Sunday, December 31, 2017

Priscilla Brown tries to make silver jewellery


  An entertaining contemporary romantic comedy

He almost runs her over, she breaks a shoe in a drain...what can he do but play Prince Charming? This near accident caused by Alistair is Cassandra's introduction to life in the fun lane. Both fresh out of inappropriate relationships and jobs, each is novelty value for the other. But their exes are pulling tricks to be reinstated, offering lifestyles where income is guaranteed. So can Cassie's passion for fashioning silver jewellery and Al's for re-purposing driftwood timber keep them fed? And is this too-much-too-soon chemistry fizzing between them fit for the long haul?

A few years ago, new to the area where I now live, I checked out possibilities for classes as I'm always interested in learning new things. Finding a six-week evening course on making silver jewellery, I asked it if would be suitable for a complete beginner; assured that it was, I signed up. Well, it wasn't. Or rather, the tutor preferred to work with the seven others, all of whom had done a course with her previously. Don't you hate it when a tutor pays attention only to those who already have some idea what they are doing? She started me off cutting silver, and only later did I realise she hadn't given any occupational health and safety information, surely essential in a studio with sharp tools, soldering and electrical equipment and a gas-heated dish. I pestered her with "is this OK?" and "what do I do now?" After the six weeks, I ended up with a ring, two pairs of earrings and an unfinished pendant.The ring was too small, one pair of earrings was too heavy, while the other, on which I etched a simple design, was definitely wearable.A few weeks later, I saw an exact copy of this pair under the tutor's name in the studio shop.So I might have been the student who knew nothing, but my design was marketable. I was very annoyed.
But I did come away from this unsatisfactory experience with something worthwhile: an idea for a story involving a silver jewellery designer. Silver Linings was hatched. I'd recently completed Hot Ticket which is located in tropical Darwin, and I wanted to set this new romance at the other end of Australia in an isolated area with harsh winter weather. I love researching, and if it involves travel, so much the better! I explored southern Tasmania, conceiving a wild island on the edge of the Southern Ocean. I also spent time in and around Hobart, visiting galleries similar to where my characters could sell their creations, and inventing a funky bar where Alistair takes Cassandra after he almost runs her over. No one almost ran me over, but I did get to a funky bar...

Whatever hopes and wishes are on your list, may 2018 deliver in spades! And, of course, great reading! 
Happy New Year from Priscilla

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

Links to all my historical novels:

We're between the Christmas holiday and New Year. Here in the northeast we’ve had our first real cold snap, with a not-so gentle reminder that it’s soon to be another year.  December crackles and shrivels like a dead leaf. 

It’s a time when ancestors are remembered, sometimes in the patterns of light reflecting from 2017’s LED decked Christmas tree, sometimes in the carp-like mouths of Byer’s carolers you got from your Mom, sometimes in the low angle from which the northern sun sends rays into our aging eyes. 

I've had my mother-in-law, Carol Waldron, in mind, along with memories of shared holidays, all fast receding into the distant past. I’ve had something of a celebration for her, in fact. This is done in two ways, both which would probably amuse her. The first, and I’ve already talked about this one, is by wearing her 1970’s coat to the gym or anywhere convention doesn't require anything more than utility.  Despite the best efforts of the beautiful people—and don’t get me wrong—I’m in awe of their skill at self-presentation—I never looked anywhere near that good on my best young day—I still claim the right to wear an old coat sometimes. (Could it be the next frontier on the road to gender equality, the right to not give a damn about appearances?)

I suggested to Chris—who has been enjoying his time in our kitchen (working on his Palmdale Punjabi dinners)-- that he, for a change, try his hand at baking a batch of his Mother’s cookies for the holiday meal. This Christmas, in our case, was minimally attended.  My husband’s brother Nick would come up from Maryland, but he too would remember--and eat too many--of Carol’s cookies. Then we’d all have a sugar-induced spell of recollection about our clan as it was long ago in those long gone days of 20th Century yesteryear.

The recipe is titled Cowboy Cookies—and I think that says as much about the probable time of origin as anything.  The brand new media television thrived on cowboy shows, and boomer kids like me were crazy about Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans.

 (Carol, Springfield, MA H.S. Valedictorian)

Mid-1950’s, when all those educated young women were expected to morph into docile homemakers, Carol, the ex-chemistry major, would bake this recipe by the gross. She did so, too, and far too often, much to the detriment of everyone's waistline, but let no one say she was not enacting "Mom."

 A friend recently tasted one of these cookies and said she thought they were the original Tollhouse© recipe. These are nothing like the now fashionable gigantic, soggy, under-baked and laden with too much everything "cookie" of today. 

Cowboy Cookies deliver a balanced mixture of dough and additive. They are thoroughly baked. Although soft and gooey upon first emergence from the oven, they get even better after cooling overnight, becoming crunchy and buttery crisp along the edges.
 This Christmas, Chris used what we had in the cupboard, substituting about 1/2 cup brown flour for some of the oatmeal, which we’d run out of. And of course, following our taste-buds, we had Hershey’s© Special Dark chocolate chips and local black walnuts from one of the nearby farm markets for the gussying up.  

Cowboy Cookies

Sift together:

2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
½ tsp. baking powder

In a separate bowl , cream together:
1 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Once that’s fully integrated, slowly beat in two eggs.

Next, combine dry and wet mixtures.

Finally, add 2 cups of oatmeal, a bit at a time, and then work in the (chocolate) chips, nuts of whatever kind. Drop by teaspoon onto greased/parchment cookie sheet and bake for 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Rack or paper cool. 

(Warning: sugar shock possible with unchecked consumption.) 

Happy New Year!
~~Juliet Waldron

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Realistic Ending vs. Happily Ever After Endings by Connie Vines

How do you want a story to end? Should it have a fairy tale ending? A hopeful ending? Or do you like stories with more realistic endings—even if the protagonist doesn’t come out ahead and the villain doesn’t get his?

Realistic Endings vs. Happily Ever After Endings

While some would consider me a witty, yet realistic introvert, they would be surprised to learn that I’m a big fan of the fairy tale ending. Sure, I like my mysteries and crime shows and novels, an occasional Disney movie, and I overdose on Hallmark Chanel movies. Who doesn’t? But I prefer at least a hint of happily-ever-after endings. Yes, my historical novels are very realistic.  Still, I must always have a glimmer of hope and the chance of a happily-ever-after ending. . .somewhere in the future.

I have to care about the characters. I will forgive problems with plot and storyline if I just have to know what happens to the characters.

To make me care, the characters have to be genuine, authentic, real. I have to know they are, in many ways, like me. We all have our commendable qualities and those we’d rather keep hidden from the world. As writers, our characters have to be the same. Otherwise, the reader won’t be able to relate and will too easily dismiss them.

Realistic? Yes. Dark and defeated? Definitely not. 

Not even in my paranormal or hard-scrabble historical stories. 

Turn Off the Lights, But Leave the Door Open

Christy Harkin said, “The difference between writing for adults and children is this: You can lead children into a dark room, but you must leave a door open.”

I actually prefer that open door myself—or at least a distant pinpoint of light. 

Action adventure. Suspense. Drama. In all of these genres, the moments we can take a breath—maybe even laugh a little—help us prepare for the intensity to come. These moments must be skillfully crafted. They can’t boot the reader out of the story altogether.

Maybe the protagonist’s best friend cracks a joke when he’s nervous.

Maybe the evil antagonist has a soft spot for kittens (Hellboy).

Maybe an unjaded, innocent child plays a key role in the story (Remember the original and the reboot of the t.v. show “V”?).

Maybe the protagonist grew up surrounded by love and laughter, moves back into her family home and is reminded of those memories everywhere she looks.

Even the most sobering, the most depressing story can have its upbeat moments and a positive yet realistic ending.

Can our stories be believable and realistic yet sprinkled throughout with positivity? Yes, I believe they can.


Spend ten minutes and write an intensely dark scene. List three or four ways you can shine a light into the darkness. Choose the most believable and write for an additional five minutes, bringing the light to bear.

Post your scene in the comments area and take the time to share some positive comments with your fellow writers/readers.


How do you craft a happy ending?

Your readers want your protagonist to get what they set out for, but if everything is miraculously, flawlessly perfect by the end, it may all seem a bit too good to be true. Create an ending that is positive but has a bittersweet edge, or simply reflects the struggles and sacrifices your protagonist had to make to get there. If you look to some of the endings of celebrated books, while they may be considered happy, there is usually something that keeps them from being entirely perfect, and that’s why readers root even harder and are even happier that the hero of your story got what they deserved in the end.

