Mystery of the Missing Christmas Lighting Display

As Christmas approaches one family tradition is to drive the neighborhoods enjoying the Christmas lighting displays everyone puts up.  The last few years there have been less and less.  I understand, as our own lighting display has been downsized.

Last year many around our area protested a utilities rate hike in November set to reap the benefits of those who put up Christmas lighting displays.  Yes, sadly we were one of those, since the year before our December utility bill had been a lot higher than in previous years.  We couldn’t afford another huge increase, and the deliberate timing of the hike was deliberately grinchy, so we put up only the minimal lighting display. It was a sad year for enjoying Christmas lights displays.

This year, the rate hike will be put off until January as in previous years, except last year. Wise decision utilities department. The lightening displays have returned, and ours included.

The real point of this post is for many years, we watched a certain home in our area add to his homemade Christmas display and looked forward to seeing what had been added each year. It was not religious in nature, but fun. There were Peanuts characters, then Tweety Bird & its companions, Little Mermaid, the Grinch, Disney Characters, Winnie the Pooh and pals, just to name a few, all homemade. Spotlights illumined the display.  Suddenly about four years ago, not only were there no new characters, but the display disappeared entirely. Each Christmas we checked, still the house was dark, no sign of the previously wonderful Christmas light and character display. Had they moved, after all this is a military town, people come and go a lot? Was there a family illness or emergency that caused the display to go missing?  While we reveled in the other fantastic lighting displays, we were saddened as we drove past the dark house checking each year.

No we never knew the people who lived in that house. But we felt a connection to them watching the display grow year after year.

Last night, December 10, 2017, we clambered into our truck, hot chocolate in hand, to go check out the neighborhood Christmas lights. With trepidation we turned the corner where the darkened house had been for several years. Lo and behold, in all its previous glory the Christmas lights and beloved characters were on the front lawn, house and roof.  We were ecstatic to see the house lit up once again, the Peanuts merry-go-round spinning slowly, all the other cartoon characters smiling broadly. No new characters, but that was alright because the decorations were back. 

We took pictures, and decided to share the beloved display with you. Funny how one thing can brighten your spirits as that house did ours last night. This year I believe we will go back to that house and knock on their door and tell them how much we have enjoyed their display throughout the years. Also how much we missed it when it was gone.  Christmas lighting is a time consuming, expensive endeavored and a labor of love. To those of you who set up Christmas displays year after year, THANK YOU!

Please share your Christmas Traditions with us in the comments.

 


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Elves Christmas Celebration in the Red Barn

Welcome to the Highway Cafe Christmas Blog Tour.  Come celebrate each day from December 4-8,  visit new blogs along the tour for fun, prizes, recipes, and holiday tales.

It’s rumored that Santa has given the elves a night off before the big day to reward their hard work. To verify these speculations we scramble up the ladder outside the big red barn, climb into the hay loft to peer down. Sure enough the elves have gathered to party the night away beneath the white snowflake lights that cast a magical aura over the celebration.

We spy Twinkle Bright elf settled in a chair, her feet tucked in fuzzy red otter slippers propped on a large hay bale. She’s dressed in red jeans and green Christmas sweater with the words “Santa’s Team” emblazoned across the front. Her hands are wrapped around a large mug of steaming hot chocolate (her own secret recipe), overflowing with whipped cream and marshmallows as she sings Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer at the top of her lungs.  Several elves are dancing around the huge Christmas tree which is decorated with strings of popcorn and cranberries. Bubble lights bubble merrily beside the twinkling lights and shiny baubles on the tree. Brightly colored packages, tied with ribbons and bows are stacked under the evergreen.

Just as Twinkle Bright set her mug on the floor, another elf rushes over and grabs her hand and tugs her to her feet.

“Lets dance.”

The plate with a piece of Fantasy Fudge flys off Twinkle Bright’s lap and crashes to the floor. “Look what you’ve done,” she squeals.

“Sorry.” The elf waves his hand in the direction of the mess, the dish repairs itself, the fudge returns to the plate and hovers in the air in front of Twinkle Bright’s face. “Okay the five second rule applies.”  A wide grin spread across his face.

