Fruit Art in “A December Knight”

My mother always said, “Don’t play with your food.” I listened to her most of the time, but chose not to say the same thing to my kids. Perhaps because of this, they sometimes arranged their food in interesting patterns and made animals from them.

When I was a kid, no one created interesting figures from food, and they certainly didn’t create fantastic art with it. I remember first seeing fruits and vegetables transformed into art about 20 years ago.

When I thought of what Georgina in A December Knight wanted to do with her life, food art felt like the perfect profession for her. Transforming food into a work of art is not only cool, but I think as a teen in the late 1990s, I might have wanted to make a career out of it.

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An Old Poem with a Romantic Twist

Looking for a quote to start my Christmas romance novel, A December Knight, the ones I found just didn’t feel right. They didn’t immediately make me think, “That’s it!”

After careful thought, I decided to write my own, and this popped into my head.

Twas the night before Christmas

and from below and up above,

creatures were stirring and

confessing their love.

It fit perfectly for this hot romance. To warm up your winter nights, download it from Amazon. If you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, you get to read for free.

Snow, Snow and More Snow for “A December Knight”

Yesterday, we woke to about 8 inches of snow that had fallen over night, and it was still snowing. Roads were covered, wind was blowing, car accidents were happening. It’s winter weather in Nova Scotia even though winter doesn’t officially arrive for almost two weeks.

Schools were closed, and highway plough trucks worked to clear the roads, throwing it 20 feet into the air and spreading it over the front yard. Private plough truck operators were also out, some probably since midnight.

Snow, or should I say, snow storms play a major role in A December Knight. After all, it takes place in December in Nova Scotia. The province can go from one extreme to the next, one year having only a few small snow storms in winter to having a few feet fall in one day. In this Christmas romance, it’s a very snowy December.

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The eBook Links for “A December Knight” are Live

Early yesterday morning, the eBook links at Amazon for A December Knight went live.

EXCLUSIVELY AT AMAZON

eBook

Kindle Unlimited members read for free.

This Christmas romance came about because I wanted to write a story that took place at Christmas time and in one of my favourite locations: Cole Harbour. You know, Home of Sydney Crosby. He may have put the community on the world map, but it was a great place to be long before that.

Continue reading “The eBook Links for “A December Knight” are Live”

A Favourite Restaurant in “A December Knight”

One of the things I love about writing stories is the ability to include places I’ve been. A December Knight takes place in the community where I spent the first 29 years of my life. This allowed me to use one of my favourite restaurants in a scene: The Palladium Family Restaurant.

The Palladium wasn’t always The Palladium. It started out in the early 1980s as Champ’s Restaurant. When I was in grade 9 and attending Sir Robert Borden Junior High, which was across the street and up a short hill from the eatery, my friends and I would sometimes go to this restaurant for lunch.

Sir Robert Borden Junior High today – street view

I didn’t have much money, so I always ordered the same thing: plate of fries and chocolate sundae. I can’t remember the exact price, but it was something like $2.20 for the meal. I recall the dark-haired waitress who served us was very kind to us teenagers. Probably because we didn’t make unnecessary noise and were respectful. We came, we ate, we chatted about the day and left quietly.

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A Hot Christmas Romance that Will Melt the Snow from Your Tree

A December Knight was supposed to be released last year, but… Sometimes things don’t go as planned. However, this year, it’s a go!

I consider this novel to be your typical, run of the mill romance story. It has two main characters looking for love and when they find it, they’re eager, yet there’s something holding them back. I’m no Nora Roberts or Harlequin Romance author, but from the ones I’ve read, A December Knight follows a similar story line.

Here’s the first scene.

Chapter 1, Scene 1

Emmie Cooper stiffened when she heard the exasperation in her mother’s voice.

“Christmas? It comes too early and never leaves quick enough.”

“Humbug, Jan! I love the holidays,” said Lorette Dalrymple. “Magic fills the air when everyone is happy and giving.”

“You mean when they are spending money they don’t have on gifts no one needs.”

Emmie burrowed deeper into the closet, letting the jackets on the clothes hangers disguise her hiding place. Her mother and Aunt Lorette sat at the kitchen table drinking tea. She hadn’t intended to eavesdrop, but she was almost into the room before she realised they were there. Instead of saying hello and drawing attention to herself, she sneaked into the shadow of the closet. With Christmas only two weeks away, she expected to hear about a gift bought for her. She had been dreaming of many wonderful things but had narrowed her list down to ten: five for the list she’d given to her mother and five written in her letter to Santa.

“Oh, come on; where’s your holiday spirit?” said Lorette.

“It went out with last week’s trash,” said Jan.

“Honestly, sis, I don’t know what to make of you. Every year you dive into depression as if it’s a punch bowl laced with rum. It’s as if someone killed your cat, swiped your favourite heels and posted your baby-fat pictures on Facebook all in one day.”

