Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Remember When . . . A Christmas Story & Gift!


So I have a story idea. Shocking, right? ;-) I need to finish The Outcast Duchess before I really dig into it, but my goal is to make that transition in the next week.

Why? Because I'd like to write a Christmas story, and I figured it would be fun to do, you know...over Christmas.

It's been a while since I've read a Christmas-themed book, though. I used to read several every year, but, well...then I had kids and started homeschooling, and I'm lucky to read one book a month for pleasure.

If you have read any Christmas books in recent years, would you mind sharing your quick "must" and "must not" list? The parameters of my story will make it by nature very different from most that are out there, but I still want it to capture that feeling...

So I figured I'd offer a hand-dandy giveaway of my latest, and all you have to do to enter is answer some/all of my questions. =)

Here they are:

  • What on a cover draws your eye and screams "Christmas!" in a positive way? Color? Certain items? People or no people?
  • Are there specific words in the title that attract/repulse you?
  • What themes most attract you? Just the seasonal setting? Christmas miracle stories? "Finding the true meaning" stories?
  • Is there a particular "feel" you associate with Christmas stories?
  • Traditionally, these books are shorter than a standard novel (perhaps because of seasonal busyness?)--do you like that or not?

And now more specifically...

  • What would you expect/want from me if I were to write a Christmas story?


Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. =) Now, to enter to win a copy of A Soft Breath of Wind (hello, Christmas gift! To you or someone else, LOL) just fill out the form here.

(The giveaway will only run through the end of the weekend, so I have time to get the book to the lucky winner before Christmas!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 comments:

  1. I wish I could help you here, but I have only read one Christmas story this year! However I have really been wanting an uplifting, light-hearted one that can make me laugh. I feel those are in short supply as I have wanted to read one that fits this category in the Christmas novel world. To answer your specific question, I would expect a little bit of suspense and of course some light romance! I like how you have done this in both of the novels I have read by you.

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    1. I don't think mine would be terribly lighthearted, LOL. This would be a biblical, and those of mine are, er...not so light. ;-) But the suspense and a good love story are definitely in my mind for it!

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    2. Haha I would still be okay with that and would read it as I have really loved your Biblical fiction novels! I was actually hoping it would be a Biblical one! :D

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  2. I want light romance but to gently remind the reason for the season without cramming it down readers throats which would be a hard line to walk. As far as length, midrange but make sure it is priced right based on length.

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    1. This would be set before the date of Christmas was even decided on, LOL, so a very different approach to the "reason for the season," given that it gets at the actual roots and not what the season has become for us. =) But yes, price must match length!

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  3. I have read a few holiday stories and find that the ones which stand out to me are the ones about characters finding a way to gift those who need it in unexpected ways, thereby receiving the gift of knowing they have changed someone's life. I think that the truth of the holiday season is that it is a bright spot on an otherwise dark time of year -- winter can be cold and callous but finding that special time to brighten someone's spirits can be the light to carry through until spring.
    Also, I think covers that are more wintery than Christmasy appeal to a wider audience. I know some people who aren't into the tinsel but are into the spirit of the holidays.

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    1. Good thoughts, Mary! As I was playing around with a cover, I was trying to just use colors and a fireplace image to appeal to that idea...it's kinda set in a place that doesn't get snow, so no "wintry" look per se, but...

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  4. I really would love it if you could write a Christmas story set in the Victorian era--or in the era of your first Culper Spy Ring novel.... the wonderfully gorgeous 18th century :D

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  5. Oh, that would be fun. (And gee, Christmas *was* in Ring of Secrets! LOL. Not that she enjoyed that day...) My options are a bit limited contractually right now, but something to keep in mind!

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  6. Red and Green, of course, tell people right away its about Christmas! I love a nostalgic look to a cover, and I believe every good Christmas story has to be nostalgic and have some universal themes that everyone can relate to. Something that makes the reader see that what makes Christmas Christmas is what the true meaning is and how it matters to the human spirit. And food. Must have Christmas food!

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  7. 1. What draws me to a Christmas book is snow, and red and green. 2. I like the find the true meaning stories. 3. I feel warm and cheery whenever I read a Christmas story or book. 4. Short books are fine with me. It makes it easier for me to read. :) 5. I would want just a good warm romance story. One that would make me smile when I am done reading it. Thank you for the giveaway. :)

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  8. I do think that colors & scenery including snow, or streets with Christmas lights etc do say Christmas.

    I suppose Christmas in the title is a big giveaway.

    I do expect Christmas stories to have a warm, fuzzy feeling. Messages of joy, hope, love, family for example.

    I had not noticed that the stories are shorter. Interesting point.

    I'm not sure what to expect actually. Perhaps a wonderful story with a message.







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  9. I don't necessarily go for the strict red and green theme, a burgundy or blue and white go spectacular also. I would more associate snow or scenery, a tree, Christmas lights or presents with a Christmas theme. I love stories of renewed remembrance of the reason for the season at the time. I have been reading many Christmas novellas this past month and the ones that I loved had themes of nativity sets, gingerbread cookies, fruitcake, evergreen trees, Christmas stars, hot chocolate, snow bound or trapped. All the stories were cozy and had messages of Christ, joy, coming together and realizing family is important. I also found the unique story lines the most fun to read.

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  10. Roseanna - as soon as I saw this post, I was BEGGING for a Biblical (and perhaps even expecting one LOL) - and I am thrilled that that is what you are considering. Could you maybe focus on the prophetess Anna? Or something like that maybe?? I actually wrote a flash fiction about her a while back - and have wondered if I could expand it. Howz about you do it for me?? LOL

    As far as what I like, the only word that comes to mind i "magical" - but not in the abracadabra sense, I'm sure you realize LOL. Miracle and feel-good in general - though conflict is obviously fine.

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

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    1. LOL. Now, Joanne, I'm not gonna steal YOUR story! ;-) My idea is actually set in about 200 A.D., early church. I want to write something about the story that started1900 years' worth of tradition--about St. Nicholas the gift-giver. I don't know if you read my post about him last week, but I think protestant Christianity is selling him way short these days, associating him with all the evils of Christmas, when really he was a miracle-worker dedicated fully to God.

      And were you not on my influencer list for Soft Breath?? How did that happen, my blog flower??

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    2. Hehe - I did read your post about St. Nicholas (though didn't comment. This was a headless chicken week - still is LOL) - that WOULD be fascinating.

      And I'm not sure how I wasn't on your list - though I am scarcely reading anything longer than 1000 words anymore now that I'm writing picture books :). Maybe I mentioned that to you?

      My current novel reading project is Susie's "My Mother's Chamomile" - which I think I have been "reading" for at least a month but have gotten almost nowhere - and not because it isn't good, trust me!. (Did we tell you our kids go to the same school??) My goals is to be done with it before her next one comes out - and I don't think she even has a release date yet.

      Sorry - back to headless chicken land!

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  11. Finding Christmas
    cover ~ a lone fir tree undecorated with a streetlamp nearby, the kind the lamplighters lit
    There would have to be a mystery interwoven with your writings and movement ~ love hidden until found in the heart
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

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    1. Hmm. My story would be set before Christmas trees...and street lamps, LOL. But maybe a fireplace on the cover would help? You can count on a little mystery and love!

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  12. Your best works are ones written because they are closest to your heart and mission in writing, to glorify the Lord and tell of His works; this is reflected most in your biblicals. It would be fitting to write a prequel of Christ's birth. I advocate for another biblical. :) Just a thought...

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  13. I know this is a very late comment but just want to say that I think a Christmas story sounds lovely!

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