Tie up any loose ends

There is nothing worse than ending a book and going ‘is that it?’ If there are lots of unexplained elements to your book, or lots of parts to your story that remain open ended, you run the risk of frustrating your reader, no matter how pleasing your ending is. Tie up any loose ends before you finish your story - unless it’s part of a series that is in which case leaving them on a cliffhanger can be intriguing!

Keep it simple

Of course, the build up to the end of your story can be full of drama and tension and maybe even a twist or two. But when it comes to writing the actual ending don’t over complicate things. If you throw in distractions or suddenly add another element or layer you’ll only distract the reader, and this will make your ending seem weaker and take away from it somewhat.

Don’t use a cop out

Make you're ending thoughtful and meaningful. If your protagonist is in an impossible situation at the end of your book, think carefully about how to get them out of it. If they suddenly wake up and ‘it was all a dream’ or a magical unexplained force or character suddenly saves the day, your reader will feel cheated, and despite having resolved anything they won’t appreciate the way you’ve done it.
Don’t force a happy ending

If a happy ending doesn’t feel right, don’t force one just because you think it will please your readers. Write an ending that suits the style and content of your story, not all books have to have happy endings after all!

Snippets from my all my novels and novellas are available at BWL, Publishing and my website.  (link to purchase)

Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1 

She moved to make a fresh pot of coffee, offering him an unobstructed head-to-toe view.  He recognized the sassy, denim western shirt and was grateful for the ruffled blouse that concealed the rising curves of her breasts.  He knew she had curves, he had felt everyone of them yesterday when he held her in his arms.  Today he wanted no visual reminder of how lush her body really was.

Rachel returned and refilled his mug, and Lynx paraded his thoughts and a different direction.  “What are you doing working the early shift?” he asked.

Rachel poured herself a mug of coffee, frowning at his question.  Grabbing the sugar container, she poured a long stream into her coffee and stirred.  “I couldn’t sleep. So I came in early.”

“Join the club.” He watched her take a sip of her coffee.

Her gaze flew to his, and he smiled, a measure of wicked satisfaction rushing through him at the telltale flush sweeping across her cheeks.  He waited in anticipation for her response, but before she could reply, they were interrupted.

Charlene came around the corner, her arms full holding a platter containing his breakfast, Tabasco sauce and a bottle of catsup.  Sliding the platter onto the counter, she said, “Nothing like a good meal to take the orneriness out of a man.”  She cast him a smile before sitting down the bottles.  He grinned at her, and Charlene blew him a kiss.

Lynx reached for his fork.

Charlene tossed her head, her blonde mane of hair tumbling around her shoulders.  “Give Lynx a chance,” she hissed as she walked past her friend. “I bet he’s stubborn, but I have a feeling he can be awfully sweet.”

“Sweet” wasn’t a word Rachel would use to describe the tall Texan.  “Sexy,” “tough,” “arrogant,” and maybe “charming.”  “Sweet? Never.  “I doubt it,” she said.

Charlene chuckled, and then glanced at Lynx.  “Coward.”  She tossed the word at Rachel before snagging a cup of coffee and heading back to the kitchen.

Was she a coward?  Rachel glanced at Lynx’s bent head, the thick pelt of hair glistening under the lights.  His hands were strong and capable, and oh-so-gentle, her heart reminded her.

With a soft sigh, the sweet memory of Lynx’s touched drifted through her mind leaving her achy and empty inside.  Was she throwing away her chance at happiness with both hands? She wondered.  Why was she thinking of that now?  Shaking off the sensation of loss.  Rachel glanced out the window at Lynx’s dusty red truck.

He’d be leaving soon.

Still, her heart overflowed with an indescribable feeling as she looked at Lynx.  It was a shattering realization that frightened her—Lynx Maddox had found a way into her heart.

Coming attractions:

Bell, Book, & Gargoyle, Sassy and Fun Fantasy Series, Novella 2

Why does the doorbell always ring at the worst time?

With on hand trying to hold her hair on top of her head and the other stretched across the vanity, reaching for her hairbrush, Sybil Shayne frowned into the mirror as the door chimes echoed through her high-rise apartment.

“Oh, for the love of Max Factor,” she mumbled around a mouthful of hair pins, trying in vain to twist a stray lock of hair that insisted in obstructing her line of vision. Just one minute more and she’d have this pinned. . .

The peal of the doorbell as replaced by determined knocking.  Whoever was out there wasn’t giving up.  “Okay, okay.  I’ll be right there!”

