About Me

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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Monday, 27 December 2010

blogging withdrawal symptoms

Is suffering blog withdrawal symptoms lol. Having posted everyday til the 25th - cept those few days when i was too sick to even look at a comp, it seems strange not doing so. Well I've been busy rewriting Rescue Dawn. It was fun doing it and I think its better for it. Now going back to Tuesdays Child. Figured I should have 3 done before I send the proposal of 7 to my editor. However Sky would fit into this wonderfully and wouldn't take much rewriting in order to do it. So that's a possibility.

In other news, R has succumbed to the dreaded lurgy. He's slept most of the last 2 days. He wants to go to my sisters tomorrow, but that depends how he is.

I dyed my hair this morning. It didn't look this colour on the packet tho, lol. Can't get a decent photo as you either get the double chin, missing teeth or both at the same time. So no photo.

I found a load of free books on Amazon, so I've added some to my kindle. I can get 3500 on there apparantly. Currently have 64 so plenty of room lol. And yes I do have mine on there.

Back to Niamh and Jared. Hope you all had a good Christmas. :)

Saturday, 25 December 2010

advent calender day 25

Pictures from the BBC Nativity which aired this week.
And now for todays final story

December 25th

Sophie sat by the phone. She had opened her stocking presents after breakfast, but wasn’t particularly interested in them. The rest of the presents still sat unopened under the tree. Her older brother David was building his Lego spaceship. Grandma was cooking dinner in the kitchen as Mummy had left the house very suddently before church. The phone rang and Mummy answered it. She'd burst into tears and shooed them from the room. After a bit, Grandma and Grandad arrived and Mummy went out.

It had been a horrid day. The worst Christmas ever. Normally they had dinner just after church in the morning, but not today. Then they opened all rest of the presents after the Queen’s Speech, but not today. The presents sat unopened under the tree and even though there were a few with her name on, none were what she wanted. That wouldn’t come in a box or wrapping paper. The best present of all would be Daddy coming home. That was all she’d asked Santa for and she hadn’t got it. He had to work and now Mummy was gone too.

Daddy had promised to ring. Sophie looked at the phone again, then at the clock. He wouldn’t ring now it was too late. Tears filled her eyes and she jumped down off the chair. She ran into the hallway and sat on the stairs in the dark. She wrapped her arms round her knees and leaned her head against the wall.

It was dark outside now and the lights round the door sparkled against the night sky. A car pulled up on the drive and doors slammed shut. Maybe Mummy was back. There were footsteps on the gravel and then a key turned in the lock.

Sophie looked up as a tall figure in uniform stepped into the hall, bringing a blast of cold air in with him. His uniform buttons were duller than she remembered and as he dropped his bag she hurtled across the hallway into his open arms. “Daddy!”


Happy Christmas. Hope you enjoyed these.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Advent calender Dec 24

eyes wide open, peeping over the edge of the bed

"He's been!" an excited voice calls.

"Shhh," a giggle. "You'll wake them up."

feet patter from one room to the other

paper rustles as eager fingers empty stockings trying to work out what the parcels are.

"Mine's bigger than yours."

"Can we wake them now? What's the time?"

more footsteps, this time heavier as they run to the clock.

"It's only two am. Mummy said six."

"Don't want to wait... let's go see if they're awake."

footsteps and dragging noises

excited whispers

the door gets pushed open

"Mummy are you awake?"

not answering she keeps her breathing regular

"Daddy are you awake?"


"Oh... okay.... He says he's not awake."

laughter from the hallway

"Maybe he's sleeping then..."

he tries not to laugh wondering how anyone could sleep with all this noise.

"Daddy are you sleeping?"


he pretends to snore

more laughter then running footsteps and four children jump onto the bed.

"Can we open our presents now? Please?"

tired eyes look at the clock then each other then at the excited eyes in front of them.

"Sure... then go back to bed."

ripping paper, screams of excitement

Christmas morning.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

advent calender dec 23

in lieu of a story - well to save putting it in one lol I bring you Stained Glass Window biscuits.

For the biscuits
350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
100g/3½oz butter
175g/6oz soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg, beaten
4 tbsp golden syrup
packet wrapped fruit-flavoured boiled sweets in different colours

To decorate
tube ready-made white icing
narrow ribbon

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2. For the biscuits, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ginger together in a bowl.

3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar.

4. In another bowl, beat together the egg and golden syrup, then pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix to make a smooth dough, kneading lightly with your hands.

5. Crush the sweets in their wrappers using a rolling pin.

6. Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to about 0.5cm/¼in thick, then cut into shapes using a selection of Christmas-themed cookie cutters. Transfer the biscuits to baking sheets lined with baking paper.

7. Cut out shapes in the centre of each biscuit, making sure you leave a good edge all around the biscuit. Completely fill the hole in each biscuit with crushed boiled sweets.

8. Make a hole at the top of each biscuit using a drinking straw so that you will be able to thread a ribbon through it later. Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown.

9. Remove the biscuits from the oven. While they're still warm, check that the holes are still there - if not, push a straw through again. Do not remove the biscuits from the baking tray until they have cooled because the boiled sweets need to harden. Once the sweets have hardened, gently lift the biscuits onto a wire rack with a palette knife to finish cooling.

10. If you like, you can decorate the biscuits with piped white icing. Thread ribbons through the holes in the biscuits to make loops for hanging from the tree.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

advent calender day 22

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas this year is a little help around the house from my husband. I know he has a really really important job and all and is super busy right now, but honestly, I work too. I have a novel deadline coming up and the house is so full too. The kids have thier friends over and they all want feeding.

And honestly they seem to think the laundry does itself. Then there's the baking, cleaaning, more laundry, dinner to do for at least 20 tonight. The dishes after dinner. It seems I'm the only one who knows how to wash dishes.

Anyway, if you could see it clear to getting him to help i'd appreciate it.

Hugs and kisses

Mrs Claus

ps if you're late home again tonight then your dinner will be IN the dog.

advent day 21

Pastor Jack looked at himself in the mirror tugged the jacket down over the unaccustomed girth he’d gained. He glanced up and saw the laughter in Cassie’s eyes. Then he rolled his eyes as there was a knock at the door. “Come in.”

Matt and Kyle came in. “You wanted to see...” Matt broke off then he laughed as he saw Jack.

“I told you that you shouldn't have had that extra cake at lunch,” Kyle managed laughing hard.

Jack sulked.

Cassie laughed. “But honey, its such a lovely shade of red.”

“Don’t even go there,” Jack screwed his nose up at her. “It’s not even my colour.”

Cassie handed him the false beard and wig. “But you look cute,” she said, her smile widening as she watched him put them on.

Jack humphed and pulled the hat on. “Not as cute as the three of you will do in these!” He held up three outfits with a huge smirk on his face. Then he laughed as he watched the grins on the faces of the others replaced by horror.

“Oh no,” Cassie said backing away.

“Oh yes,” he said.

Matt shook his head. “Actually we’re all needed at work this afternoon. Stuff to do, lights to put up, trees to decorate...”