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A Novel with a Slow-burn Romance: “Seeds of Life”

I’ve read many reviews where readers express their dislike for books where it takes forever for the couple to come together. They call this a slow-burn romance. However, I’ve read just as many that express the same dislike for insta-love stories where the couple meet and are instantly in love within the first chapter.

This insta-love sort of happens in A December Knight, though it is not as quick as the first chapter. Two weeks into the relationship, the couple, Jan and Delanie, are madly in love. This is quick as far as I’m concerned.

I believe in love at first sight, but I know this doesn’t happen with most relationships.

Personally, I like writing a mixture of books. Some have insta-love and others have slow burns. I also write some where the speed of love falls somewhere in the middle.

For Seeds of Life, I wanted the romance to take its time. I wanted to nurture it through shared experiences. The couple in this novel are new to romance, so in one minute, they like each other and in another, they like their freedom more.

For those who love insta-love, this book may not satisfy them. For those who love slow burns, well, I think you will love this.

Actually, I’m not certain they’ll stay together. Is that a spoiler alert? There are many forces pulling them apart and at 70,000 words, they have decided they’re better off single. Let’s see where the next 30,000 words finds them.

I’ll finish writing Seeds of Life by December 31st. It will go into the cellar to ripen for at least four months. I’ll haul it out in the spring, give it a read and see where it stands. I hope to publish it in October 2021.

The first raw, unedited chapter is on its book page here: Seeds of Life. The word count appears daily in the right-hand margin.

eBook Sale

The eBook for the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes is on sale for 99 cents until Sunday December 6th. That’s a $4.00 savings. This sale is only in Canada. You’ll find it at Amazon.ca.

Have a great weekend, and remember, Be kind to your future self.

“A December Knight” Takes Place in the Year…

There is no year mentioned in my Christmas romance novel, A December Knight. However, it definitely didn’t take place in the last five years. I wrote the story in November 2015, so it was contrived from that viewpoint from little ol’ Nova Scotia that is thankfully 20 years behind the rest the world.

Cell phones are in use, and they’re not plugged into a battery pack hooked to a vehicle, so it’s after 1995. The 18-year-old in the story has a cell phone and can text, but the general population is not addicted to their phone. From a quick search, the first text message was sent in 1992, but that was crude from computer to phone and no reply could be issued since phones were incapable of sending texts.

Body piercings, tattoos and unnatural hair colours were rare, so they stood out in public. In some places in Nova Scotia, they still do cause heads to turn.

Digital picture frames were all the rage. I’ve never owned one, but I recall when my mother—who is technology challenged—received one for Christmas from a well-meaning family member.

Photoshops were still shops customers who wanted to make prints from negatives visited to get their roll of film developed and printed. These shops sold digital cameras, but many other stores were also starting to sell cameras on a large scale.

Jan Cooper, the main character in the story, manages a camera shop, so these details are important.

The Sears Christmas Wish Book, the one Emmie searches through to find the doll in question, is still published. This catalogue teased and entertained children from 1933 to 2011. It was resurrected in 2017, but once again returned to the tomb of time. This indicates the story was before 2011.

I recall the many hours pouring over this wish book as a child, dreaming of what I might get. Long before Christmas day arrived, it was tattered with pages torn out and would-be gifts circled with pen or marker. In its golden years, customers knew ordering from Sears meant quality. However, by year 2000, that promise had been broken. Perhaps because things came marked “Made from China” instead of “Made in Canada” or “Made in the USA”.

The Welcome to Cole Harbour – Home of Sydney Crosby sign at the corner of Caldwell Road and Cole Harbour Road stands. It was put up before I moved from the area in 1996.

A December Knight takes place in a simpler time, before politics dominated every conversation and before identity politics divided the landscape. It’s about work, financial security, family and the smell of a real Christmas tree in the house. It’s about realising dreams and having the courage to follow them. It’s about finding love in the chaos of snowstorms, Christmas rush and retail madness leading up to the big day.

If I had to guess, I’d say the story takes place in 2004. It was a time when my kids gathered around the television to watch Frosty the Snowman and The Year Without a Santa and made snowmen in the backyard. It was simpler and better than the social media world of today.

A December Knight arrives just before Christmas.

The Details for the Romance Novel “A December Knight”

The next book in the Romance Collection, a true romance novel, is A December Knight. Written more than seven years ago, the story takes place in the late 1990s when digital cameras were all the rage and before cell phones became the camera of choice for the general population.

The main character, Jan Cooper, lives in Cole Harbour, Halifax County, Nova Scotia. She works at Mic Mac Mall in the nearby city of Dartmouth.

Here’s the description for the novel.

When Santa fails to deliver, a knight bestows the perfect gift.

It’s two weeks until Christmas, and all Jan Cooper can think about is surviving the rush of holiday shoppers. As the manager of a camera shop, she’s obligated to put on a happy face and wish her customers a merry Christmas.

What the single mother wants to do is curl up in a warm chair with a cup of hot cocoa, read a book and let the season pass without her. When a handsome customer crashes into her well-organised life, she discovers what she really wants for Christmas.