Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology
Christmas Kisses is a collection from five bestselling and award-winning authors. Set in the snowy town of Echo Ridge in upstate New York, these inspirational romances are sure to delight while you sip cocoa by the fire and listen to Christmas carols.
Someday Reese Gates will own The Candy Counter at Kenworth’s; but someday can’t come fast enough when the manager threatens to bring in a national candy provider. Reese secretly takes matters into her own hands hoping to save her parents from additional worry and prove herself capable of running the company. Her deception deepens as she ropes computer guru Andy Edwards into helping her expand the business. Reese wanted to shake things up, but she wasn’t planning on her heart getting caught in the mix by Andy’s stolen kisses. If she can hold it together until after Christmas, then she can reveal her successful online company and her feelings for Andy.
Unfortunately for Reese, even the best laid plans can melt like chocolate.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s S’mores
Night owl, or early bird? Night owl
Coffee or tea?
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? BOTH!!
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Ocean
Walking or fitness club? Running. J
What does your writing schedule look like?
I wish I had a schedule. I cram writing into every spare minute of my day. If I’m folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher, I’m using that time to work on plot development or to flush out a character. Driving time is great for playing through scenes in my head. Actual time at the computer is 1-3 hours a day–if I’m lucky. But it’s okay. Being a mom comes first.
Do you use your own experiences?
To an extent. For example, my family has dipped chocolates for Christmas ever since I can remember. I used my experience making caramels, fondants, and dipping chocolates for Reese in The Candy Counter Heiress. Every flavor mentioned in the book is one I’ve dipped in chocolate myself. The technique of hand-dipping, which I use, is also portrayed in the book.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
Yep. I had a title before I had a story. When we got together to discuss the premise for the anthology, we talked about centering it around a department store at Christmas time. My thoughts immediately went to the old ZCMI chocolate counter and I just knew that was where I wanted to place my character.
What was your first job?
I loved my first job. I worked in a shoe store. It was awesome to get a discount on shoes and I loved the elderly ladies that came in. They were a hoot!
What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m an active person so I’m constantly on the move. I run, cycle, wakeboard, ski, and hike. If I’m home, I’m usually cooking, baking, cleaning, sewing, or helping kids with homework. I have four kids and they keep me busy.
by Cami Checketts Amazon bestselling author
Chelsea Jamison has been infatuated with Drew Stirling longer than she’s loved playing basketball, high-top sneakers, and the Knicks. Unfortunately, all Drew sees is the kid who kicked his trash in the high school free throw contest and not the girl whose heart breaks into a fast dribble when he’s near.
Drew makes an unexpected visit home to Echo Ridge and their friendship picks up where they left off as they scheme to make a teenaged boy’s Christmas dreams come true. When Chelsea realizes she’s fallen for her best friend, she wonders if there is any hope of a relationship with Drew or if she’s stuck in buddy-status for life.
Soda Fountain Christmas
by Connie E. Sokol Amazon bestselling author
Keira Kenworth has one focus this holiday season: save her father’s old-time department store from bankruptcy. She is not focused on Tayton Wells, the tall, dark, and genius marketing guru from downtown New York, hired to make it happen. He is as doubtful that her nostalgic connect-the-town ideas will succeed as she is about his numbers-first plan. However, it’s not just their different approaches that cause sparks to fly. Working together on a fast deadline to save the store before Christmas, the unspoken connection between them grows. But will the tough decisions they face drive them back to their separate worlds, or will they lead to the beginning of love?
Use Mother Mantras on Tough Days
Recently, a friend of mine shared what she had learned at her child’s science fair. One of the exhibits presented two microscope slides and what had resulted when water droplets were placed on them and then spoken to (not a typo). To the first slide, the person had spoken negative words, and to the other slide, only positive words were spoken. Then both slides were put in the freezer for a period of time.
Afterward, and quite amazingly, the negative word slide had only the water droplets. But the positive word slide had beautiful crystals.
Although we may be aware of the power of words, we may not realize their power toward ourselves, and how much we need, and could use, their positive boost. When was the last time a word or phrase helped you through a rough spot, especially as a parent? In talking with women, here are a few tips I’ve learned for helpful Mothering Mantras.