“Don’t you dare move!” Jack told them. “If we’re serious about this, then Santa needs his elves. And that is the tree of you.” He handed them the costumes.

Kyle looked hopefully at his wife. “Don't you have anything to say?” he asked hoping that Holly would want them on the other side of the country in the next half an hour.

Holly shook her head. “No, cos you kinda look cute in green.”

Monday, 20 December 2010

advent calender day 20

“What is it?” Sophie asked picking up the doll.

“It’s a nutcracker,” Grandma told her.

“Looks more like a doll.”

He smiled. “It is but it's a magical doll.”

“Magic?” Her eyes widened. “Does he have a story?”

“He certainly does.” Grandma sat on the couch next to her. “Once upon a time,” she began. An hour later she finished reading and looked down at the sleeping child in her arms. She wondered if Sophie were dreaming of soldiers and mice men and sugar plum faires.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

advent calender day 19

Sara looked down at the mess in front of her. It had looked so easy when she read the instructions and she wanted this to be perfect and special. This was their first real Christmas together.

Last year did not count. She had been trying to ignore how she really felt about Luke and trying to hate him instead. After all he was the cop who was pretending to be the father of her unborn twins and masquerading as her dead husband. Then she had been kidnapped and then rescued in the early hours of Christmas morning only to then pass out and need an emergency caesarean section.

At least that had brought the both of them to their senses and he had proposed a few days later.

So this was their first Christmas as husband and wife. The twins’ first Christmas as well as their first birthday. The huge tree sat in the bay window and Luke’s pile of perfectly wrapped presents sat there mocking the pathetic attempt in front of her.
Sara threw the screwed piece of paper across the room and screamed in frustration.

“Honey, you okay?” Luke called from the other room.

“Just peachy,” she replied.

“Want some help?”

“No I can manage.”

“Okay hon. Making cocoa if you want some.”

“In a bit.”

“Cream and marshmallows...”

“I’ll be there.” Sara took a deep breath. She pulled the box towards her again and picked up the ribbon. “It can’t be that hard,” she whispered. She looked at the instructions and then at the ribbon in her hand. She slowly and painstakingly began to wrap the ribbon round the box.

Finally she succeeded and looked in triumph at the perfectly wrapped gift. She placed it under the tree and went to find her husband and the promised cocoa.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

advent calender day 18

The tall carpenter stood in the stable, looking down at the tiny newborn baby in his arms. Mary, his wife, lay exhausted on the pile of straw beside him. He loved her so much, didn’t think they’d have make it. Especially with everywhere full and Mary in labour. He’d never tell anyone how scared he was the last few hours. And as for delivering the baby himself...

He shuddered. He’d done it, but never again. He sat down slowly, the babe still sleeping peacefully in his arms. The angel said this babe was the son of God. It wasn’t his flesh and blood he knew that. He’d known for months. He’d been ready to divorce Mary, furious that she’d cheated on him, but the angel had set him right on that score. His faith and love for the woman nest to him wasn’t misplaced or in vain.

He stroked the babe’s cheek. “I will protect you, love you, raise you as much as any children I may have in the future with your mother.” He took a deep breath. “Lord, where do I, a mere carpenter, fit into this plan You have? I’m a man...how can I be a father to the Son of God? I know nothing about children or raising them? Surely a rabbi would have been a better choice. I don’t even know the scriptures as much as some men.”

The babe began to cry and he rocked him gently. “Shhh, my son. Let mamma sleep a little longer. She had a hard time birthing you.” For an instant it seemed all the light went from the room, then as the crying lessened the light returned.

Mary stirred. “Joseph...is he okay?”

He smoothed Mary’s hair from her face. “He’s fine, he’s gone back to sleep. Rest, my love, I’ve got him.”

Mary smiled. “You’re a good father. We don’t deserve you. Any other man would have cast us out.”

He kissed her forehead. “You’re my wife and he’s my son. That’s what matters.”

“God sent you to me Joseph,” she whispered. “He wanted you to raise His son here on Earth.”

He looked down at the baby. “A son of my love,” he whispered. “Lord, help us protect your son and help him fulfil his destiny.”

Friday, 17 December 2010

advent calender day 17

yay and caught up

Dec 17th
Yannick sat on the hillside—alone. The darkness seemed deeper than before and even the stars seemed dull and boring. Except for that new one which hung over the town, almost as bright as day where it shone. Ever since those shiny sky people appeared singing and raving about a baby born in town—in a stable of all places—nothing had been the same. Everyone had rushed off to see if the story was true. Everyone apart from him. He had to stay here and look after the stupid sheep.

Being the only kid still living at home sucked some times. No make that all the time. Yannick do this. Yannick do that. Yannick go make up the 20 rooms for the unexpected guests this census has brought us. Yannick go feed the animals. Yannick go help your brother with the sheep tonight. Yannick stay here while we go see and see this Saviour who’s been born.

Dawn broke. Strange...that star still shone, bright as anything. Where was everyone? Yannick sat up straight. Was that singing? Over the brow of the hill, came the shepherds. Arms linked and yes they were singing. Yannick shook his head. They lied to him. Made him stay here so they could go get drunk. That was it. He stood up. “I’m going home.”

His brother looked at him. “Mum wants you anyway. Load of work to do at the inn, but you should have seen it. Just like they said. It’s amazing. The baby, the manger...” He began singing the angel’s song again.

Yannick scowled. “Yeah, right. Save it for someone who cares.” He stomped off down the hillside. Anything, even working his fingers to the bone in the inn, would be better than sitting here doing nowt but listening to a load of drunk people singing. He kicked the stone out of the way as he walked. Biggest thing to have hit Bethlehem since the census was announced and he misses it. Ducking and diving his way through the packed streets he made his way to the inn. Packed to the rafters, the noise was incredible.

He ducked inside and made his way to the kitchen. “Mam!”

She appeared with a tray in her hand. “Glad you’re here. Take this to the stable Couple staying in there—turned up on the doorstep last night. Would have turned them away but the young girl was in labour and there was nowhere else for them to go. She had a baby last night. She could probably do with some food. Take this out to them, see if they need anything else. Could probably fetch the midwife to check her over too. Midwife never got there last night...too many other paying babes to birth than fuss over one that couldn’t pay.”

Yannick took the tray. “If they can’t pay the midwife then...”

“It’s paid for tell them. Some bloke last night gave enough cash for board and lodging for them. Soon as we have space I’ll move them inside. Be quick about it. Don’t know what all this fuss is over. It’s a babe. Women have been having them for years. It doesn’t warrant all these visitors especially in the middle of the night.”

Yannick disappeared with the tray, his mother still talking as he left. He loved her to bits, but she sure did yak on and on at times. He headed out the back, best not to argue with her when she was in one of those moods.

Wait a minute... Visitors...baby...stable...Could it be what those shiny sky people were going on about.

He glanced up and shook his head. No...and that star wasn’t shining straight down on him either. He reached the stable and crept inside. “I’ve brought you some food.” He stopped short. There really was a baby lying in the manger too.

