There are very few things I enjoy more than a good Christmas story, and this year, I’m so excited to tell you about two Christmas tales by Bethany House authors! Becky Wade concluded the love story of two of her secondary characters in her short story, “The Proposal,” and Melissa Tagg used her semi-autobiographical crush on a cover model to inspire the plot of her novella, One Enchanted Christmas.
These are both available in ebook form (click on the titles above or the covers at the end of the post) for less than the cost of a fancy peppermint-mocha-latte. (And side-note: I loved both of them!) Read them, send them to a friend as an early “stocking stuffer” gift (all you need is your friend’s email address, the click “Buy as Gift” on your favorite e-retailer), and enjoy a sneak peek inside both stories in my chat with the authors.
Amy: Give me a “teaser” for the plot of your Christmas story that’s the length of a tweet.
Becky: “The Proposal” just might include singing firefighters (why yes…you read that right), a cookie party, romance, and lots of Christmas cheer.
Melissa: 1 mystery author with a crazy crush + 1 guy who will do anything to save his family + 1 charming small town = One Enchanted Christmas.
Amy: Perfect. If I weren’t already intrigued, those teasers would do it! Now, if you were buying a Christmas present for the couple in your story, what would it be and why? (You can get them each an individual present if you want.)
Becky: I’d buy them a night of babysitting! Why? Because Amber’s son Jayden is a handful! I’m guessing that Amber and Will would love a romantic evening out together.
Melissa: Oh, this is so fun! My main characters are a mystery writer named Maren and a small-town Iowa guy named Drew.
I would give Maren piano lessons. There’s a scene in the story when she’s checking out this antique piano in Drew’s house and mentions that she barely plays—never really had a chance to learn. And frankly, the girl needs a hobby besides teaching and writing. LOL!
Drew, no question…I’d give him a coat. Because the guy never wears a coat! And he lives in Iowa! You just don’t walk around without a coat in the dead of winter in Iowa. Except, he’s kinda stubborn so the chances of him actually wearing it may be slim to none. But still.
Amy: Those are all wonderful ideas. (I seriously love that question and might have to start asking it all the time now.) Now, here’s one for you guys, not your characters: what is one of your favorite holiday traditions?
Becky: The kids in our family dress up as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels—and sometimes even the donkey!—every Christmas Eve. Then they act out the nativity story for the assembled family members. This tradition started when I was in kindergarten and has been going strong ever since. It’s too cute for words. I look forward to it every year!
Melissa: I really would like to say holiday baking, but my family still talks every year about the time I nearly started a fire trying to make peanut brittle, soooo…I’ll go with this instead: I love watching classic Christmas movies. Love it. And if there’s a fireplace and hot chocolate involved, all the better. My favorite of all time is It’s a Wonderful Life, but I have at least a dozen other favorites, too.
Amy: Love both of those! Okay, readers, time for the Christmas-sy fun to begin! I’ve linked both covers for you and included an excerpt below. (And if you’ve already read one or both, remember…one of the best gifts you can give an author is a review on Goodreads or a retail site!)
Excerpt from Becky’s romance story, “The Proposal”:
In the instant after a loud popping sound ripped through Amber Richardson’s car, her ’07 Chrysler Sebring lost its handling. It tugged her left at forty-five miles an hour into the night-dark oncoming lane of the two-lane road. Amber shrieked, her fingers tightening reflexively around the steering wheel, her headlights cutting across the broken white line. An oncoming car swerved and missed her by inches, its horn howling in indignation. The bright white lights of another car hurtled toward her, nearly blinding.
Just as she was about to follow her instinct to stomp on her brake and wrench the wheel, a memory of a long-ago Driver’s Ed teacher saying never to stomp on the brake or wrench the wheel sliced into her mind. If she followed her instincts, she might send her car into a spin.
She wrestled against the pull of the wheel. She was a mother! A head-on collision would be really, really bad right now. December twentieth was a terrible day to die.
She managed to white-knuckle the Sebring back to her side of the street just as the car with the glaring lights passed safely by.
A tremendous thumping sound rose around her. What in the world? Amber let the car’s drag slow it until she was able to jam it flush against the curb.
She blinked out the front windshield. Her breath was trembling every bit as much as her muscles.
Excerpt from Melissa’s novella One Enchanted Christmas:
Once upon a time—specifically, last December—author Maren Grant had what she thought might be the most perfect night of her life.
Actually, the word she used was “enchanted”—because she’s a writer and writers tend to get dramatic like that. She also might’ve said something to her best friend Remy about “being able to die happy now.”
But let’s be honest. She was only 29 at the time. She didn’t really want to die.
She did, however, want to relive that night. She talked about it all the time—at first to Remy and her other friends. And later, when they got sick of the story, to her dog Gilmore.
Why was it so perfect—ahem—enchanted? Well, it all started when…
Never mind. Let’s just show you…
Question for you, readers: if you were buying a Christmas present for the main character of the novel you just read, what would it be? (I told you, I like that question!) Authors, feel free to chime in with what you would give the main character(s) of your last book.