Jabbing one final pin into her hair and fumbling with a can of hairspray, she managed to fill her tiny bathroom with the sticky mist, before bounding down the hallway.  Once she reached the living room, she screeched to a halt and forced herself to walk slowly.  Think poised, she reminded herself.  She did have a reputation to maintain.  This could be one of her clients on the other side of the door.
Hand on the doorknob, she actually jumped when the doorbell sounded again.

Lipsticked smile firmly in place, she jerked open the door.

An attractive, dark-haired woman carrying a bundle of some sort, shouldered her aside and stepped inside the apartment. “Sib, shut the door.  Hurry-up. I think someone may have followed me!”

Without though, Sybil automatically followed her best friend’s orders.  Sliding the deadbolt lock into place for good measure.  “What do you mean, you’re being followed” Standing on tiptoe, she glanced through the peephole to the outside hallway.  “I don’t see anyone.”

After marching over to the floor-to-ceiling window, Pippa yanked the gauzy curtains closed.  “Turn off the lights!  Never mind, hold her.” She said shifting the firmly wrapped blanket into Sybil’s arms.

“She’s heavy,” she warned before darting through the apartment, snapping off lights like a wild woman.

Pippa was right this bundle was heavy.  “What kind of puppy do you have, a St. Bernard?  I feel like a holding a chuck of cement.”

“No! Don’t put her down.  She’s not a puppy.  Just keep holding her.  Magdalena is her name by the way.”

“Not a puppy?” Sybil asked, alarm widening her eyes, and causing her voice to rise an octave or two.
“Pippa what are you up to now?”


I hope you have enjoyed my article and the snippets.
I hope everyone has enjoyed a wonderful Holiday Season. 

I am looking forward to 2018. 

Happy New Year!



Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The birthday soliloquy - by Vijaya Schartz

Find the Archangel books and other books from Vijaya Schartz  at BWL Publishing HERE

Today is my birthday. Nothing special? Maybe not. But to me each day is special. Don't expect me to reveal my age. A French woman will keep you guessing. But a birthday is always a landmark, a reminder that our life is what we make of it, that it's never too late to implement positive change, that good or bad luck are dictated by our outlook on life.

Am I old? Am I young? I am who I am, changed by my insatiable curiosity, my thirst for travels, and enriched by relationships along the way. I am loved by some and disliked by others, like anyone with clear beliefs born of experience.  I was taught early on, never to take anything at face value, to research diligently, think for myself, and draw my own conclusions.

I write about aliens.The Ancient Enemy series is about alien invasion and the heroines who struggle to prevent it.
Do I believe in aliens? If you read my books, you know the answer.

Some call my stories original and my characters believable despite all odds, but whether I write about angels, aliens, heroes, villains, or mythical creatures, they reflect my idea of the universe. I write from a place where justice always prevails in the end, where deserving heroes win, villains get their just punishment, and sincere lovers get their happily ever after.

My stories do not happen in an idyllic world. Far from it. But in popular fiction, unlike in life, the writer has a choice, and I choose to spread hope rather than despair or fear. My worlds are safe for the readers to travel... as long as my characters watch over them.

Even in Celtic myths, like in the Curse of the Lost Isle medieval fantasy series, set in a dark historical period, my characters bring light and hope.
So to me, birthdays may add up but age doesn't matter. I will keep writing the uplifting stories my readers love, where, no matter how grim it looks, heroes will find a way to make the world a better place.

Happy Reading!


Vijaya Schartz
  Action, Romance, Mayhem
  Amazon - Barnes & NobleSmashwords -

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Boxing Day from Tricia McGill

Visit my author page at Books We Love for links to all my books
A great deal has been written about Christmas Day, its history and its traditions. Whether Christian or otherwise probably everyone in the world knows its meaning and many share the day with family and friends. But not so many know about Boxing Day, its origins and meaning—myself included. To me as I grew up it was just the day after Christmas Day and I never took the time to ponder on why it was called such.

I remember it as a day for eating leftover turkey, home-made mince pies and pudding, and the family lazing around or playing cards in the afternoon and into evening. Card games were a staple pastime with my family. When not partying or arguing, any family gathering eventually ended up with a game of cards. The stakes were high, usually matchsticks. One of my father’s favourites was Cribbage:

This game needed a board and I brought my Dad’s one with me around the world and have put it away safely, so darned safe that I currently don’t know where it is. Perhaps I have given it to a younger family member for safe keeping. It wasn’t smart like the modern ones but brown with curved edges, something like this picture. The pegs were lost ages ago but my memories were of matchsticks always being used.