A tall man came over to him. He took the tray. “Thank you. I’m Joseph...this is my wife Mary. Thank you for this. How much do we owe now?”

“Nothing...some bloke already paid. Mum says he paid board and lodging so soon as she can she’s moving you inside. He also paid for the midwife to come over later and check you both.” He looked back at the baby.

Mary smiled at him. “Want to see him?”

Yannick crept closer. A stab of disappointment filled him. It was just a baby. Couldn’t be the same one all the fuss was over. Not worth the singing and dancing if it was. “He’s cute. What’s his name?”

“We called him Jesus. You can hold him if you like.”

Yannick picked up the baby.

Mary smiled. “You're the first person to hold him other than us.”

“Really? Thank you. He’s so tiny.”

Joseph smiled. “But he’ll grow up to be a saviour like they promised.”

Yannick looked up. “So this is him? The one the sky people sang about? I thought after all the fuss he’d be bigger or shiner or different, but he’s just a baby.”

The baby opened his eyes and looked directly at Yannick. Those fathomless, bright eyes peered deep into his soul.

Yannick gasped. Those eyes were so old, he knew without a doubt who he was holding. He slowly dropped to his knees. “My Lord,” he whispered. “Those shiny sky people were right.”

advent calender day 16

day 16
Guest post by my friend and fellow author Donna

A really good present

Lise stared at the tree as the lights blinked off and on, then looked back down at the popcorn in her hand. She popped one in her mouth and chewed while she slipped the needle and thread through another piece, careful not to break it. “Why can’t daddy come home for Christmas?”

Her mother glanced down from the step stool then looked back up and finished placing the angel on the tree. “Because he has a very important job, sweetheart. He has to keep lots of people safe.”

Tina watched her daughter scrunch up her forehead as she tried to reason through her next question. Four years was hardly old enough to understand that evil never slept.

“But daddy could come home when the bad people go home for Christmas.”

Tina stepped down and folded the stool, leaning it against the closet door to put away later. She sat down on the couch next to her daughter and picked up the other threaded needle and a handful of popcorn. She looked down into amber eyes. With those golden curls and pixie face, her daughter could be a model for a Christmas angel.

Tina started her own string of popcorn. “The bad people don’t celebrate Christmas, sweetie. They don’t believe in baby Jesus.”

“But mommy, He’s the most special present! Someone has to tell them!”

Out of the mouths of babes...

“Not everyone wants to listen, Sweetie. Not everyone wants to know God.”

The golden eyes blinked at her, the popcorn strings forgotten. “Why not? He loves them. He loves us all.”

Tina smiled and brushed her hand over Lise’s curls. “Yes, He does, sweetheart. Maybe we can tell someone about Him tomorrow.”

Lise sighed and nodded, then rubbed her eyes. “Tomorrow’s Christmas, right?” She asked with a yawn as Tina picked her up.

“Uh huh.”

“That would be a really good present to give to someone,” she mumbled as she laid her head on Tina’s shoulder.

“Yes, it would, Sweetie, yes, it would.”

advent calender day 15

ok so feeling a little better now. on couch with laptop and gonna catch up then doze a little.

Day 15

Kyle stood next to Holly as they looked in wonder at the tree under the pagoda in the centre of the park. It towered above them and the lights and coloured baubles sparkled against the winter snow. Next to it sat a table with cards for Christmas wishes. Several children were making long lists of what they wanted Santa to bring them. Kyle had done the same every year since a small child. The feelings of nostalgia it provoked never changed. Would she think him silly, or would she fill one in, too?

Holly shoved her hands into her pockets. "The tree's beautiful. It puts mine to shame."

Kyle raised an eyebrow. "I think your tree is awesome."

"Uh huh. Not compared with this."

"Compared to mine it is."

"That's because you don't have one."

He hesitated for a moment then pointed a gloved finger at her, his breath hanging on the frosty air. "That'd be it."

Holly tugged her hat down over her ears. "Probably."

Kyle picked up two of the cards and offered her one. "Make a Christmas wish."

"Wishes are for children." She refused to take the card.

Kyle's brow creased. "Then I guess I'm a child." He put his card on the table and picked up a pen, refusing to let her dampen his spirit. "Come on, what's the harm?"

"It's a waste. Not like I'm going to get anything I want. I told Stacey that Santa doesn't exist so there is no point."

"Maybe not. But it's Christmas, Holly. A time for miracles." He could see her wavering and persisted. "Do it for me. Please. It will shut me up."

"It will shut you up?"

"My niece uses that line all the time. It always works."

She raised an eyebrow. "Can you do puppy dog eyes, too?"

Kyle laughed and obliged, rewarded by a smile. He offered the card again. Holly took it and closed her eyes briefly, before she started writing. Kyle watched her for a moment and then wrote his own. He posted it into the box and looked at her. "So what did you wish for?"

"That'd be telling." Holly posted her card into the box.
He checked his watch. "I should be getting back. I've got a perm to do. What are you doing next?"

"I'm going home to put my feet up and watch a film on TV. The movie channel is showing Christmas movies all day long."

"May I walk you to your car?"


He walked next to her, his hand so close to hers it was almost touching. He longed to take hold of it, but didn't want to presume. After a moment, he slid hands into his jacket pockets. They reached her car.

"Thank you," she said smiling at him.

"You're welcome."

Holly got into the car and started to close the door. On impulse he reached out and caught hold of it. It was now or never. "Holly?"

She looked up at him. "Yes?"

wanna read more...buy season for miracles from White Rose or Amazon

guest author - Delia Latham

(Crawls off sick bed to post this cos I promised. Advent calender will continue soon i promise. Apologies for typos etc but i'm still incredibly sick.)

Today we have my friend and fellow White Rose author Deila Latham - on the release day of her book. Congrats Delia. :)

Is a little respect too much to ask at a parent’s funeral?

Apparently it is for Destiny May. Clay Gallagher is built like a small mountain and far more vocal than is fitting when he shows up late to her mother’s “going away party.” When it turns out he’s not even at the right funeral, Destiny demands retribution in the form of an escape from the day’s dreary proceedings. Spending time with a handsome stranger who makes her laugh is more therapeutic than fighting with her overbearing family.

Clay finds Destiny beautiful, charming...and intelligent. So why is she stubbornly determined to open a Christian dating service? Clay has little respect for such a frivolous profession, and doesn’t think the small, conservative town of Castle Creek will welcome such a progressive business. But when Destiny is threatened by an anonymous caller who deeply resents her and what she does for a living, Clay makes it his business to keep the saucy redhead out of harm’s way.

Trouble is, spending time in her company weakens his defenses, and Destiny may be the one thing Clay can’t escape...if he even wants to.

Turning up for the wrong funeral is bad enough. Making rude comments about the deceased to a member of the family is the final nail in the coffin—so to speak. It almost seems wrong to laugh out loud whilst reading about the funeral of a much loved mother, but in the opening of this wonderful story, that is exactly what happens. A novel way for hero and heroine to meet, it’s brilliantly handled and suits both characters perfectly.

It doesn’t take long to work out that Destiny and Clay are meant to be together, but Ms. Latham has more than one pitfall, twist and turn awaiting them, as Destiny sets up her Christian dating agency – Solomon’s Gate. Met with opposition from most sides, friends and family alike, Destiny is convinced this ministry is her calling and she pursues it.

Clay propped an ankle on one knee and leaned forward. At least he seemed interested. “Will you open a physical office, or can you make love online?”
Destiny laughed. “Excuse me? What kind of business do you think I’m running?”

Full of wonderful lines such as this, it also contains secondary characters who add vibrancy, humour and suspense to the story. And of course there is Destiny’s guardian angel, which prompts the question, do we all have one?

This is a wonderful opener to Ms. Latham’s new series coming from White Rose Publishing. I’m eagerly awaiting the rest of the series.


DELIA LATHAM is a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. While she considers each of these roles important ones, she treasures most of all her role as a child of the King and an heir to the throne.

A former newspaper staff writer, Delia promised herself a novel for years, while raising her four children, working at various jobs and writing the occasional article, poem, or song. She fulfilled that promise when Vintage Romance Publishing released Goldeneyes in 2008. A Christian historical romance with a touch of the divine, Goldeneyes is set in the farm country of the author’s childhood, and therefore close to her heart. In 2010, White Rose Publishing released Yesterday’s Promise in electronic format, and Destiny’s Dream in print and e-format. A children’s book will be available early in 2011.

Delia grew up in Weedpatch, a tiny agricultural community near Bakersfield, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She and her husband Johnny recently transplanted from that area to Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.

Find out more at:



Facebook Reader Page


Destiny’s Dream is available at White Rose Publishing and Amazon.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

advent calender - day 14

Jared looked at Elspeth and rolled his eyes. “Not more cooking.”

“It's Christmas and with your brothers coming over for the day, they'll eat me out of house and home you know that.”

“True. So what you making this time?”

“Cranberry flapjacks. The way your mum always made them.”

Jared smiled. “Those will go down a storm. Next to Mum you're the only person who got them right.”

“That’s because I follow her recipe and don’t try doing it off the cuff like some people.”

He looked down at the card and read the ingredients out to her. “4oz oats, 3 tablespoons honey, 2oz self-raising flour, 1 egg, 4 tablespoons dried cranberries.” He looked up. “Would probably be nice with fresh cranberries too.”

She nodded. “I bet they would. Okay now what do I do?”

“Mix together the oats, honey, self-raising flour, egg and dried cranberries. This should form a thick batter.” Jared watched as she did what he said. “You know she used to sing when she did these when we were kids,” he said. He moved over to the frying pan and melted the 5 tablespoons of butter.

“You don’t need to though,” Elspeth said smiling knowing full well her husband was tone deaf and couldn’t sing for toffee.

Jared poked his tongue out at her and sang carols anyway as he spooned the mixture into small rounds and then fried them for 2-3 mins each side until they were golden brown. “Can you make the sauce, so we can have some now? We can do a double batch?”

Elspeth laughed at his puppy dog eyes and nodded. “Sure.” She began the caramel sauce. She heated a pan and then added 2oz butter and 2oz caster sugar and cooked it for 3-4 minutes. Then she added 2fl oz double cream and the peeled segments of an orange. She stirred it thoroughly and took it off the heat.

By the time she’d finished, Jared was already sat at the table with the wine poured and the flapjacks on the plates. He poured the caramel sauce over them then stuck his fork in and broke a piece off. He chewed slowly. “Nope, mum’s are still better.” He winked. “But these do come a close second.”

Monday, 13 December 2010

advent calender - day 13

From another WIP - Piece of Sky

Sara gasped. Filling the bay window was a huge pine Christmas tree. “It’s beautiful.” She moved over to it and touched it. “It’s real. I never had a real tree before.”

Luke chuckled. “Of course it’s real. You like it?”

“I love it. Thank you.” She turned and threw her arms around him and kissed his cheek. She’d been so awful to him, and he went and got her a tree.

Luke returned the hug and kissed her cheek. “You’re welcome, Sara. I got a selection of lights and decorations as well. I thought we could decorate it this afternoon.”

“I’d like that a lot. Aunt Mary and I always decorated the tree together.” Sara pulled back, embarrassed at what she'd done. She'd kissed him. Again. What was she thinking? And he kissed her back. Her cheek was aflame where his lips had touched it. She turned around. “All we need is some Christmassy music.”

“That’s in there, too.” Luke pulled out three CD’s and handed them to her. “I wasn’t sure what you’d like, so I got a few different ones.”

Sara took her time flipping through and reading them, before picking one. Putting it on the stereo, she turned her attention to the box and started to decorate the tree. She and Luke took turns at hanging the ornaments. Once the tree was finished, Sara grabbed the ribbon from the box. “Ceiling next?”

Luke climbed on a chair. “Sure. You can tell me where to go.”

Sara laughed. “It’ll be my pleasure. Have the ribbon going in and out from the center of the room to the sides and back again.”

Luke took the ribbon and started to pin it up under Sara’s guidance. He pushed the first pin into the ceiling and held out his hand for another. As Sara handed it to him, he lost his balance and fell, catching his leg on the edge of the chair.

Sara dropped to his side. “Luke, are you all right?”

Luke gave his leg the once over. His pants were torn and bloody. “I cut this on something.”

“Stay put.” Sara ran to the kitchen and came back in with the first aid kit. “Let me see.” She pulled the torn fabric up, gently cleaned the cut, and put a plaster on it. “There. All fixed, but I’m afraid those trousers might be beyond the healing power of a plaster.”

Luke wrinkled his nose at them. “Ah, don’t worry. It isn’t like they were a new pair or anything.” He raised a hand to his head and rubbed it.

“You okay?”

Luke sat up. “My head hurts some."

“Let me see.” Sara moved his hand. “You may have a bruise in the morning, but it’s not bleeding. Want something for it?”

Luke winked at her. “If I was a kid, you’d kiss both it and my leg better for me.”

She grinned at him and raised an eyebrow. “I’m not kissing your leg after it bled all over the carpet, but as for your other injuries, where does it hurt?”

Luke moved a hand up to his temple. Sara leaned in and kissed his temple.
“Anywhere else?”

He moved his hand down his cheek. She smiled and leaned in again and kissed his cheek. She raised her eyes to his. “Anywhere else?”

“Here.” He pointed to his nose.

Sara kissed the tip of his nose. “Anywhere else?”

Luke's finger moved to his lips. Dare she? She leaned forwards, brushing her finger across his lips. Luke raised a hand and placed it behind her head, pulling her close to him. He brushed his lips against hers. He pulled back and gazed at her, his eyes full of tenderness. She smiled, goose bumps rising on her skin at his touch. He pulled her head back to his and kissed her fully.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

advent calander - day 12

short piece taken from Saving Christmas

Matt stood at the front. “Most of you know I work in a Christmas shop. And yes I know it’s only July, but Christmas isn’t just for December. And it’s not just about the shopping, trees and decorations either. It’s about the gift God gave. The greatest gift of all—the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. Without Christmas, there would be no Easter. No Christmas, no salvation. Mary and Joseph began the miracle by saying yes to God. We too can say yes to God and make sure the miracle continues as He gives us His great gift of salvation through His Son. No matter what else we think we may need in life, more than anything we need God’s love.”