“Not even.” Twinkle Bright narrowed her eyes at him. “New piece of fudge (her famous recipe) on a clean plate.” She snapped her fingers.

“Yeah, yeah… after the dance.” He spun her onto the dance area the reflection from the white snowflake lights shimmer in her copper hair.  Her red/green elf hat with twinkling multicolored lights sprinkled on it,  bells on the tip flew across the room and smacked Goth Elf in the face.  Strains of the Jingle Bell Rock shook the barn. After the dance, Twinkle Bright retrieved her hat as her elfin partner brought over two pieces of Fantasy Fudge on a festive holiday plate. She bit into a piece and closed her eyes. “Hmmmmm.”

“This is a great reward for a job well done.” Her elfin friend commented.

Twinkle Bright nodded in agreement. “Best job in the world.”

Recipe for Fantasy Fudge.

3 cups white sugar

3/4 cup margarine

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to list

Directions

  1. Grease a 9×13-inch pan.
  2. Mix sugar, margarine, and evaporated milk in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to a full boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and thoroughly combined. Beat in marshmallow creme, add nuts if you like, and vanilla extract. Pour fudge mixture into the prepared pan and let cool before cutting into squares.

Leave a comment here, like my author facebook page and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $10.00 Amazon gift card, to be awarded at the end of the tour., December 11th. If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, sign up for my quarterly newsletter.

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Click on the cover to read more or buy.

Just in time for Christmas:   A VAMPIRE’S UNLIKELY ALLIANCE–Not what you’ve come to expect from a Vampire Tale! Exciting romantic fantasy where vampires and gryphons, warlocks and demons, witches and faeries work together for the survival of man and magic kind alike.  But will their intervention be too late?  Just in time for Christmas.

A little more about A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance – Stefan is a Native American vampire, former assassin for the Vampire Council. In a twist of fate, he now DJ’s the midnight shift for a small radio station in Whitefish, Montana, on the edge of Glacier National Park where his secret is safe until…

Born in Ireland, Brandy now works as a park ranger and trail guide in the park. During a full moon, Stefan and Brandy’s paths cross in a near physical collision on a trail. Their attraction is immediate and undeniable, almost as if fate demanded it.

Their union was foretold long ago in Irish folk tales where vampires and gryphons, warlocks and demons, witches and faeries must work together for the good of man and magic kind. Is a trip to Ireland the key to unravelling secrets and returning the magic? And even more importantly, will their love survive the trip?

Available at: Amazon   Amazon UK , Amazon AU, itunes, The Wild Rose Press and Barnes & Noble.

For more fun Christmas tales, recipes and giveaways follow the rest of the tour listed below:

December 4
Holland Rae – https://hollandrae.com/
Susanne Matthews – https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/
Sorchia DuBois – www.sorchiadubois.com
Mariah Lynne –

December 5
Tena Stetler – http://www.tenastetler.com/category/my-say-what-blog/
Maureen Bonatch – http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/
Peggy Jaeger – https://peggyjaeger.com/
Barbara Burke – https://barbaraburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

December 6
Kelly Kalmanson – http://kkweil.blogspot.com
M.S. Spencer – http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com
Hywela Lyn – www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com
Reggi Allder – https://reggiallder.blogspot.com/

December 7
Denyse Bridger – http://www.fantasypages.ca
Clair de Lune – https://clairdelunebooks.co.uk/
Karen Blake-Hall – https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/
Casi McLean – http://casimclean.com/a-christmas-to-remember/

December 8
Darlene Fredette – http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com
Daryl Devore – http://daryldevore.blogspot.ca
Gini Rifkin – http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com
Linda Carroll-Bradd – http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

 


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NaNoWriMo – A Tale of 50,000 Words in Thirty Days – Yippee

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Thanks for checking back to see how I’m doing on my 50,000 words.  So far so good, I’m pleased to say, twenty-eight days into it and I’m  at  approximately,  54,398 words. Thank you very much! Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner! LOL 

Along with millions of writers around the world, (okay maybe not millions, but close)  I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month. A challenge  to write fifty-thousand words in thirty days. For weeks, our minds have worked out the logistics of the story, our fingers are twitching to tap that keyboard and kick off the race to our latest novel. The National Novel Writing Month challenge is a great confidence builder and something we writers look forward to November 1st every year.