Apparently Boxing Day is only celebrated in a few countries, and likely only those with connections to the UK such as Australia, Canada (not so sure of) South Africa and New Zealand.  It’s also celebrated in Germany (Zweite Feiertag) Any German folk who read this please feel free to correct me on my spelling.

It all began in the Middle Ages around 800 years ago in the UK. In those days an alms box was kept in the churches and opened the day after Christmas Day, so the contents could be distributed among the poor folk in the parish, of which there were likely to be many. This tradition is still kept in some churches and the “box” still opened on Boxing Day. As a side note, some collection boxes in Holland were made out of earthenware in the shape of pigs, so it is likely this was where the term “Piggy Bank” was born.

Another memory I have was that the postman, milkman, baker, butcher etc., in fact any delivery man, was always given what my parents called a “Christmas Box” which was a small payment and as much as they could afford. This tradition apparently springs from the old one where large manor houses with servants always gave the staff a day off on Boxing Day to spend with their families and they were also usually given a gift. When we first settled in Australia (in the days when the postman etc. actually knocked at the door to deliver) it was custom to give them bottles of beer or similar. Even the garbage men received something in those days. This custom all stopped because the garbage truck now picks up the bins with his truck’s mechanical arm and the driver has no contact with us except the occasional wave as he passes. Similarly the postman/woman whizzes by on his/her mini motorbike, barely stopping long enough to deposit the mail in our letterbox. Those were the good old days when we actually had a few welcome words to say to the people who served us instead of talking to machines as we do in a lot of our larger stores today.

A lot of sport is played on Boxing Day. Here we have the cricket, which is a massive event in Melbourne. The Boxing Day Test match is held between our National team and a visiting team. Not sure who they are playing against this year as I am not a cricket fan. Another huge sporting event is the Bluewater Classic, a yacht race that starts on Boxing Day from Sydney Harbour and covers 630 nautical miles to end in Hobart, beautiful Tasmania. I was fortunate to see the start of the race years ago from one of the great vantage points around the Harbour with a yachting friend of ours. It was quite a spectacular sight.

Another great memory from my childhood in London was the pantomime. My mother ensured that I saw one most years, and these mostly started playing around Christmas time or soon after. Sometimes we would go to the local church hall where amateurs performed and other times to a theatre. What a fun outing that was. It is a tradition that is still carried on in the UK where nowadays well-known celebrities take part. The ugly sisters of Cinderella were always men in drag, and Aladdin oddly always played by a female. The audience shared the fun, as part of the enjoyment was that you were urged to join in with lots of shouting and booing etc.

 The 26th of December is also known as St. Stephen’s Day, and there were two St. Stephen’s in history, one believed to have been the first Christian Martyr. He was said to have been stoned to death by some who did not believe in Jesus. The other St. Stephen was a missionary who was a devout animal lover who especially loved horses. Also a Martyr, he was killed by pagans in Sweden.

One of the carols I loved as a child was Good King Wenceslas. The rest of the carol has faded from my memory but I well recall the first verse, which of course was set on the Feast of Stephen (St. Stephen’s Day). Because the good King was helping the poor there was a strong connection to Boxing Day.

“Good King Wenceslas looked out, upon the Feast of Stephen, when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.”

How many of you were singing along with that as I was as I wrote it.

Here in Australia the post-Christmas sales start on Boxing Day where the stock left over after the Christmas rush is sold at reduced prices. It is often a scramble to get a bargain, and I personally take no part in it. I hate shopping at the best of times and the idea of being pushed and shoved by bargain-hunters does not appeal to me, but many make it a regular outing and have been known to pick up phenomenal bargains
My appreciation to the following for most of the above facts:

I wish everyone a magnificent 2018 and may we all enjoy the best of health and happiness. And wouldn’t it be the best year ever if we all finally learnt to live together in the harmony we yearn for.

My Web Page

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day Blog

While it defied all odds my blog on the 25th of each month falls on Christmas this month.