Saturday, 11 December 2010


you know...if ppl wonder why I don't often do give aways...there's a very good reason. I did 2 recently. Neither person I sent a copy of the book to responded - no thank you, no yes I got it, no nothing.

I was considering doing antoher but maybe not.

advent calender - day 11

Nov 14th

Sitting looking at the piece of card in front of her, Sophie had no idea what she was going to draw. Everyone else in her class was busy drawing Christmas cards for their parents on the front lines. Sophie had tried to do a reindeer, but it looked more like a cow and George laughed at her.

Then she tried drawing Santa only it looked stupid, so she screwed it up. He wouldn’t grant her wish if she didn’t draw him right and Daddy wouldn't be home for Christmas. Tears filled her eyes.

The teacher came over and sat down next to her. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t do it,” she managed. “It has to be special cos it’s for Daddy.”

“How about a snowman? That’s just two circles with stick arms. Could you manage that?”

“Can try,” she whispered. She took the new piece of card and picked up her pencil. As she drew, her tongue poked out from between her lips. Finally she drew something she was happy with but most importantly, something she knew Daddy would like.

It was hot where he was, and there would be no snow or Santa or reindeer. Just bombs and guns and people dying. Mummy tried to hide it from her but she knew. She knew how dangerous Daddy’s job was, otherwise Mummy wouldn’t cry when she watched the news.

She wrote on the front of the card and then wrote on the inside. Dear Daddy, a snowman to look after you and your friends. Love you lots. Happy Christmas. Love Sophie. XXX OOO XXX


December 11th

“Mail Call!”

Jeff didn’t look up, instead concentrating on the paper on his desk. He hated writing these letters, but ones like this, when the kid was only eighteen, even more so. Dear whoever, I have had the privilege of being your son’s commanding officer...

“Colonel, there’s one for you Sir.”

He looked up. “Thank you, Sgt.” He took the letter and looked at it, a slight smile crossing his lips. In big scrawling red crayon letters it said DADDY. Under that Sara had written Colonel JD Williams, BFPO 1701. He skipped the rest of the address and carefully opened the envelope.

He pulled out the card, the smile on his face growing, the simple message inside bringing tears to his eyes. “Sophie,” he whispered. He’d not seen her for almost nine months. She’d be so much bigger now. He ran his fingers over the photo Sara had enclosed of her and the two children. Both Sophie and David had grown. His fingers trembling he leaned the picture against the coffee mug and read the card again.

He looked down at the letter he was writing. Ten years ago another parent would have received a card just like this one. He took a deep breath and set the card by the photo. Picking up his pen, he continued to write.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Advent calender - day 10

Day 10 - and today you get a missing scene with Holly. The MC from Season for Miracles.

The letter was waiting for her when she got home from work. The postmark gave it away, even if she hadn't recognised her brother's handwriting. It was from Drew. Dropping her bag and coat to the floor, Holly ripped open the envelope, sinking down on the chair at the kitchen table to read. The card showed her brother, his wife and boys sitting on the beach, in swimsuits, wearing Santa hats. Inside was a letter.

Dear Holly,
Merry Christmas, sis. I know we speak on MSN and web cam and email, but you can't have a Christmas card without the boring family letter, can you? Only I ran out of them and can’t be bothered to print another one off. So (waves fingers and pokes out tongue) tough, you get me rambling on instead.

As I write this the kids are creating havoc. Something to do with the fact that Danny wants to put the Santa on the tree and Petie won’t let him. Still Karen can deal with that, as she’s decorating the tree. I did the outside lights, and that’s plenty for now. Did I tell you she’s pregnant again? This time it’s a girl. Mind you, the scan said Danny was, too, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Do you remember that Christmas you broke your leg? You were so upset at having to be in hospital over Christmas. You cried and cried thinking Santa would never find you there. Think you were about eight or nine. I begged Dad to talk to the doctors to allow you home. Drove him nuts actually. It could be when he started to go bald.

Holly smiled. “I remember. Dad came and got me late Christmas Eve...”

He put you in my room as you insisted on sleeping with me. You wanted me to protect you from Jack Frost or something. But that wasn’t as funny as the year you refused to put the stocking at the bottom of your bed. You weren’t going to have...

“Some stranger in a red suit coming into my room in the middle of the night.” Holly laughed. "Dad so wasn't impressed."

Then there was the year we got snowed in and we found reindeer hoof marks in the snow on the front lawn. To this day I can’t figure out how Dad managed that one. Not that we get snow this far south but it’d be nice to know.

I miss you so much Hols, especially this time of year. It’s a shame you couldn’t come out with Mum and Dad. Maybe next year, because Christmas really isn’t Christmas without my baby sister here to annoy and wind up.

OK, I better go and play referee before those boys kill each other.

Love you sis. Always will.
Merry Christmas
Drew, Karen, Danny, Petie and Blob.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Advent Calender - Day Nine

Rose looked up. “Is this right?” she asked. Her hands were covered with cuts from the holly prickles but she wasn’t going to complain. She had never made one of these before and was having fun.

Her mother looked at her. “Yes it is.” She pulled the five candles out of the bag. It had taken some searching to find them at all, never mind in the correct colours.

“Ohhh pretty,” Rose whispered. She reached out a hand and touched them gently.

Her father leaned in the doorway watching them.

“Each one means something different,” Mother said. “The first violet one stands for hope, the second violet one for peace, then the rose one for joy, the last violet one for love and the white one is the arrival of the light of the world.”

“Can we light them now?” Rose asked.

Father moved into the room. “Not yet, one a week for the four weeks of advent,” he told her. “But you can carry it out into the main room for me.”

Rose beamed and picked up the advent crown carrying it carefully out of the room.
Father looked at Mother, his knuckles white on the cane which supported him. “Hope, peace, joy and love huh?”

She nodded. “This is a new beginning. The first Christmas together we’ve had in years, the first one since the war began. For the first time in years we have hope.”

“And the rest?”

She paused and then smiled. “The rest will follow.”

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Advent Calender - day 8

Elspeth looked up as her husband Phil came in from work. “Hey handsome,” she said, glancing over her shoulder. She shivered as he stood behind her and wrapped his cold arms around her. Then she shuddered as his cold lips brushed against her neck. “You’re cold.”

“Of course. It’s cold out there.” He pulled her closer to him and looked over her shoulder. “What are you making?”

“Wreath biscuits,” she said stirring the pan.

“Sounds yummy. So tell me while I warm up by putting my freezing cold self all over this nice warm person in front of me.”

She shook her head. “Fine. To make sixteen wreaths you take a large saucepan. In said large saucepan, you melt half a cup of margarine over a low heat. Then add 10 ounces of marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in the green food colouring.”

He grinned as she recited the recipe to him. He liked her doing this, standing behind her as she baked and taught him at the same time. “Then what?”

