Yes, I am back at my home away from home, the Silver Spur Guest Ranch for a visit and it is with great pleasure I present this guest post by returning author, Karen McCullough. So without much further ado.....Here's Karen....
I have a number of things I treasure – a few pieces of jewelry that were gifts from my husband or inherited from my mother or mother-in-law, some family heirlooms, and particularly thoughtful gifts from my kids – but in truth, I treasure my experiences and memories more than the things I have.
My most recent Christmas has to take a place near the top of that mental album of treasured memories. I’ve never had a really bad Christmas, though some have been better than others. But this one was a particularly wonderful time because I had all of my family here for it. That means myself, my husband, three kids, their spouses, and their combined five children, three of whom are under the age of four. And for the entire time they were here we had a steady stream of friends and relatives taking advantage of the opportunity to see them, since the younger two traveled from quite a distance to get here.
It was hectic, chaotic at times, and expensive. We made daily and even twice daily runs to the grocery store. We had to space out morning showers to avoid running out of hot water. The dishwasher ran three times a day until we wised up and switched to paper plates and plastic cutlery. By the time they all left, the house looked like a tornado had gone through.
It was more than worth every penny and every minute of time spent.
To hold my grandchildren and see the wonder in their eyes when they stared at the Christmas tree was a gift beyond any price. Long talks with my kids and their wonderful spouses, walks to the park and around the neighborhood, dinners crowded at the table where laughter abounded and conversation was non-stop… Every moment of their visits offered precious memories.
They’re all the more treasured because I know it won’t happen again. There will be other Christmases—God willing—and other visits with the kids. But next year the families of the younger two will likely go to the in-laws for Christmas, and we’ll probably have Christmas morning with my older daughter. That will have its own delights, but they won’t be the same.
And the younger families are expanding, which will make it more difficult still for them to travel. In the future we’ll likely go to them rather than having them come to us.
But this past Christmas is a treasure worth keeping in my heart.
To make a connection with my books, my most recent release, Blue December, is partially set at Christmas, and some of the description of Rick’s family bears similarities to my own. And the experience of the joy of family is something most of my protagonists are looking for, whether they know it or not.
It’s two weeks before Christmas and Meg Brandt, a department manager at Wambash’s, “the store with the answer to all your family’s needs,” has problems beyond the usual seasonal chaos. Her department is losing cash from the registers. Inventory is leaving the premises unrecorded and unpaid. Security is focusing on her, since the losses are happening on her watch. Her efforts to track down the source of the disappearances have produced no results, and her career appears to be headed for oblivion. When the store’s new security officer starts showing unusual attention to her, Meg isn’t sure what to think. He’s attractive in any number of ways, but she can’t be sure if his interest is personal or professional.
Purchase Blue December at Amazon.
Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Awards she’s won include an Eppie Award for fantasy; three other Eppie finals; Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.
Hope you enjoyed this week's Tuesday Treasure! Check back for Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight!
Until later...take care & God Bless!