About the Book
Four novellas in a variety of genres—that’s all they are. Just four stories to quiet your heart and soul as you embrace the beauty of the Christmas season. Inside, you’ll find Vikki Kestell’s historical romance and a reminder that the Lord’s plans are always just what we need. You’ll be introduced to Cathe Swanson’s unlikely romance about a woman who sets out to do one good deed and is drawn into the lives of a cast of eccentric elderly people. You’ll meet April Hayman and her southern madcap mystery featuring an FBI agent, a con artist or two, and a few eccentric elderly people of her own. And you’ll find Chautona Havig’s Christian fiction novella that blends comedy, suspense, with a garnish of romance.
In the hope that through these Christmas stories your heart will be lightened and brightened, we offer you this collection. Merry Christmas! And a happy, light read!
The Heart of Joy by Vikki Kestell
Denver, Colorado, 1914
Joy Michaels, grieving mother and widow, resides in an aging but remarkable Denver home: a beautiful, three-story Queen Anne/Victorian mansion resplendent with towers, turrets, peaks, and gables and known locally as Palmer House. Palmer House—a most extraordinary refuge for young women rescued from prostitution.
Joy and her mother, Rose Thoresen, share the responsibilities of ministering to and mentoring the young women who live under Palmer House’s roof. But now Joy faces an agonizing decision: Should she remain true to the memory of her first love or open her heart to the possibility of new love?
Snow Angels by Cathe Swanson
Lisa Marsh has been avoiding God and people for over three years.
When her best friend challenges her to reach out and help others over her Christmas vacation, she sees it as an opportunity for redemption and takes on the project of reforming a homeless vagabond from the local mission – whether he likes it or not.
She only wanted to do one good deed…
As Lisa is irresistibly caught up in the community of teenagers, stubbornly independent veterans, and eccentric elderly people, her one small project of fixing Pete snowballs until she is reluctantly running a large Christmas ministry. And in the course of serving others and harassing Pete, Lisa learns to forgive herself and move on with life.
Snow Angels will make you laugh and make you cry and then make you laugh again. I hope you enjoy it!
Trip the Light Fantastic by April Hayman
Lance “Trip” Devereaux is an FBI agent tasked with the nearly impossible job of tailing and, hopefully, arresting Landry Crawford, the wiliest conman east of the Mississippi River. But during his investigation, things go horribly wrong for the klutzy G-man. Will Trip nab his man in time for Christmas? Or will he be left out in the cold?
Christmas Stalking by Chautona Havig
Seven Christmas trees–excessive in some people’s minds, but for Wendy Nabity, they aren’t excessive but essential. One tree for each of her cats. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Cupid, Blitzen, and Vixen each need their own trees, you see. And what “mommy” wouldn’t have stockings hung on her chimney “with care”–one for each of her fur babies?
But something isn’t right at the Nabity house. Wendy keeps finding things where they shouldn’t be, and the local police–well, they think she’s half-crazed and blind to the obvious. The cats are playing with the trees in her absence.
Neighbors on each side of her do little to help. Shy Peter will hardly look her in the eye as he blushes his way through conversations and rushes away–the besotted darling. Neal, well the whole town knows just what a rude curmudgeon Neal Kirkpatrick is! But if he makes one more rude demand of her, she might just start dumping the litter box on his front porch!
But even Fairbury’s police can’t ignore a threatening note left in one of the stockings, and one officer takes it upon himself to do something.
About the Authors
Vikki Kestell is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage—a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”
Cathe Swanson: Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels – an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.
Chautona Havig: Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection.
Guest Post from the Authors
The Christmas Lights Collection formed in the spring of 2016 with the idea of bringing four novellas together with one unifying theme: light. After all, each author in this collection has one primary focus in life: Jesus. And in the book of John, He is called the “Light of Men.”
We thought we’d share what inspired our novellas and pray that these books are a delight and encouragement to all.
The Heart of Joy: This novella is a spin-off story from Vikki Kestell’s Prairie Heritage series and features one of her most beloved characters, Joy Thoresen, from book three, Joy on This Mountain. After three years of widowhood, Joy mourns not only the loss of her husband but the child someone has kidnapped as well. Only her faith sustains her through difficult days.
Vikki’s goal in writing is to provide FaithFilledFiction to Christians, and this novella is no exception. She worked to show that even amid our sorrow, the Lord brings good, hope-filled gifts to us even when we think we’re not ready for them. She also desired to fill in small, time-veiled gaps in Joy’s story. The Heart of Joy puts the finishing touches on Joy’s story.