“You add 6 cups of cornflakes and stir until well coated. Divide into 16 even pieces and shape into individual wreaths.”

“Yummy,” Phil said. He sneaked his hand round her and grabbed a handful of the red smarties. “Then what?”

Elspeth glared at him. “Decorate with the red sweets you’ve just eaten.”
“Want them back?” he asked with his mouthful.

She laughed and picked up one of the wreaths, shoving it in his mouth. “No thanks. We'll do it this way instead.”

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Advent Calender - Day 7

Today you get an unedited extract from the WIP - Tuesday's Child. In this scene Niamh and her husband Jared enjoy the snow.

Four thirty am. Niamh got out of bed and crept to the window. Peeping past the thick curtains, she saw the snow lying thick and pristine across the dark garden. Smiling she slid on her coat and gloves and boots and went outside. She slowly made tracks all round the garden then busied herself building a snowman. She gave it twigs for arms, stones for eyes and buttons and another twig for a mouth. Going indoors she got a carrot for a nose and Jared’s spare cap for a hat. Setting it on the snowmanm, she stood back, surveying her handiwork and smiled.

A tapping on the window made her look up. Jared stood silhouetted against the window shaking his head at her. She waved him to come down and join her but he shook his head harder and mimed it being too cold. She pulled a face and turned away lowering her shoulders to make it look as if she were sad.

Less than a minute later the backdoor opened and Jared came out. “You are one crazy, mad, woman,” he told her moving over to her. “Have you any idea what time it is? I'm on duty at the fire station at nine.”

Niamh spun round and tossed a handful of snow at him and grinned. “Snowball time.”

Jared yelped quietly as her shot hit right on target. He scooped up some snow and tossed it back, hitting her hard. “Oh really? And there I was thinking it was getting on for five forty-five. When all sensible people, not on duty, are still tucked up in bed.”

Niamh threw another snowball at him. “That’s why you’re not then.”

“No, because some crazy, mad, woman woke me up by traipsing around out here in the snow.” He tossed three snowballs in quick succession using his right hand. “What would the Judge say if he could see you now, Mrs. Senior Prosecutor?”

She dodged and sent several flying towards him watching them miss as he moved fast. “He'd want to join in. We're not staid and boring all the time, you know.”

His next several hit right on target. “So what’s the snow man called?” he asked moving over to look at it.

Niamh ran up behind him and dumped a whole load of snow over him, making sure it went down the inside of his coat. “Jarrie Jace,” she giggled.

Gasping with shock, he turned and grabbed her. “You brat!” he said.

She laughed softly. “And what are you going to do about it?”

“This,” Jared said. He swiftly kicked her feet out from under her, laying her down in the snow. Holding her with one hand he grabbed a handful of snow and shoved it down her neck, kissing her to stop her crying out. “Now you’re a snow woman,” he grinned.

She looked at him. “I’m also wet.”

He kissed her again and pulled her to her feet. “Then we’d better go change before we have to leave for work.” He looked at the snowman. “Think we’ll call it H’main.”

She shook her head. “Deraj sounds better.”

Jared laughed, leading her back inside. “Then Deraj it is.” He looked at her. “Rematch tonight?”

Niamh nodded. “Followed by snow angels and cocoa. Got to do all the traditions at once you know.”

Monday, 6 December 2010

Advent Calender - Day 6

Nativity play

Rosie looked at her brother. “Is Daddy here yet?” she asked.

Darren shook his head. “Course he isn’t. He never is. It’ll be work or the traffic or some other excuse. When will you realise he just doesn’t care enough to be here?” he told her sharply.

“But he promised he’d be here,” Rosie said, her bottom lip trembling. “I get to be Mary and he promised he’d be here to see.”

Darren put his arms round his little sister. “Don’t cry Rosie,” he said. “I’m here. I’ll sit in the audience with Mum and watch you.”

“Want Daddy,” she said, pushing the white cloth off her head. She started to cry. “Don’t want do it if he’s not here.”

Her teacher, Mrs Edwards, looked at her and then went and found Lou. “I’m sorry Mrs Williams, but Rosie is rather upset. She’s refusing to do this. Perhaps if you had a word?”

Lou nodded and left her coat on the chair. She followed the teacher to the back of the stage.
Darren looked at her. “Mum… I tried but…”

Lou smiled, gathering her sobbing daughter into her arms. “It’s okay Darren. Thank you. You want to go sit out the front and I’ll be there in a few?”

Darren nodded and went out front of house.

Lou drew Rosie onto her lap and rocked her singing softly to her to calm her down. Then once she had, she convinced her to go out on stage and be the best Mary she could be because the baby Jesus needed the best mummy he could have.

Rosie looked at her. “But you’re the bestest Mummy,” she said, her face wet with tears.

Lou kissed her and wiped her face dry. “And you’re the bestest Rosie,” she said. She picked up the headdress and arranged it on Rosie’s head. Then she went back out to the front and sat with Darren. Her husband’s seat was still glaringly empty.

The lights went down and then the stage ones came up. The children stood there nervous and shifting slightly until the music began and they began to sing.

One of the problems of this line of work Jeff reminded himself as he flew up the path to the school hall is never being around. Duty shifts over ran or he got called to an emergency somewhere at a minutes notice. The hall was in darkness, the performance started. He made his way to his seat, apologising as he trod on toes.

Lou gripped his hand as he sat down. “You’re late,” she hissed. “The first song was wonderful.”
“Sorry, but I’m here now.”

A Christmas tree twinkled at the edge of the stage as the nativity play unfolded. Seven year old Rosie sat by the manger, the doll cradled in her arms. You could have heard a pin drop as she suddenly, totally unscripted decided that the baby was crying and started singing ‘Little Jesus sweetly sleep’ as she rocked it.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Advent calender - Day 5


The Christmas lights hang brightly from the lamp posts. The tinsel adorns shop windows are filled with trees and more lights. Music blares from all the shops. People hustle and bustle, busy busy busy with lists to cross off and bags to fill. Cards to post and presents to buy. Food to cook and cakes to make. People to see and family to spend time with. Brightly decorated homes to go back to, central heating, lights, running water. A home.

He sits there, silent and invisible to everyone, his clothes torn and full of holes. By his feet is the plastic bag filled with all he owns. Down on his luck through no fault of his own he has no home other than the doorway in which he sits. His bed a bench in the park in the summer and a doorway or box in the winter.

I see the lights and hear the music but they mean nothing to me. They are just memories of a time long ago when I had a family and friends to be with. I watch as the people walk past me and hear snatches of conversation. They think I’m a druggie, a down and out. They don’t know the first thing about me, what got me to this state I am in now.

A family go past, the littlest girl stares at me and I hear her ask her father for some money to give me. He says no, it’ll only go on drink or drugs and drag her away. I look down, pulling myself tighter against the cold. I close my eyes.

“Here,” a voice says. The face smiles as the man in the doorway opens his eyes. “I got you this.” She holds out a coffee and a burger. “I put sugar in it, I hope that’s okay.” She smiles again as the eyes of the man glisten and he holds out shaking hands and says thank you. Then she gets up and runs off back to join her family.

