Saturday, November 18, 2017

Round Robin Blog Fest November 18, 2017

It's been a very busy Fall for me so I apologize for not keeping up with the blog! Between work and finishing my latest novel, there hasn't been much time for sanity, but I'm back for another Round Robin Blog Fest.
         This month's topic is:
What stories have your written or read where a holiday takes place. To what purpose was the inclusion of the holiday? How do you celebrate holidays or events? Does this ever make it into one of your stories?

Definitely! Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and my novel The Bakery Lady takes place during the Christmas season. I included the holiday for a few reason:

  • to use a version of the Twelve Days of Christmas where someone showers my leading lady Christina Davidson with gifts
  • to magnify the family issues Christina faces
  • to include her frustration with building a gingerbread house
  • to show a small town type of Christmas that I've come to love including a gigantic Christmas tree at town hall, hot chocolate from local vendors, and wandering the streets to gaze at the lights.
In our home, one of the things I used to do with my own kids is create homemade gingerbread houses. Eventually, we pared them down to gingerbread cookies which friends and family look forward to every year along with sugar cookies, my infamous pink peppermint cookies and some very addictive caramel popcorn.

This year, I need to modify things. My kids are mostly grown and won't be home for Christmas this year. For the first time in over twenty years, I'll be on my own for Christmas. Time for some new traditions! I'll still do some baking, but will have to ship it out to them all. I'm looking forward to the light display in a local park, as well as along our main street which never fails to make me smile.

I do hope you'll check out my novel. Simply click on the link to purchase!

An Excerpt from The Bakery Lady:

 The backdoor flew open. Clancy stomped the snow off his shoes then looked up. “Oh, you have a visitor, I see.”
Christina rolled her eyes. “Actually, I kidnapped her so I wouldn’t be lonely until you showed up.”
Lucy’s face reddened. “It’s okay, I was just leaving.”
“No, you’re not. I haven’t finished icing your cake yet.” She set aside the carrot cake and grabbed two of the chocolate layers. “The kids like chocolate with caramel and custard, right?”
“You’re getting a cake? What’s the occasion?” Clancy peered over Christina’s shoulder.
Lucy’s eyes widened. “Um, I...”
“It’ll be about ten minutes. Clancy, why don’t you take Lucy up to Java Jo’s and grab me a cup of tea.” She all but pushed them out the front door.
“Um, okay.” Clancy glanced from Christina to Lucy. “Is everything okay?”
“Yup.” Christina nudged him with her elbow since her hands were full of buttercream. “Take Lucy with you. She wanted to grab a cup of coffee while she waited anyway.”
“Yeah, I did.” Lucy narrowed her eyes, then whispered, “You’re sneaky.”
“Getting rid of both of us? How convenient.” Clancy scowled. “Where are my calzones?”
Christina smiled. “You bring me tea, then I’ll feed you.”
“Shall we?” Her brother stood in front of Lucy and held out his arm. “You didn’t really order a cake, did you? My sister’s up to something, isn’t she? Is Leo hiding back here somewhere?”
“You are so dense some days.” Lucy shook her head. When he opened the front door, she left the bakery ahead of him.
Warmth spread through Christina’s stomach. She liked Lucy Stephen already.
By the time Leo returned in the early afternoon, she had three walls of the gingerbread house erected with a bowl in the center to hold them up. He smiled his approval then sat on the stool to watch. She ignored him and attached the fourth wall. After she put on the roof pieces, she stepped back to admire her handiwork.
“Bravo.” He applauded. “You’ve successfully incarcerated a defenseless bowl.”
“What are you talking about?” Her eyes widened.
He grinned. “You left your bowl inside.”
“I did?” Christina’s shoulders sagged as one side of the roof slid off and revealed the yellow bowl inside. The other side of the roof slid and dragged off a wall. Her eyes widened as the remaining three walls toppled. When she swore, Leo covered his mouth and convulsed with laughter.
Christina couldn’t stop the tears, nor did she bother, she was too frustrated. “I can’t do this. I’ll just go buy a stupid gingerbread house. There’s no way I can make one by tomorrow.”
Leo grasped her arms and pulled her close, pressing her against his chest.
She poured out every ounce of frustration in her tears then looked at the ruins. “Why can’t I do this? It’s not that difficult, is it?”
His arms remained firm around her. “What would your mom tell you?”
She laid her head on his chest, the thumps of his heart calming her as she gazed as the mess of icing and cookie. “She’d say I was too impatient and need to let the walls set before I put on the roof. That and the icing’s too thin.”
“Problem solved.” Leo nodded. “Oh, and you should stop giving away your bowls.”
“How else am I supposed to get three walls to stay up while I put on the fourth?”
He gazed into her eyes. “Ask a friend for help.”
Christina looked up. She’d never thought of that. “I don’t have any friends. Well, except Clancy, but he doesn’t count.”
“I could be your friend.” Leo touched her chin.
She hesitated and licked her lips. “Can you hold up the walls of a gingerbread house?”
“I can manage that.” He closed the gap between them. “Can we call a truce?”
“For now.” Her heart hammered against his leather jacket. The heat that emanated off his body made her want to kiss him. To rip his coat off and...
Not one of her better ideas. Instead, she pulled away from him and scrubbed her hands at the sink. She thickened the icing while Leo scraped icing off the pieces of the house. Together, they stood the walls to make a solid base for the roof.
When his hands brushed hers, her knees nearly buckled. “Why are you helping me?”
“Because you asked.” Leo shrugged. “Clancy’s worried about you and, between you and me, I think you’re kind of interesting.”
Her face warmed. “Gee, thanks.”
With help, the gingerbread house took no time at all to finish. This time when Christina stood back to admire her work, the roof and walls stayed in place.

I hope you'll hop around to visit some of my fellow authors.
Have a wonderful time and I hope to see you next month!


  1. Diane, baking around Christmas time is one of my favorite things. :) It's a nice tradition to have!

  2. Diane, if the lead-in photo is of your cookies, it's impressive (even if not, you made me want cookies). I love to bake, too, but my kids left a long time ago, so we travel at Christmas. Have to bake early to take the cookies with us. You use the holiday to such good purpose in your story!


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