Off-season Strategy

January has become a month of semi-hibernation for me. About ten years ago, I found myself a bit depressed and unresponsive in January. One year I decided to counteract those feelings with a new strategy. What if I pulled out of a few obligations for that month only. I couldn’t quit my teaching job or ignore my children, but I decided a few organizations and commitments could survive without my presence.

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DeGray Lake Resort

I took a leave from choir, civic organization committee meetings, and Sunday school teacher. During those four weeks, I read, exercised, and caught up on some projects like writing and photo albums. When February arrived, I was ready to plunge back into my place in outside activities.

img_6510I travel as often as I can. Most of the time it is during tourist season since I am a teacher. Spring break and summer are the most opportune time for me to get away, along with everyone else. This year I tried something different. I used my strategy of doing something out of the ordinary.

Two days after Christmas, my husband and I spent three days at an Arkansas lake resort—yes, in winter. A resort known for lake activities, horseback riding, golf, hiking, nature watching, offered a warm place to sit in front of a fire, drink hot drinks, eat well, watch movies, and relax. The off season brought a few families to gather around beautiful Christmas trees and shiny winter decorations. There was no hustle and bustle in the towns or at the resort. I enjoyed the calm, semi-hibernation existence.

I give 5 stars for off-season resorts and for my January reclusive lifestyle (especially if normalcy is just around the bend). February will be here soon enough.

img_6530I’m enjoying reading and writing. And, I have 100 prints to put in my France photo album. Do you enjoy anything about an off-season vacation or time in your life?

 

Catching Christmas Review and Giveaway

I am very excited to offer my review of Terri Blackstock’s Catching Christmas. I have read so many of her intriguing mystery and suspense novels. This one looks and reads and feels like Christmas. In addition to the tour giveaway, I am giving away one copy of Catching Christmas to someone who comments on this blog.

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Catching ChristmasCatching-Christmas-210x300

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 9, 2018

This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 My Review

I have followed Terri Blackstock and her writing career since I lived in the same city as she did over twenty years ago. I even attended a workshop she taught. This novel shows a different, upbeat, feel-good side of her writing skill. If you want mystery and suspense that you usually find in many of her other books, Catching Christmas offers a different experience.

The festive cover features a little yellow taxi cab with gifts on top. This is definitely a book offering a gift of love, hope, second chances, and forgiveness through acts of giving and sacrifice.

I must admit I laughed and smiled a lot while curled up with this novel. Thank you, Terri, for a delightful Christmas–and life–tale.

I give Catching Christmas five stars.

About the Author

Terri-Blackstock-200x300Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

From Terri Blackstock

 

Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas

https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage

To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:

“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby

“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe

“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant

“Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon

“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

Genesis 5020, December 15

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

The Power of Words, December 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 16

Among the Reads, December 17

Kathleen Denly, December 17

By The Book, December 17

Lighthouse Academy, December 17

Cultivating Us, December 18

Simple Harvest ReadsDecember 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 18

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20

amandainpa, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20

Multifarious, December 21

Cathe Swanson, December 21

Stories By Gina, December 21

Connect in Fiction, December 22

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

Lis Loves Reading, December 23

Mary Hake, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Book by Book, December 24

Pause for Tales, December 24

To Everything A Season, December 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

Vicky Sluiter, December 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26

Inklings and notions, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27

Captive Dreams Window, December 27

Texas Book-aholic, December 27

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Older & Smarter?, December 28

Janices book reviews, December 28

Carpe Diem, December 28

Giveaway

1e998299-1dd7-470d-9237-3d8e3cf18173To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d776/catching-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Also, when you comment here, I will enter you in an additional giveaway of Catching Christmas from me.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 1772

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I have a funny confession to make. When I wrote the draft for Hold Me Close, I knew Elizabeth, my heroine, would love Christmas. I had her 1772 home in Charles Town, South Carolina decorated with a tall, full tree, greenery, and candles everywhere. As the story traveled through a critique group, a very wise critic brought to my attention a grave error. (Of course, she told me tactfully and nicely.) Christmas trees were not introduced and used in the United States until the 1800’s. Oops!

dc252520076_thumb25255B225255DOh, how I hated taking away Elizabeth’s Christmas tree. How could I replace that? With a few gorgeous, bountiful wreaths. Garland, greenery, candles, and a nativity remained intact. After the initial shock, I smiled and rewrote Elizabeth’s Christmas tree scene:

On this crisp Monday morning, Elizabeth put the finishing touches on the pine and fir wreath placed on the front door of her house. The pheasant feathers, nestled between oranges, pine cones, and magnolia leaves, graced the wreath…

“There. Spectacular,” she voiced out loud as she stepped back to view the rather large evergreen wreath, her handiwork hanging by a read sash attached to the door…

The candles in the windows, the smaller wreaths suspended from each window and the swags and garland throughout the house caused Elizabeth to twirl around the foyer. The sights and smells of Christmas brought back so many memories of her childhood in Boston. As a little girl, the decorations always triggered her anticipation of all the Christmas season events–parties, dresses, food, family, gifts, but mostly the singing, smiles, and happiness all around.

Promo 4 Hold Me CloseMy decorations are now complete. Now I can concentrate on the singing, family, anticipation of all the Advent season brings, especially the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

What are some special items you use for decorations?

 

 

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