The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Joys of the Season Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to the Joys of the Season blog hop! Loads of wonderful authors will offer their holiday memories and stories for your enjoyment…as well as prizes! Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter contest for a chance to win a copy  of my romantic suspense Whirlwind Romance and other gifts.

When I was young our Christmases were full of ritual, joy, food, and family. We lived in a Victorian house with fifteen-foot ceilings. The dining room had a bow window that looked out on the sour cherry trees that lined the drive to the old stable. Back then tall Christmas trees were affordable even on a small income, so we filled the alcove with trees reminiscent of the one that grows in the Nutcracker.

The Foreigner tells the story of a strange being who brings the joy back into a family’s jaded Christmas. It's based in part on my favorite Christmases as a child. I wrote it many years ago. Here is an excerpt.

Excerpt: Christmas Past

The dream was filmy, like a sequence from Balanchine’s version of the Nutcracker.  I floated a few feet above the action, watching as the perfect Christmas unfolded.  In the kitchen my grandmother directed the basting of the turkey.  Hannah, the cook stirred the corn pudding in the open fireplace of my grandparents’ Colonial-era house, while my mother chopped cranberries in the Cuisinart (nobody ever said dreams couldn’t be anachronistic). The Vienna Boys Choir sang softly outside the window.  Their open upturned mouths spluttered now and then when snowflakes lodged in their throats.
My father was there, and Uncle Ed—both fresh from tennis and cheerfully shouting for hot buttered rum.  In his study my grandfather sat at his desk (as he does in all my pictures), but I noticed from my vantage point that he was sneaking Christmas candy from a bottom drawer.
I floated from the kitchen (an amalgam of my grandmother’s colonial open hearth and the Victorian one of my youth) to the living room, where the remains from Christmas stockings were scattered about—tangerines under chairs, a squished chocolate reindeer, a broken candy cane. I could hear scurrying around upstairs and children calling down, asking whether they could come yet or not.  At last came the booming voice of Uncle Ed.  “Christmas is served!”
I floated up out of the way just in time. My son Oliver sand my brother Tad shoved each other down the staircase. Oliver, being taller and thinner, squeezed past my brother. It seemed perfectly natural that they be the same age. Then came my sister Jane, pulling my daughter Rosie (dressed as usual in black), down the stairs.  I joined them in the living room, brought up short by a commanding hand.  My father looked us over, pronounced us adequate, and dramatically rolled open the French doors in the dining room.
Everyone stood frozen as I downloaded memories into the dream. Of course, there was no question which Christmas I would use. I had been about ten, and when the doors opened there was the desk on which I wanted to write so desperately.  Behind it leaned the bike I so desperately wanted to ride. And millions and millions of presents for everybody.  Oh, but in this dream, I also saw the red rocking horse behind the fifteen-foot tree, the one I’d sneaked down to see at age three…but that had been in a different house, longer ago—hadn’t it? And wasn’t that the electric train Tad had asked for when he was seven? He would go on to build a 200-square-foot country for it. And Jane’s record player—the first in the family. Rosie started toward the presents but Daddy shooed her away. He would dole out the presents one by one, in order of age. I thought in passing that this might be more difficult than usual considering the mixed generations, but decided not to worry about it.
Rosie came first, then Tad. As the presents were handed round, I watched comfortably. I had begun to understand the dream and was happily living out the mishmash of perfect Christmases, when the scene changed.

We are giving away prizes to two randomly selected winners: 1) an ebook bundle, including books in various genres by various authors participating in the hop (see the list of books at the bottom of this page); or 2) a $50 Amazon gift card. Please visit the main hop page here to see a list of books included in the bundle.

Enter now for your chance to win!

Participating Authors

  1. Anna Durand Spunk & Hunks
  2. Kayden Claremont
  3. Tricia Schneider
  4. Patricia Kiyono's blog
  5. KyAnn Waters Blog
  6. Beth Caudill Blog

  1. Tena Stetler
  2. DeeDee Lane
  3. Connie's Blog
  4. Mary Morgan's Blog
  5. Casi's Christmas Magic
  6. M.S. Spencer


Anna Durand said...

Lovely post! So glad to have you in the blog hop. Merry Christmas!

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks for visiting Anna. This will be great fun! M. S.


Great visual. Sounds like a great Christmas read. Merry Christmas and best wishes.

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks Amity! Love your name--in fact I named the fictional village in Penhallow Train Incident "Amity Landing." Have a great holiday. M. S.

Casi McLean said...

What a wonderful excerpt... I felt like I was there. Thanks so much for sharing. Merry Christmas :-)

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks for reading, Casi! Merry Christmas, M. S.

KyAnn Waters said...

Merry Christmas!

M. S. Spencer said...

Merry Christmas to you too! M. S.