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Friday, December 10, 2010


I just want to thank everyone at Long and Short who work so hard to put together this great review site. Thanks so much for having me today.

Just a little about me: I was born and raised in New Hampshire. When I was 18, this New England Patriots fan decided to join the US Army. I spent 7 years stationed in Germany. I met a fair-haired California boy and we got married in Denmark in 1991. In 2000, I got a job working for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. My two sons, who are 8 and 4, keep me young. Some of my previously published work include: "Shadows and Light," in the Borealis II Space Anthology with Desert Breeze Publishing, The Giving Meadow, a children's book with 4RV Publishing, and a sweet military action/adventure romance, Destination: Berlin, under my pen name, SG Cardin.

Nutmeg and cinnamon. Peppermint and warm hot chocolate. The smells of Christmas can really put a person in the holiday spirit, but when I was in Europe, there were several different traditions I grew to appreciate and love.

In 1986, I was stationed in Muenster, Germany. Downtown Muenster had a pedestrian square that hosted a Christmas Market every year. There were booths that sold handcrafts, wooden ornaments, and marzipan cookies. They also sold a warm drink called Glühwein. It was a mulled wine drink usually spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla, sugar, or rum. You could find everything you wanted to decorate your home and gifts for the family at the Christmas markets. (They weren't quite Target, but I loved the old world charm and ambiance.)

I drew on that old world charm and ambiance when I wrote my story, "Christmas in Bayeux," which is included in A Christmas Collection, Stimulating with Victory Tales Press. In the story, Aiden Seward travels to Bayeux, France and the World War II Beaches of Normandy to find himself. He's reunited with a young French woman, Noel Rousseau, who he knew as an exchange student years ago. Can Noel help Aiden find his Christmas spirit?

Nowadays, Christmas in California, isn't quite the same. Glühwein and marizpan cookies are tough to come by, but one Saturday during December, I set the day aside to bake homemade sugar cookies with my boys from scratch. The smiles on their faces say it all.

Does anyone want to share their Christmas traditions?

Enjoy a small excerpt from the story, "Christmas in Bayeux."

They walked a block or two and entered the downtown pedestrian area. Aiden stopped, amazed by the wooden shops lined up against each other. They sold wooden ornaments, candies, knick-knacks, wreaths, candles, anything that had to do with Christmas. There were three rows of these booths, which took up the square along with a food tent. The scent of mulled apples and sweet pastries tickled his nose.

"Noel, what is this?"

"The Christmas markets."

"Is this what you wanted to show me?"

"No." She paused. "Ah, that's right – you don't have Christmas markets in the States."

"Well, then, we're coming here tomorrow to shop for Christmas."

She smiled. "It's a date."

He found it impossible not to return her disarming grin. Was that what they were doing? Dating? She led him down the street. It was getting harder for him to hold back, but he wanted her to know that when he kissed her, when he touched her, it was because he wanted her, not because it was gratitude or some other strong emotion. Well, yes, he was grateful to her, but damn it, he wasn't about to let her walk out of his life right now. Right now? Who was he kidding? He didn't want her to walk out of his life again.

She pushed two wooden double doors open and they walked into a wide open-spaced entrance hall. "Is this a museum?"

"Oui. It houses our best known prize – the Bayeux Tapestry."

A Christmas Collection, Stimulating is available as a print and ebook.




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Redameter said...

HI Steph,
I guess everyone is Christmas shopping today. Great Christmas story here. Sounds interesting.
You are a great writer and I know this book will do well.

Love and blessings and Merry Christmas to you.

Cindy K. Green said...

Hey Steph,
Good Morning/afternoon! Love the way you paint the German marketplace. Good luck with the release. Your story sounds FAB!

Christmas traditions: Part of it is in the kitchen. I make gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies and chocolate & also peanut butter fudge with my boys. I make fudge for the whole family. We read a Christmas carol together every year and watch lots of Christmas movies together

Danielle Thorne said...

I would love to spend a holiday in Europe. What a wonderful experience, thanks for sharing!

Maggie Toussaint said...

I love the scents of Christmas. Your post and your excerpt put me in mind of those special things.

Morgan Mandel said...

Hi Steph,
I always feel so provincial compared to you. It seems like you've been everywhere!

Morgan Mandel

StephB said...

Hi everyone, thanks for popping in!
LOL, Rita - yep I went to target and picked up some extra toys for my kids. Aren't I bad?

Cindy, I love baking with my boys during Christmas, too. We make sugar cookies for Santa!

Dani, Christmas in Europe is very cool. I miss it. Actually, I miss the snow. Don't tell my husband!

Maggie, Christmas has a sweet meaning to it. It's good we remind ourselves.

Morgan, No worries. If you get a chance, travel. It's fun. hehe


Megan Johns said...

Hi Steph,
Best wishes from the UK. German markets are great, but California takes some beating, too.

Laura said...

My goodness, Steph, you've done so much in your life! It must be easy to find your inspiration when you write. *gg*

I enjoyed the excerpt. So glad you posted it for everyone to read. *g* Have a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Laura Shinn

marybelle said...

I love how your true life experiences enrich your writing.

Cassandra said...

Stephanie your "Christmas in Bayeux" story seems like a great read! In the near future I hope to read it. Noel is ironic I can tell for another alias of santa Clause who will bring jollines. I love your story inspirations. Merry X-Mas!