Over the course of all the Christmases I’ve celebrated as an adult, I’ve probably made hundreds of ornaments--out of clothespins, recycled paper, pipe cleaners, hand-painted ceramics, cross-stitched fabric, and (memorably) star-shaped baked cinnamon sludge that still carries a spicy fragrance years later. I’ve wrapped hundreds of gifts--sometimes using hand-stamped paper and handcrafted ribbons. I’ve made holiday mix tapes, CDs, and playlists. I’ve trimmed dozens of evergreen trees and hung miles of multicolored lights. I’ve probably baked (quite seriously) millions of sugar cookies, spritz cookies, and frosted gingerbread teddy bears (my family’s personal specialty--so cute!). I’ve even gone Christmas caroling. But only once. I don’t know why the other carolers didn’t ask me back.
Actually, I do. But that’s a story for another day.
So why am I telling you this? Because I do all these things for the same reasons that YOU probably do, when it comes to your personal holiday traditions. I love seeing the people around me smile. I love surprising children with gifts, friends with goodies, and family members with unexpected favors. When it comes to Christmastime, I’m easy. I can’t say no.
That gives me a lot in common with the hero of my current book, Home for the Holidays. Reno Wright is the “go-to” guy in his small Midwestern town. His friends and neighbors rely on him for expertise, advice, and hands-on know-how...and Reno never says no. Behind his tough-guy demeanor (he’s a former NFL kicker!) hides a big heart. Even though Reno is busy running his successful sporting goods store, dealing with his divorcing parents’ ongoing feud, appearing as Santa in his niece’s grade-school holiday play, and trying to win the town’s annual holiday lights contest, he agrees to play Christmas Cupid for his best friend...and that’s where all the trouble starts. Because pretty soon, all Reno wants for Christmas is his best friend’s dream girl...and he doesn’t know how much naughty or nice one man can withstand before he finally gives in.
Sound like fun? It is! I promise. I’m crazy about the holidays, and I hope my enthusiasm for all things red, green, shiny, or spangled shines through in Home for the Holidays. I did my best to pack the story chock-full of Christmas cheer. I truly hope you’ll check it out.
In the meantime, I’m dying to know... What are YOUR favorite holiday traditions? How did they begin? And are there any new traditions you’re thinking about starting? Let’s dish!
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Lisa Plumley is the USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen contemporary and historical romances. Her book Let's Misbehave was named one of Booklist magazine's Top Ten Romances of 2007, earned a 4-1/2 star Top Pick! rating from Romantic Times, and was a finalist for the Booksellers Best Award in the mainstream/single title category. She's excited to have two new books on the shelves right now: Home for the Holidays (Zebra) and Hallowe'en Husbands (Harlequin Historicals). You can find her on MySpace or Facebook, drop by her blog or visit her Web site to read first-chapter excerpts from any of her books, sign up for new-book reminder e-mails, download her reader newsletter, and more!