Keep it real.
Forget the cheesy ones—they’re annoying and useless. Use mantras that are tried and true, such as scriptures or quotes, something that gives you a deep breath and moves you forward. Some of my favorites includes, “The grass will still grow,” “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” and from my friend, “That’s part of being a family” (mostly in relation to disgruntlement at chores, errands, or functional family dos). Posted next to my bed are a few standbys, from Rudyard Kipling to Emily Barrett Browning. But one of my oft-used favorites is from Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Mainly because understanding the intricate job requirements of motherhood has taken, and will continue to take, many good years.
Of course, I always like a good twist on an old favorite. The Serenity Prayer is beautiful and healing. And, this version in Mary Ellen Edmunds book, You Can Never Get Enough of What You Don’t Need, works too.
“Grant me the serenity to know what I can change. Let me change what I can. Let me accept that which I cannot change. Let me ignore that which I cannot change or accept. Let me run away from that which I cannot change, accept, or ignore. Let me lock myself in the bathroom, hold my hands over my ears, and hum about that which I cannot change, accept, ignore, or run away from. Let me bite those who can change, accept, ignore, run. Let me be!”
Use mantras with children.
Some of my most helpful phrases are ones that I use with my children. When they complain about our checking social media, phones, or where they are going—and even say, Don’t we trust them?—I use a phrase from a friend: “Trust but verify.” That has helped many a situation and child to know that we do love and trust them. And, as invested parents, part of our job is to verify. And to ignore resulting eye-rolling or whining to said explanation on trusting and verifying.
Seek for the right mantra on a given day.
What women shared and I have found is that if we seek it, we will find it, right when we need it. One morning I was jogging/walking/corralling my children when a neighbor drove by and stopped for a moment to chat. She had been through a difficult experience within the last year, as I had also (unbeknownst to her). At one point in her conversation she shared, “You know, you’ve got to learn to be lonely. You’ve got to feel the hurt to get through to the other side.” Those two phrases distilled down to my new necessary mantras: Learn to be lonely, and, You’ve got to feel the hurt to get through it.
Expand the mantra to a family mission statement.
If you feel brave, or bored, consider taking some of your favorite Mothering Mantras and adding them to your family statement. One of ours is, “Work hard, play hard, pray hard.” When children give me grief about a family project or family prayer, I feel great joy in reciting this one explanatory line, in that teaching mother tone.
Consider the Mothering Mantras that get you through your day, and even share one with a friend, or a child. And feel the power of the positive words.
Hope for Christmas
by Rachelle J. Christensen Amazon bestselling & award-winning author
Anika Fletcher hates Christmas–its promises of good tidings and hope for the future are as tinseled as the ornaments on Kenworth’s Hope Tree. Despite her feelings, Anika wants to maintain her daughter’s faith in the magic of the season and gladly accepts a second job working with the handsome Carlos Rodriguez to restore Kenworth’s old fashioned soda fountain. Carlos is no stranger to hard times and slowly shares his life of light and joy with Anika as they work together. Just as her fragile soul begins to feel hope again, an ill-timed act of charity changes everything. Anika isn’t sure who she can trust or if hope is worth nurturing–especially at Christmas when it’s easy to enjoy a kiss and believe love can last longer than the season.
by Heather Tullis Amazon bestselling author
Jonah Owens thought moving to Echo Ridge to open his art gallery would solve all of his problems. The need to sell his grandma’s house adds an unexpected complication. It would be easier if his neighbor didn’t have all those farm animals.
Kaya Feidler’s family has owned their land for nearly a hundred years–long before the neighbors were there. There’s no way she’s giving up the animal therapy business she’s been struggling to make profitable. She gets a temp job helping Jonah in the gallery.
Spending time together is a recipe for romance, but can they overcome their own hangups to be more than friends?
It’s been a crazy, busy month and I’m at work catching up on my reading and reviewing. I’ll be posting my review for Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology later this month. Thank you all for your patience and understanding during my travels and now helping care for my five year old granddaughter while she mends from tonsillitis, mononucleosis, and both ears with infection.