He drinks the coffee and it’s the finest champagne he’s ever had and the burger the most exquisite caviar. For now the fact he is homeless doesn’t matter. Someone cared.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Destiny's Dream Blog Tour


The Daughters of Destiny contest will be underway as of December 1. In lieu of giveaways from blog to blog, I’m encouraging all of you to visit my contest page and take part in this giveaway. I also encourage you to tell your friends about it…and their friends…and theirs! J I have TWO absolutely stunning decorative bottles, AND a wonderful, aromatic anointing oil to go in them. The contest has two parts. One decorative bottle/anointing oil will be awarded in each part. There are ample opportunities build up your entries, so come on over and check it out!

Destiny’s Dream Blog Tour (Delia Latham)
Dec. 1, 2010 – Jan. 31, 2011

Date Host Blog Addy

Dec. 1 Jeannie Campbell http://charactertherapist.blogspot.com/
Dec. 7 Gail Palotta http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com/
Dec. 8 Heidi Main http://www.heidimain.com/blog
Dec. 10 Jodie Bailey http://jodiebailey.com/blog-2/
Dec. 15 April Gardner http://aprilwgardner.blogspot.com
Dec. 17 Roseanna M. White http://www.roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/
Dec. 17 Roseanna M. White http://www.christianreviewofbooks.com/
Dec. 17 Clare Revell http://telscha.blogspot.com/
Dec. 18 Terry Spear http://www.redroom.com/author/terry-spear
Dec. 18 Gina Welborn http://www.inkwellinspirations.blogspot.com/
Dec. 19 Gina Welborn http://www.inkwellinspirations.blogspot.com/
Dec. 20 Cathy West http://catherinewestblog.blogspot.com/
Dec. 27 Jennifer Slattery http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com
Dec. 27 JoAnne Troppello http://joannetroppello.weebly.com/blog.html
Jan. 4 Carol Erhardt http://carolannerhardt.blogspot.com/
Jan. 5 Carol Erhardt http://carolannerhardt.blogspot.com/
Jan. 8 Pamela Thibodeaux http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com/
Jan. 10 Lauralee Bliss http://www.blissfulwritingthoughts.blogspot.com/
Jan. 12 Myra Johnson http://myra.typepad.com/
Jan. 12 Cindy K. Green http://cindykgreen.blogspot.com/
Jan. 15 Marianne Evans http://marianneevans.blogspot.com
Jan. 15-21 Shirley Kiger Connolly http://apenforyourthoughts.blogspot.com
Jan. 17 K. Dawn Byrd http://kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com
Jan. 18 Sandy Ardoin http://sandraardoin.wordpress.com/wordslinger-blog/
Jan. 20 JoAnn Carter http://home.comcast.net/~jo.glenncarter/site/
Jan. 20 Tanya Stowe http://www.creativewritingforces.blogspot.com/
Jan. 24 Susan Hollaway http://susanhollaway.blogspot.com
Jan. 31 Michelle Sutton http://edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/

Author spotlights

Holiday author spotlights blog promotion

Date: December 4 - 24 2010

Location: http://seriouslyreviewedarchive.blogspot.com/

Visit each day through Christmas Eve. Author spotlights on Christmas stories and new releases from White Rose Publishing

I have two spotlights - Dec 5th (Season for Miracles) and Dec 24th (Saving Christmas). Please come support us.

Commenters on the blog showcase will be entered into drawings for ebooks provided by White Rose Publishing

Advent Calender - Day 4

Dec 4th

The snow lay thick and deep and the hill looked tall and imposing. Will struggled onwards with his heavily laden sledge. His mother had sent him out giving him explicit instructions to get there and back before the next snow storm hit but as he glanced up at the heavy grey leaden sky he was not sure he was going to make it.

His legs sank into the powdery whiteness, almost to his knees and once or twice he slipped as he hit a patch of ice. Once all the boxes fell off the sledge and he had to flounder and grope around in the snow trying to find them all. He knew there were fifteen but he only managed to find fourteen.

Will counted again. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen. Where was it? It had to be there. It was almost the smallest one but the most important one. They played such a big part in the Christmas story that they had to have one. The old one had got lost when they moved so his father had ordered in a new one.

Small flakes of snow began to fall, whirling round him, blowing on the wind. His hands froze within his mittens as he pushed the snow on the ground aside. He had to find it. His mother had trusted him and he did not want to lose that trust. Tears filled his eyes as he searched. It had to be here somewhere. It would not be Christmas without the contents of that box.

The snow fell faster, his tears freezing on his face now as he kept looking. The darkness grew now, the wind tossing the snow in his face, it’s howling mocking him as he failed to find what he was looking for.

Will was cold, so cold he could barely feel his hands but he kept searching. Finally his hand knocked against something and he pushed the top layer of snow aside. It was the missing box. Scooping it up in both hands he shoved it into his pocket. Then he wrapped the rope of the sledge around him and began to walk towards home.

Each step seemed to be a mile and take an hour to do, but he kept going. He reminded himself how pretty the snow would look in the morning and thought how he and his sisters Rosie and Victoria would go sledging and build snowmen. He was going to teach them how to make snow angels and snow caves and they would have such fun.

Finally through the snow he saw the lights of home blazing out into the darkness. The front door was open and he could see his mother standing there, her hands cupped round her mouth.

“Willlllliaaaaammmm!” her voice was muted by the snow but he could still hear her.

“I’m coming,” he called moving as fast as he could.

His mother pulled him into a hug as soon as he got to the door. “I was worried sick, where have you been?”

“The boxes fell and I had to pick them up.”

Rosie looked at him. “There are only fourteen,” she said. She may only be seven but she knew how to count and had already counted the boxes as she and her father brought them inside. “The littlest one’s not there.”

William put his frozen hand into his pocket and brought out the box he has spent so long hunting in the snow for. “Here,” he managed. He let his mother take it from him then strip off his wet clothes. She wrapped him in a warm blanket.

Rosie picked up the box. “Can I?” she asked.

Her mother nodded. “You can open it but William hangs it.”

With trembling fingers Rosie opened the box. She gasped. “It’s beautiful.” She took it out and held it up. It spun and glittered in the firelight.

“Oooo purty,” five year old Victoria said.

Rosie handed it to William and he held it tightly as his father lifted him so he could place the Christmas Angel on top of the tree.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Fire Dragon's Angel - Barbara Blythe

Can a hero ever live up to his reputation?

For seven years, Ceressa Quarles has secretly admired Latimer Kirkleigh. Latimer has spent those same seven years disappointing everyone he loves. When they reunite, she finds him jaded, arrogant...and still irresistible. He finds her disconcerting, headstrong...and beautiful.

As responsibility and tragedy intertwine, Ceressa and Latimer are set upon a course that neither is prepared to travel. Forced to flee her English home, Ceressa accepts a marriage proposal from Latimer and finds herself living in a savage, colonial wilderness embroiled in rebellion.

