Saturday, September 13, 2014

Small Town Holidays

I was talking to someone about all the holiday books I've written.  I went back and looked at my files…turns out I've written a lot.  Eleven Christmas books, and even more holiday books if you count other holidays.  As far as the Christmas ones go, I think it has something to do with my name.  I mean, with a name like Holly, it makes sense to do Christmas…a lot!  LOL

My newest will be released next month, Christmas in Cupid Falls.  Not only is it a new book, but it's set in a new town.  My June release, Just One Thing, I introduced Lapp Mill…it was the kind of town you can miss if you blink while you drive through it.  Cupid Falls, PA is bigger than Lapp Mill…I mean, you wouldn't miss it if you blinked once, but maybe if you blinked twice.

Waterford, PA
In addition to I squeezed both towns in between the very real towns of Waterford and Union City.  Both are just a stone's throw from Erie, where most of my books have been set.

Now, as much as I love showcasing my city and the surrounding towns, the reason I love writing small towns is the people.  Granted, my people are fictional, but the real people in towns like Waterford and Union City are wonderful, and I'll confess, I think the ones in Lapp Mill, Cupid Falls, and some of my other made-up towns like Whedon and Valley Ridge are equally wonderful.  I hope readers do, too!

Most of my series have one character who becomes the touch-stone for all the books.  Someone who shows up in each story…someone who can give the readers a sense of coming home.  In my Everything But series, that was Nana Vancy (she has a cameo in Christmas in Cupid Falls) and in my Perry Square series, it was Pearly Gates.  Both were older ladies…the wise women of my books.  In Cupid Falls, I went in a different direction…an older man.  I leave it up to readers to decide how 'wise' he is!  LOL  Here's his introduction...

Holly Jacobs, 10/14

“Arf, arf,” Clarence Harding barked as he entered Kennedy Anderson’s shop minutes after she’d opened for the day. He pulled off his thick knit cap and exposed an ice-grey head of hair. “Mornin’, Mayor.”

“Good morning, Clarence. And it’s Cupid’s Bowquet. Bo—long O. Bow, like bow and arrow—Cupid’s bow and arrow. It’s not bow, short O, like powwow.”

For more than three decades, Kennedy’s aunt had owned the flower shop and it had been Betty’s Flowers. But Aunt Betty had been gone three years. This was Kennedy’s shop now, and she thought it was a great marketing strategy to play off the town’s name. Last year she’d realized that when you lived in Cupid Falls, Pennsylvania, Cupid’s Bowquet was a perfect name for a flower shop.

“It’s a dumb name, Mayor, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Kennedy did mind, but she was enough of a businesswoman not to say so. “What brings you in today, Clarence?”

“Seems I’ll be needing to send the old ball and chain some flowers. I got in late and ran over her new frog.”

Joan Harding collected frogs. Lots of frogs. They were everywhere inside and outside of her house. She even had some plastic bullfrogs she’d nailed into her giant maple tree and proudly told everyone they were tree frogs.

Clarence pulled off his gloves and stuffed them in his heavy winter coat’s pocket. “Course, I don’t know how she could tell I ran one over. I hid the pieces and there must be about a million frogs around now. Plus we’ve got all this snow . . .” He shrugged, as if figuring out the mystery of his wife was too much for him.

Clarence was a regular. It seemed he was always doing one thing or another to annoy Joan, but crushing a frog called for more than just some flowers. “It just so happens I might have something to get you out of the doghouse.”

“Froghouse is how I put it,” he grumbled. “And I seem to be in it more than any man should be.”

Despite his less-than-endearing endearment ball and chain, Kennedy had seen Clarence and Joan together. She knew they fit. They worked. Clarence might get in trouble for running over frogs, but the Hardings were one of those couples that no one could imagine not being together.

She liked to think her small flower shop helped to keep them that way . . . together.

“One of the vendors I order from had these, and I thought of you when I ordered it.” Kennedy reached under the counter and pulled out a small box and slid it across the counter toward the elderly gentleman.

Clarence opened the lid and pulled out a frog planter. “Now, this is just the ticket. The perfect thing to get me out of trouble. You’ll stick some plant or something in it for her?”

“Definitely,” Kennedy assured him. Clarence was the kind of customer she liked to think of as job security. “Do you have anything in mind?”

He handed her the planter. “Whatever you want, Mayor. Bill me, okay?”

“Sure thing, Clarence. I’ll deliver it this afternoon.”

“Maybe I’ll be out of the froghouse before dinner then. See ya later, Mayor.”

Clarence's name comes from the iconic Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life.  And though he is no angel, he's got a good heart and I hope readers fall in love with him…and the entire town!  There's something special about Christmas…I think that might have more to do with my writing so many holiday books, than my name.  And I hope readers enjoy spending at least part of their holiday in Cupid Falls!


Today's the last day to enter a contest to celebrate its release at:

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