NaNoWriMo as it’s fondly referred to has become somewhat of a tradition for me starting in 2010. I’ve made my goal of at least 50,000 words every year since with the exception of 2013. That year I failed miserably at only 17000 words. My day job was a monster, the hours were long and by the time I arrived home, I was the monster. Anyone know what I mean? But I digress, at 17,000 I still had a working story, plot and characters. Yeah! Finished it up in the months that followed, polished the manuscript and submitted it.  Since that time, I left the monster of a day job and writing is now my full-time job, and I love it.

Four novels that NaNoWriMo helped me to create have been published by The Wild Rose Press. Last year’s NaNo project, A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance is available for pre-order at Amazon, itunes, and Barnes& Noble  with a release date of November 29, 2017. Yippee! Just in time for Holiday shopping!

Don’t miss the The Wild Rose Press Christmas FaceBook Party on December 1st, lot’s of games, prizes, free books from a plethora of talented authors, from The Wild Rose Press.

Then, my FaceBook release party for A Vampire’s Unlikely Alliance on December 8th. There will be several talented author’s helping me celebrate on the 8th with more games, prizes, and giveways. This year for NaNoWriMo I’ll be working on the fifth book in my Demon’s Witch series.

Along with the Pikes Peak Writers group, who gave me the tools, NaNoWriMo gave me the confidence needed to stick my toe in the murky waters of the publishing industry. The 50,000 words, approximately 1,667 per day, usually is three-quarters of a pretty darn good novel. Each year I build on what I’ve learned throughout the year and use it to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge. The camaraderie among participants is phenomenal making the challenge a fun way to kick off the holidays!

Keep checking back for updates on my progress this year.  Will I make the 50,000 words? Only time will tell, but you can bet I’ll do my best! I know you’ll be cheering me on!

Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving! Eat lots of turkey and enjoy family and friends.  After all that’s what its all about!


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Halloween Haunting

Do you have a fear of Halloween?  Then you suffer from Samhainopobia. I don’t fit in that category! Do you?

This week the focus is on Halloween traditions more so than hauntings. We had an absolute blast. My characters being demons, witches, vampires, and faeries livened up the bash. A great time was had by all. Oh, did I mention, I’m a paranormal romance writer and have intimate knowledge of the things that go bump in the night. Bawaawaa!

Grim Reaper door decorationMy point is that Halloween isn’t just for kids, anymore. Today Halloween is attracting adults in a masquerade type atmosphere, much likeIMG_5634 Mardi Gras. Their costumed antics mock, challenge and tease the mysterious, possible malevolent forces of the night. The otherworld becomes our world on this night of enchanted possibilities and transcendence. Are we reaffirming death as a part of life in an exhilarating celebration of magic for an evening? Or like me, just enjoying the air of celebration on a night the veil between the living and dead is purported to be the thinnest. Every year with the help of my hubby, I decorate our house to the hilt on the first day of October and revel in Halloween décor the entire month.
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Did you know Jack-O-Lanterns originated in Ireland? People placed lit candles inside hollowed out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween) holiday. Boy, did we do a role reversal on that aspect of Halloween. Instead of chasing the spirits away, we tend to invite them in.

Most present day Halloween traditions are traceable to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween consists of mysterious customs, buthalloween image each has a history, or at least a story behind it. Take wearing costumes, and roaming from door to door demanding treats. This behavior can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and about, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This is where the practice of trick-or-treating began. To this day, vampires, witches, ghosts, and skeletons are among the favorite costumes. Our Halloween also retains activities from the original harvest holiday of Samhain, such as bobbing for apples and carving vegetables, (pumpkins) as well as the fruits, nuts, and spices for cider associated with the day. Although at my house, hot chocolate is pretty popular, since Halloween almost guarantees the first snow of the year.
greenwitch

Well, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to don my vampire costume, custom fitted fangs and pull up a stool in the shadows of my front door, candy bowl on a stand beside me. I sneakily turn on the fog machine and out of the mist greet the little trick or treaters or scare the bejeebers out of the older ones with bats hanging over head and screeching on my command. Won’t you join me? Happy Halloween!


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