With their lives at risk and any chance at love hidden deep within their precarious marriage of convenience, Ceressa and Latimer battle for the stability of a new world and peace within their own hearts.

Advent Calendar - Day Three

Dec 3rd 2010

(This story uses some of the characters from Season for Miracles and Saving Christmas as minor characters. However, as always the story is independent.)

Pastor Jack walked slowly through the empty church. In a matter of hours it would be full for the midnight carol service and there was a lot to do before then. He set down the pile of holly he had in his arms and looked at the front of the church. He wanted to do it differently this year, but for the life of him could not think how. Footsteps behind him made him jump. Who could it be?

His smile widened at the sight of his wife. Her red polo necked sweater peaked out of her long black coat, matching the black hair and red cheeks perfectly. “Hi, Izzy. What are you doing here?”

Izzy smiled back, moving to hug him tightly. Her cold lips pressed against his warm ones. “Holly, Chrissie and I thought we’d come give you a hand,” she said. “Kyle volunteered to baby sit. Then he roped Matt in to help him.”

Jack laughed. “They’ll regret that. Two children under the age of one.”

Holly giggled. “Oh, yeah, they will. They are perfectly capable of keeping villains at bay, but can they cope with two babies? I think we might find the men asleep before the babies tonight.” She reached out and took a handful of the holly. “I know just the place for this.”

Chrissie went to help her attach it to the ends of the pews.

Jack looked suspiciously at the bag Izzy was holding. “What’s that or don’t I want to know?” Before she could answer, Jack’s phone rang. He pulled it from his belt. “Good afternoon...Of course I can. I’ll be right there...No, no of course not. I’ll see you in a few minutes. Bye.”

“What’s up?” Izzy asked as he put the phone back on his belt.

“I have to go.” He looked at her. “I’m sorry.”

Izzy shook her head. “Don’t be sorry, love. It’s your job. Go on. We can manage... go run...”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Holly said from the other side of the pew.

Hiding his misgivings at allowing the three women loose in ‘his’ church he nodded. “I should be no more than an hour.”

Izzy laughed as she kissed him. “Since when do your pastoral visits only last an hour? You’ll be as long as they need you, the same as always.”

Jack smiled and headed down the aisle.

Holly’s voice floated after him. “We’ll work quicker without him telling us you can’t do this and you can’t do that.”

Jack rolled his eyes. Lord, I leave this in Your hands. Just don’t let them turn Your house into a rave party.


Jack’s visit dragged on and he didn’t get home to eat until eight. Izzy told him nothing and they didn’t get back to the church until half an hour before the start of the service.

“Don’t look so worried,” Izzy told him. “Anyone would think you didn’t trust us.”

“It’s not that, love. I’ve never left such an important task totally in someone else’s hands before.” He flicked on the lights and stood in amazement. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever imagined the church looking so pretty. A tree with tinsel and lights sat to one side of the steps, a wooden nativity scene underneath it. Holly and ribbon hung on the ends of the pews.

A wreath wrapped its green leaves and red berries up the stairs on one side of the platform, across the length of it and down the stairs on the other side. A full length cross stitched sampler hung it over the edge of the pulpit with a nativity scene embroidered on it.

They had done a good job. He might just have to get them to do it next year. And as he watched the church fill for the midnight carol service and saw the congregation look round and smile he knew God would be glorified thorough it, and that was what counted the most.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Advent Calender - Day Two

Snow lay thick on the ground, the whole town caught unawares by the sudden early snowfall. It was the beginning of December and it didn't usually snow until January. School was out early and Beth was determined to make the most of it. Mummy didn't pick her up anymore as she was a big girl now and she walked with Jack, her older brother. He was eleven and that was practically grown up.

They made giant steps in the snow, then pixie steps. They tossed snowballls and then they ran fast blowing clouds of steam like trains do in Grandad's picture books, cheeks red and glowing, her eyes bright and sparkling.

Jack climbed onto the front gate and jumped landing feet first like a cat. “Come on Beth,” he called.

Beth slowly climbed the gate and jumped. She landed flat on her back to the sound of her brother’s laughter. Winded she lay there for a moment. Then she poked her tongue at him and made snow angels. Jumping up she ran laughing and breathless after Jack down the path. They ran up the front steps and banged on the door stamping the snow off their shoes.

Mummy opened the door. “Look it's snow people. That's funny. I was expecting Jack and Beth”

“School let out early cause of the snow,” Jack said. “I walked Beth home. She made snow angels.”

“And Jack jumped off the gate.”

“So did you.”

“You told me to. And anyway I didn't jump— I fell off.”

“That's enough. Into the kitchen now. I’ll make you something to warm yourselves up with.”

Both children ran into the kitchen and climbed up on the chairs by the table. “Ooooh biscuits,” Jack said taking one and giving his sister one.

“Yes. I started the Christmas baking this morning.”

“Does this mean the tree’s going up soon?”

“Not yet.” Mummy poured the milk into the pan to heat and hung their wet coats by the stove to dry. “Daddy will go and get it at the weekend.”

Beth watched, her eyes wide with excitement as her mother got out the chocolate buttons and the marshmallows. That could only mean one thing. “We having snowman soup?”

“Melted snowman,” Jack corrected.

Beth poked her tongue at him, watching her mother add the chocolate buttons and marshmallows. Mummy slid a cup in front of each child and paused.

“Where’s the candy canes?” Beth and Jack both chorused in unison.

Libby laughed and reached into the drawer and pulled out two. “Here.”

“Yay!” Beth yelled happily. She took the candy cane and dipped it into the hot chocolate then sucked it vigorously. “Yummy.”

Mummy watched them. “The rest of the candy canes are to be hung on the tree,” she said.

Beth shot Jack a knowing glance. At least half of them would end up in snowman soup before the tree was even up.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Behind door number one

For the next 24 days I bring you 24 short Christmas stories.

Dec 1st

Victoria looked up at her parents, her eyes full of tears. “But, Mummy, I need it.”

Her mother shook her head. “The letter from the school says you need a white tee shirt, white tights and some gold tinsel.”

“And this. Daddy, tell her...”

Rob looked at her. “Vicky you don’t need a wig. You have lovely long blonde hair. You’ll make a beautiful angel”

Victoria stamped her feet. “Need it, need it, need it,” she yelled.

“Angels do not have red hair,” he explained patiently. “So you don’t need a red wig.”

“Christmas angels do,” Victoria insisted. “The song says so. So we have to have red hair.”

Rob looked at his wife confused. The only song he knew with red in was Rudolf the red nosed reindeer and a couple about Santa. Neither contained angels. “What song?” he asked.

His daughter looked at him. “The hair red angel one.”

It still did not ring a bell. “I don’t know it.”

Victoria rolled her eyes. “Yes you do!” she said, hands on hips with all the irritation a five year old could muster. “We sing it in church every year. With trumpets.”

“Sing it to me now,” he asked her.

Victoria took a deep breath. “Then can I have the red wig for the play?”

Rob nodded.

“Good,” she said. Then in a voice that sounded like an angel’s she sang, “Hark the hair red angels sing Glory to the new born king.”