmas Lights by Rachael Kosinski: Amazon Kindle * B&N * MuseItUp

Martha O'Sullivan is the author of Last Chance, Book 3: Chances Trilogy. The single-digit temperatures and snowcapped peaks of the Lake Tahoe winter are no match for lifelong friends- turned-lovers, Moira Brody and Paul Webster, and their long-bridled desire.

Martha's Christmas Story

The best Christmas present I ever received was not for me. It was FROM me. But I enjoyed it just as much. It was when my older daughter was about three. My parents, my husband and I (with baby sister in tow) had been patiently waiting for her to wake up. We were standing at the bottom of the stairs as she walked tentatively down, clad in red and white footie Christmas pajamas. She peered around the corner, her sleepy eyes becoming saucer-like with delight when she saw the Barbie Jeep next to the tree. The utter joy I felt at watching her stays with me yet today. And the gift I would love to give? We live in Florida now and both my girls (and even me a little bit) miss snow on Christmas. I would love to have artificial snow blown on the front yard as a surprise on Christmas morning. I have a feeling the reaction would be just as magical.

Buy Last Chance by Martha O'Sullivan: Amazon Kindle * B&N * RedSagePublishing

Jina Bacarr is the author of A Soldier's Italian Christmas. American GI and a nun fall in love in war-torn Italy during the cold winter of December 1943.

Jina's Christmas Story

When I was stationed in Italy, I wanted to do something special for Christmas Eve for the combat veterans on our base suffering from PTSD. I took a busload of soldiers to Midnight Mass in an ancient church in Pisa. We had mugs of hot chocolate and cookies I baked, and, boy, was it cold!

I never forgot the spiritual joy of seeing these men rediscover their faith in that medieval church with its high ceilings and hard wooden pews. A coming home for some, a new beginning for others. Seeing them smile again was the best gift I ever received. I wish I could give that gift of faith to every soldier trying to find their way back home.

Buy A Soldier's Italian Christmas by Jina Bacarr: Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Beppie Harrison is the author of The Grandest Christmas. A historical romance about what turned out to be a happy Christmas in Ireland with a young Irish commoner and the Anglo/Irish aristocracy muddled together.

Beppie's Christmas Story

The best Christmas present I ever received—because the least expected!—was the huge London Times World Atlas that my new English husband gave me on our first Christmas after we were married. We had little money, and I never dreamed of anything so lavish, but it suddenly opened the world to me. We still have it, although numerous borders have changed in the last 45 years, and it is still a precious treasure.

What I would most like to give him would be a two-volume set showing the routes of the British steam railways at their height: he still yearns for his adolescence spent largely, as far as I can tell, on railway platforms carefully noting down the numbers of steam locomotives as they came down the track into the stations. Maybe this year, if they arrive on time?

The Grandest Christmas by Beppie Harrison: at Amazon Kindle * CreateSpace * iBooks

Lynn Crain is the author of A Viennese Christmas. The heart knows the language of love.

Lynn's Christmas Story

One year, because my husband traveled a lot, he brought me home jewels from various places. He got most of them set into gold for that Christmas, and I didn't know a thing about it. I thought my youngest was 'borrowing' them for show and tell or something. He was actually getting them for his Dad to take to the jewelers and didn't want me to know. It ended up being a great Christmas for everyone in our family. And that's what I'd love to give to my family this year...but it won't happen for a while as it's expensive...but I plan to do so in the near future. Right now, I live far away from my family. My husband and I live in Vienna, Austria, while the rest of our clan lives in Nevada. I'd love to be able to have everyone come visit me for at least one Christmas before we go home. It would be so wonderful to have us all together again, just like we were with the Christmas of the jewels.

Buy A Viennese Christmas by Lynn Crain: All Romance eBooks * Amazon Kindle U.S. * Nook

Jacqueline Patricks is the author of Fairytale Apocalypse. A Romance of Apocalyptic Proportions.

Jacqueline's Christmas Story

For Christmas one year, I received a hug of gratitude from a stranger. My husband and I had started our annual tradition of paying off Christmas lay-aways for others, and we'd chosen random accounts. One person happened to be there when we paid hers off and kept hugging and thanking me. I would love to give that same gift of gratitude to as many people as I could since gratitude is more valuable than anything material.

Buy Fairytale Apocalypse by Jacqueline Patricks: Amazon Kindle

I'm Lucky Number 13

I decided to make this a baker's dozen and announce another free book and a 99cents Romance Collection Box Set. The free book is Holiday Decorating, a companion book to the Christmas on Main Street Romance Collection.

Each of the authors in the Christmas Box Set contributed a favorite craft or holiday decorating idea to the book. You can even watch the YouTube video I created to show you what the craft book is about.

If you haven't downloaded Holiday Decorating, free to all, get it now. It's available at Amazon Kindle * iTunes * Kobo * Nook

Only 99 cents for 12 Novels
Then for only 99cents, buy Christmas on Main Street Romance Collection, a box set of 12 full-length novels, all set during the holidays. My contribution to the box set is Nobody's Cinderella. (Amazon never put the right cover up on the box set so you won't see my name on the cover image on the book's webpage, but I've been promised that my book is in the set.)

Buy Christmas on Main Street: Amazon Kindle iTunes * Kobo * Nook

I'm giving away 1 box set to a lucky reader. Leave your email with a comment on this post.

Post Script from Joan

Did you spot the authors who are giving away books? To be eligible to win, leave your email address (written out, not as a hot link) with a comment on this post. Comments are open for this until Dec. 29. Those giving away books will select winners and notify them by email on or before Jan. 5, 2015.

Takeaway Truth

In our culture, it's popular to say, "Live in the present." That's good advice--especially during the holidays when we tend to get frazzled by creating the perfect holiday experience. Forget perfect. Aim for relaxed and joyful. Laugh more. Frown less. Have a Happy Christmas Present.


  1. Hi, Joan, I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning sneaking downstairs to see if Santa has come yet...yep!! All kinds of beautiful Christmas presents from these fab authors. Each story warms your heart...thank you for making me part of your 12 Authors of Christmas Present. Happy Holidays!!

    1. Jina, it's been lovely meeting you. So happy to have you as part of this special Christmas party.

      Happy Holidays!

    2. Wanted to tell you that I love your Tweets! Thanks so much.

  2. Thanks for having me Joan. It looks great! Merry Christmas.

    1. Hello, Martha. My pleasure. Thank you for taking part!

      Happy Holidays!

  3. Loved reading these stories, Joan. Thanks so much for the beautiful post. Happy Christmas!

    1. Helena, even though it's a lot of work, I love doing these author events.

      Happy Holidays!

  4. Great to be in such great company. Merry Christmas to all!

    1. Hello, Libby. So glad you could take part.

      Happy Holidays!