Yes, I just had a baby, and yes, I've just released a novel. Does that make me Super Woman? Okay, not gonna lie, it kind of does. ;)
In all seriousness, I know there are several of my author friends who have been astounded by the fact that despite having just had a baby, I got right back into my writing game and have a new release for Christmas. Many have said they couldn't possibly have done it. But could they? I suppose it's all a matter of personality and how easy-going your baby is.
I've been very blessed with Sam. He's easy to please and allows me to set him down for good chunks of time which means I can still find time to focus on my writing, and do things like maintain housework. And one of the things that I really wanted to do this year was have at least four new releases. Since I'd released the illustrated version of "Talori and the Shark" (which isn't quite new since it was in Fantastic Creatures), "Leticia's Song" in Hall of Heroes, Katie's Chance for Romance in the Fall Into Romance set, and Toil and Trouble, I needed just one more to make the goal. So it was important to me, if for no other reason than to prove I could do it, to put out one more book.
The funny thing about Of Snow and Mistletoe is I started it with every intention of it being a fantasy.
I know, you beta readers are going, "Wait, really?"
Yes, really. When I first got the idea in the form of that lovely title, I imagined a winter fairy story. Action, adventure, magic, and a little touch of romance because, well, mistletoe. I started writing and I realized it wasn't working. So I scrapped what I had and started a free-write session.
(If you're a writer, free-writes are lifesavers. Seriously, free-write as often as you can!)
Lumi and Crispin were still there, but in a totally new way. Rather than saving the fairy world, they were going to the mortal world to be matchmakers. And they weren't even going to get a regular matchmaking assignment. No, they were going to go to Christmas Pine, Michigan and help a married couple rekindle their romance. The more I wrote, the faster the story came and the more I loved my characters. Side characters came in who will have stories told in coming years. For now, enjoy Merry and Alex's story and learn with them to always put your loved ones first.
Merry pulled the large prelit tree out of its box with a smile. She knew Alex hated getting it set up, but it was better than the days of walking around and around the tree with strings of lights. Really, it didn’t take too horribly long to get the tree into its stand. Fluffing the tree took longer and Alex always grumbled that a real tree didn’t need to be fluffed. While Merry knew he was right, she also knew neither of them had the time or patience to take care of a real tree. She didn’t think she could stand the amount of sweeping it would take to clean up as dried needles fell. So a fake tree worked just fine for her. Hanging pine-scented ornaments on the tree did a fairly good job of creating the illusion of a real tree. She tucked them in where they wouldn’t be as easily visible. Once the tree was fluffed and ready, she looked over at Alex who was hanging wreaths in the windows. “Want to help put the ornaments on?” she asked.
“Be right there.”
She opened the box of ornaments. Their first Christmas ornament stood out to her immediately. Merry smiled as she put it on the tree. Had it really been four years? In some ways, nothing had changed. A frown creased her brows as she realized some things had. They no longer seemed as close as they had once been. The frown disappeared as Alex’s arms wrapped around her. “Aren’t you supposed to be putting ornaments on the tree?” she asked.
“I am,” he replied, nuzzling her neck. “There’s a bare spot right there, see?” He hung an ornament on the branch.
Merry giggled as warmth spread through her. “Ah, yes, wouldn’t want a bare spot. Good thing you saw that,” she added, turning toward her husband.
“We might have missed it all together,” Alex said, leaving a lingering kiss on Merry’s mouth.
She couldn’t think when he kissed her like that. Their home phone rang. “Ugh, mood killer.”
“We don’t have to answer,” Alex whispered, his lips teasing her ear.
The caller ID read aloud, “Debra East-el”
Alex snorted. “I wish we could program pronunciation. Then Eastle would sound like ‘easel’ like it should.”
“Wouldn’t that be nice?” The phone rang again and Merry grimaced. “I better see what Grandma wants. You know if I don’t answer she’ll assume we’ve been kidnapped or murdered. At the very least maimed.”
He kissed her forehead. “Go ahead. I’ll keep decorating.”
She smiled and then went to grab the phone just before it went to the answering machine. “Hello?”
“Good heavens, Merry, why haven’t you been answering your cell phone? I’ve been calling it for the last half-hour with no response. I was so terribly worried something had happened to you. Good thing I remembered I had your home number or I might have called the police and reported you missing!”
Mentally counting to ten, Merry replied, “After only thirty minutes, Grandma? Really, I’m fine. Alex and I are enjoying a tech-free, home date tonight.”
“Oh dear, did I interrupt your date?”
Yes, and I don’t appreciate it. “It’s all right. What did you need?”
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius