One of the things I loved about being a young couple starting out with a new family was making our own Christmas traditions, but as the years go by some of those traditions have started to grow a bit stale and I’ve decided not to feel guilty about changing them up.
Yesterday I made my annual pilgrimage to the Nanaimo ferry terminal to pick up my daughter and her friend who were arriving from Vancouver for Christmas. Unlike last year’s snowy Christmas (Have a Ferry Merry Christmas) it was a bright, crisp, sunny day. Like the scenes of people greeting loved ones at the airport at Christmas at the beginning and end of Love, Actually, the happiness of families and friends greeting each other as they roll out the terminal door is tangible in the air and never fails to bring a tear to my eye.
This year we are happy to have someone new in our midst–a friend who otherwise would be alone for the holiday this year. And tonight my Cuban American daughter-in-law, 3000 miles away across America from her family in Miami, is making a traditional Cuban Christmas Eve dinner for us all of pork (we don’t have a whole pig, but we do have the sour orange marinade flown in from Miami), rice and beans, plantain and flan. We’ll still have a turkey tomorrow, but we love this new addition to our Christmas traditions. So delicious, and change keeps the holidays fresh.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing the Fortune Bay books, whether it be old friends or new, husbands, lovers, children or extended family –your real family is made up of the ones you love.
I know Christmas is not all mistletoe and holly–in fact I’m making that a tag line for Louise’s Christmas book–so if you find yourself alone (or are looking for a little alone time in this busy season) feel free to join the big, messy, loving family in Fortune Bay and leave the real world behind, just for a while.
(Home for Christmas is half price until the end of the year at all the major online retailers. just click on the cover in the sidebar.)
So I encourage you to make your Christmas into the holiday you want. Whether you spend it with family, friends, or alone with a glass of eggnog and a good book, I hope your holiday season is a joyous time.
It’s not all mistletoe and holly.
I’ve cut the ebook price of Home for Christmas in half because, hey, it’s December and I really want everyone to have a chance to read Louise and Blue’s Christmas story before the next book comes out in January. Each book can be read alone, but I know I like to read a series in order when I can.
So I’ve cut the ebook price of Home for Christmas down to $1.99 (or thereabouts – according to the vagaries of online booksellers!) until the end of the year.
Home for Christmas ebook is available at
and as paperback at Amazon
Welcome to Christmas in Fortune Bay.
Sometimes falling in love means risking it all.
Louise is finished pastry school and is back in Fortune Bay for Christmas, before returning to Seattle to find her dream job.
She’s staying at the Murphy cabin for the month, with a new boyfriend in tow. Blue knows the relationship won’t last very long, it never does, but even so, it makes him more determined than ever not to get caught up in her life again.
Blue understands her better than anyone. He’s been her shoulder to cry on since the horrible accident years ago that, following close on the heels on the death of her mother, left Louise convinced she would never have a family of her own.
But how long does a guy have to wait? It’s time he got on with his own life. With or without her.
As Christmas festivities swirl around them, fate steps in again and Louise’s plans for a new life begin to crumble. Will Blue be there this time to pull her through?
CLICK HERE To read a short excerpt from Home for Christmas.
Happy reading and happy holidays!
This is my fantastic old recipe for the Best Christmas Fruitcake Ever, but in a new form. Fruitcake cupcakes!
It’s always so popular, so sweet and moist, that even though the recipe makes 5 small loaves, it’s never enough to give a nice looking piece to the number of people I want to share it with.
So this year I tried baking it in muffin cups–with some success. I immediately discovered that if it’s not a loaf, you’ll want to cut the cherries into smaller pieces. (When you slice the loaf the cherries automatically get sliced.) That left me digging the cherries out of the batter–well, you get the picture. The alternative would be to put in a lot more cherries! I’ll leave that decision to you.
I started with the tiny muffin/ cupcake tins, 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and saw right away that the fruit mix was too coarse for that size–and that you’d want to do something about that before mixing into the batter. (see above) Also, they baked too fast and got very crispy on the top. Basically little rocks. Most of those went into the compost. 🙁
Regular sized muffin tins worked well though, but I would still recommend cutting up the cherries. I tried putting a half a candied cherry on top but most of them sank into the mix.
Other than that, they were very successful! 🙂
This recipe is so moist (it’s the jam and pineapple) that you really don’t have to wrap the cakes cloths soaked in brandy, or fruit juice, or, my favorite, Fireball. So I’m not planning on wrapping the cupcakes. (Although I will wrap the loaves in brandy soaked cloths, and foil, and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until Christmas.)
But I would suggest baking them in paper or, even better, foil lined muffin cups (they might stick to paper) since they get slightly candied on top and stick to the tins. I didn’t do that and had to cut them out of the tins.
And only bake for one hour thirty minutes, checking occasionally from one hour on.
It’s a great recipe, nothing like the dry cakes you buy in the supermarket. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
PS _ The winner of the print copy of The Good Neighbor in November’s Facebook sweepstakes was Teresa Byrd! Congratulations Teresa!
Watch for next month’s contest when you’ll be able to enter in comments on the blog post too.
I’ve been quiet much too long, a combination of working hard on the new Fortune Bay book (Starting Over off the editor’s today. Yay!), lots and lots of wonderful guests basically all through October (the two-month old and two-year old were just adorable), and just plain life.
So now I feel like reaching out to my readers and, to get back on track,
I’m starting a new monthly contest.
I’ll be giving away a print copy of one of my Fortune Bay books. (Yes they are available in print. Did someone say Christmas present?)
This month, it’s The Good Neighbor. (You can read an excerpt HERE )
To enter, all you have to do is answer the question of the month HERE on my facebook page, in the comments.
I’ll be picking a winner on the 15th of each month.