Snow Angels: The idea for Snow Angels came to Cathe in slow increments. The idea of using homeless veterans originally prompted research into homeless shelters and programs, but the scope of those became too much for a novella. Still, those characters had stories Cathe wanted to tell, so she continued her research and became increasingly concerned with the plight of homeless veterans—particularly the women. For some reason, we often forget that women serve, get PTSD, and end up on the streets just like the men.
Cathe wanted to combine those realities with other misconceptions that often blind us to the person behind the façade. She wanted to demonstrate how people in otherwise normal lives also can be thrust into situations that trigger PTSD and how those people work through it. Of course, with such a heavy topic, Cathe chose to write the story with a liberal dusting of humor to lighten the mood as you read.
As her debut novel, Cathe introduces readers to characters we’ll see more of in her Great Lakes series and paves the way for her upcoming novel, Baggage Claim, releasing in early 2017.
Trip the Light Fantastic: April has been working on a mystery surrounding, of all things, Shakespeare’s inkwell! So, when she was invited to be a part of the Christmas Lights Collection, April decided to do an introductory novel to her Heirlooms of Deception series and Lance “Trip” Devereaux was “born.”
April admits to loving another character, Landry, just a little bit more than the others. Yet, he could never be a main character. He’s too much of a rascal and a mastermind, so he works best from the shadows. While this book wasn’t about him directly, it could be about someone similar—someone who works in the light but has lost his way and needs help from God and some new friends. Trip the Light Fantastic is a sideways introduction into a character that April hopes will entertain readers for more books to come.
April set her series in Mississippi where her grandparents lived, so the books are rich in southern manners, mannerisms, and manors! Well, there’s one plantation belonging to her irascible but charming con-artist. Watch for a book set at the Crawford house in Spilled Ink, releasing in December 2016.
Christmas Stalkings: A couple of years ago, Chautona was on a Facebook group and a young woman admitted to having seven Christmas trees. Intrigued, she named it the “Seven Tree Obsession” and wondered what kind of character would have seven trees—and why. Well, the more she thought about it, the more interesting it became. After all, what would happen if ornaments got moved around when she wasn’t looking? Who would do that? Why? And what could she add to complicate it?
So, when the opportunity to do the Christmas Lights Collection came, Chautona decided she wanted to do that story. It seemed easy enough to contain into forty-thousand words. HA! But she got in her car, turned on her trusty voice recorder, and in the three-hour trek to her ACFW meeting, she schemed, plotted, and laughed until her sides ached at the ideas she came up with. Half never made it into the book, of course, but that’s okay. Chautona has a prequel/sequel planned for it. Lord willing, New Year’s Revolutions will release on December 31. It’s the “Paul Harvey” version—the “rest of the story.”
While Christmas Stalkings does stand alone, Chautona wanted to explore Neal’s side of things a bit. So she is. It’ll be the fastest “write-to-publication” she’s ever done, but she just had to try. So, for NaNoWriMo, Chautona is off to try to figure out what’s up with Neal and why he’s such a crusty curmudgeon. He’s too young for that! And maybe, just maybe, he’ll embrace a “new life” in the New Year.
I absolutely love to read Christmas books! Getting four in one is well worth it. Each story is different and exciting in its own way. I think my favorite story would have to be Christmas Stalkings. I love cats and I loved how Havig created seven cats with Santa’s reindeer names, the seven individual Christmas trees that were special to each cat, mystery, and her two very different male neighbors. I cracked up each time Wendy questioned herself as to whether she had done something or not because I do the exact same thing. I loved how she spoke to her cats and they sometimes “answered” back. Ironically, my cats do it too!
These short novellas helped put me into the Christmas Spirit. I am also intrigued with the character Joy and the storied that go along with her life (from The Heart of Joy). I received this book in exchange for an unbiased opinion. These thoughts are my own.
November 15: Bibliophile Reviews
November 16: blogging it out
November 16: God’s Little Bookworm
November 17: A Reader’s Brain
November 17: Blogging With Carol
November 18: Reading Is My SuperPower
November 18: Proud to be an Autism Mom
November 19: Daysong Reflections
November 19: Splashes of Joy
November 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 20: Christian Bookaholic
November 21: Bigreadersite
November 22: A Baker’s Perspective
November 22: A Greater Yes
November 23: Back Porch Reads
November 24: Blossoms and Blessings
November 25: Reviewing Novels Online
November 25: A Path of Joy
November 26: Bukwurmzzz
November 27: Raining Butterfly Kisses
November 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
November 28: Once upon a time
November 28: Carpe Diem
To celebrate their tour, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ae