It will be three years since we’ve seen a white Christmas. Bing Crosby movies aside
Nancy and I haven’t been skating since the nineties. By chance, we have a skating rink across the street, on the shore of Lake Ontario. Hesitantly, we gave it a try. It took a few minutes to get back in the skate groove. However, we head out there every couple days. Great fun.
I’m not sure if it’s the Toronto air, but we have another retro moment coming up. I have an Orthodox Christian background we had never dared try out own “twelve meatless dishes” feast.
This year on January 7th we will host one of these amazing meals. I think I’m looking foreward the most to the wheat pudding with dried apricots and slivered almonds. Of course, the cherry perogies will be magical, as will the poppy seed cake.
I suspect an extra trip to the gym will be inorder.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday season everyone.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What is the YA Secret Series?

Happy Holidays Everyone! Good tidings and cheers to all: ) Thank you for stopping in, I was hoping you would as I have a few things to share about my new young adult Secret Series.

First off here’s the Secret Series tagline for the YA paranormal, supernatural series:
A series of secrets, invisible yet glaring, and most include a supernatural spin, like an unwelcomed sensation sparking every nerve ending.

Each book has a “secret,” sometimes more than one, and it usually comes with an element of the paranormal, sci-fi, or supernatural. Each book is unique in characters – there are no ties from one book to another with the exception of the secret thread, not the same secret either.

The young adults that star in each book vary in ages, like for instance, Secret: In Wolf Lake stars Sam (Samantha) a fifteen-year-old, and Secret: In HL Woods stars Bri, a seventeen-year-old. The next book releasing end of next year, Secret: Of Amber Eyes will star Morgan, a high school newly graduated eighteen-year-old woman.

Every book is its own story from beginning to finish so it doesn’t follow any sequence of events or evolving characters and relationships from one book to another – the books can be read in any order: )

Here’s Secret: In Wolf Lake Blurb: YA sci-fi

Samantha’s dealing with a lot of emotional blow-back from her mother’s new marriage. Then she discovers a gifted creature living in Wolf Lake, and life suddenly becomes all about keeping his existence a secret, earning his trust.

That is until his life depends on her saving him. But she won’t be able to do it alone…

Secret: At HL Woods Blurb: YA Paranormal

Bri, seventeen-year-old ghost-seer, keeps her ability under wraps at the new school until a murdered couple from the 60’s asks for help.

Kyle, a high school jock, realizes the new girl lives next door; she’s crazy cute, goth-odd, and too convenient to ignore.

Max, Kyle’s best friend, only sees Bri as a wicked threat.

Luke, Bri’s gay best friend, moves in for the summer, escaping his abusive father.

Paths cross, sparks spew…will anyone remain the same after?

Wishing you and yours joy, abundance, and health for the New Year and always.

DK Davis - BWL Publishing Inc. Author Page:

Saturday, December 23, 2017

It's Nearly Here! by Victoria Chatham

OK, I admit it. I'm a sucker for Christmas. Admittedly there have been a few years when Christmas has lost some of it's meaning, but the older I get, the more I appreciate it. 

It's not so much the tree and the trimmings, or the food and the wine, but the realization that without the company of family and friends at this particular time of year we are somehow at a loss. 

My family is far away but I can still see them and talk to them because of Skype.  An e-mail can garner an almost immediate response and Messenger can help reconnect people who may have lost touch. Moving to a new location, whether it be a new house or a new country, often meant that someone's address got lost in the transfer, or maybe they had moved, too, and the notifications crossed in the mail. There could be a hundred and one reasons that people lost touch but now, unless they don't want to be found, that reconnection is not impossible.

Today is my daughter's birthday, so I called her as I usually do. We talked for not too long as she was at work (she manages a jewelry store in the UK) and we briefly discussed the family gathering we had in October when I went home for a visit. My cousin was home from Australia, an Uncle and another cousin were home from France and the cousin who hosted the family get-together and I had not seen each other for thirty years. We talked about our childhood Christmases spent at our grandmother's house when, post-war, we got a stocking
containing an orange, chocolate and nuts, and one or two gifts and thought ourselves incredibly well provided for. 

I think back to other Christmases when my children had so many gifts their father and I had to hold some of them back. The Christmases when someone finished up in tears because they didn't get what they wanted, or someone hadn't done what they said they would do, or the sheer exhaustion of getting everything ready for the table and having the turkey and whatever went with it all served hot at the same time. 

For me, Christmas is not to be found in the stores, but in the hearts of people. It's in the enjoyment of their pleasure and company and the hope of a happier and healthier New Year for one all. 

So enjoy the season, celebrate it as you may, and look forward with hope to what 2018 may bring.

Victoria Chatham

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