Need A Holiday Escape? Read A Book (Or Two!)
by Bru Baker
I’ve always been a sucker for sappy Christmas stories. It’s probably because my real-life holidays are so very far from perfection. The first time I hosted Thanksgiving dinner, I dropped the turkey on the floor about five seconds after it came out of the oven. And forget having a pretty tree. Glass ornaments are banned in my household because my cats think they are feather-light kitten ninjas, but they’re actually pudgy middle-aged klutzes, so the tree ends up on the floor several times each season. And that’s not even touching on the ridiculous things that my kids manage to get up to every December.
Anyway, try as I might to have idyllic holidays, my reality is more Norman Bates than Norman Rockwell. My holiday experiences so far this year:
Sick children: “Well, that’s what happens when you eat ALL the Advent calendar candy on the first day.”
To the cats: “Christmas trees are not for climbing.”
About the cats: “Yes, Santa will still fill your stocking even if a cat peed on it, as long as we wash it.”
To the children: “Christmas trees are not for climbing.”
DIY ornaments: “NO! That glitter bottle is upside down! Don’t open…oh God.”
My annual nutcracker hospital: “Nutcrackers aren’t made for battle, even though they look like soldiers. Now pass me the glue.”
And my favorite: “Did you tell your sister to climb up the chimney to check for Santa? DID YOU?”
So no, there’s never going to be a perfect Christmas in this household. (Hell, at this point I’d settle for one with no ER trips.) And that’s okay, since I can live vicariously through my characters. My first published work was Traditions from the Heart, a short in the 2012 Dreamspinner Press Advent calendar, so I have a history of writing fluffy, gooey feel-good stories for the holiday. This year I have two holiday novellas, and both of them uphold my tradition of being tooth-rottingly sweet.
The Magic of Weihnachten is part of the 2014 Dreamspinner Press Celebrate! Advent calendar. All of the books in the calendar this year feature stories set outside the United States, highlighting holiday traditions from other cultures. Mine is set in Germany, mostly because of my love of German Christmas treats. They feature in pretty heavily, as do some of the fun traditions that my German cousins used to love, like the enormous Christkindlmarkts and getting a boot full of candy from St. Nikolaus on Nikolaustag.
Other traditions, like the adorable kids parading through the streets dressed as the Magi, I stumbled across in my research. Since my research travel budget is zero, sadly I had to rely a lot on the Internet and whatever stories I’d picked up from my cousins over the years. I also took a few liberties with time lines, having things like the chalk house blessing that usually doesn’t occur until Epiphany happen earlier than they actually would because it worked better in the story. (Sorry!)
My other holiday novella, Late Bloomer, takes place a little closer to home. It’s set on a Christmas tree farm in Michigan, where David and Erik bond over their shared exasperation for working retail over the holidays, with all the crowds and Christmas music set on repeat that it entails.
The story starts off on Thanksgiving, and it doesn’t quite make it all the way through to Christmas, so it’s not a Christmas story exactly—more like a story about loneliness during the holidays and realizing that the front people put up isn’t always who they really are.
I’m giving away a copy of Traditions from the Heart to help get you in the holiday spirit. Aaron and Ben make new traditions as they spend their first Christmas together, with a lot of adorable fluff (and a goat!) along the way.
About The Magic of Weihnachten
American Walsh Brandt is happy when a promotion lands him his dream job and a quiet new life in Germany. Until December rolls around, when he realizes it’s almost impossible to hide from the holiday season in Germany.
Dierck Reiniger is fascinated by Walsh’s hatred of Christmas and makes it his personal mission to help Walsh enjoy Weihnachten and the German traditions he grew up with. Walsh has a great time getting to know Dierck—but he still isn’t sold on Christmas, despite Dierck’s efforts. Dierck’s on the rebound, and he’s determined to develop their physical relationship slowly, much to Walsh’s frustration. It isn’t until they’re alone in a secluded cabin—hiding from the traditional trappings—that Walsh finally recognizes what the magic of the season can bring when spent with someone special.
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon & All Romance eBooks
Don’t forget to check out Nikyta’s review of The Magic of Weihnachten to see what she thought of it!
About Late Bloomer
If not for his family and his Christmas tree farm, David Rochester would be a recluse. And Erik Shriver wouldn’t know a quiet moment if it smacked him in the face. But now David’s farm has brought them together. When Erik’s flurry of bad jokes and frenetic energy sets David off kilter, his family notices and begins conspiring. They push David and a very willing Erik together again and again until David stops denying his attraction. But an almost-hermit and a soon-to-be-former club boy each bring baggage into a relationship. They’ll have to take things slowly to find the middle ground between David’s taciturn silence and Eric’s boundless chatter.
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, & All Romance eBooks
Don’t forget to check out Nikyta’s review of Late Bloomer to see what she thought of it!
About Bru Baker
Bru Baker is a freelance journalist who writes for newspapers and magazines. Fiction makes her happiest, whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s. She and her husband live in the Midwest with their two young children, whose antics make finding time to write difficult but never let life get boring.
Visit Bru online at http://www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her next release is the third book in the Dropping Anchor series, Playing House, out on Dec. 22.
Bru has graciously offered up an eBook copy of Traditions from the Heart to one lucky winner!! The giveaway starts now and ends December 19, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway, except to verify your Rafflecopter entry.