After many days circling the sun on this planet, I’ve come to realize that the only way to get what I wanted for any gift-giving occasion is to buy it myself. For myself. It works! This Christmas I got a beautiful blouse hand-embroidered with a cute dog paw print, gold hoop earrings, and sugar-free dark chocolate. Lots of sugar-free dark chocolate.
My husband just bought clothes he needed and a flask and a pocket knife. I got him some dark chocolate. And a mushy card. He said I could have a sun conure. And all the books on my wish list. Every year we decide on one big gift we will both use. A few years ago it was a widescreen TV. Last year it was laptops. This year, probably a microwave and matching tattoos.
Truly, all of those things are mere material trappings that enhance but do not replace the real gifts we have. Our love, our family, our health, and the best dog and birds anyone could wish for. Plus these days it so easy to stay in touch with loved ones so far away.
That got me thinking about the main characters in three stories currently in process in my fevered writer’s brain. Which material gifts do they wish for and which true gifts of life to they get?
In Crazy for Trying, Adam wants his name cleared and his life back to normal. He has mad computer skills and an indomitable spirit. Plus a few hundred thousand dollars in an off-shore account. He finds the love he’d never had before in the arms of a woman hurting from her own trauma but willing to take a chance on him.
That woman is Valerie, a plump and reclusive widow who would say she only wants peace. Being a realist, she knows nothing will bring back her husband, her son, and the unborn child. So much loss at once has left her empty of everything but pain. Nonetheless, she has a heart big enough to try again and brave enough to face someone out to prevent the revelation of an evil secret.
In the sequel, Crazy for Lying, Joel thinks Kylie ditched him years ago for his best friend. He would want a time machine to take him back to college graduation, where he would ask her to marry him. His gifts are being a hero when put to the test and forgiving both Kylie and Cash for their actions once he learns the truth.
Kylie thought she had loved and lost. She’d agree to go back in time and change things, but now she’s a widow with a second chance at a lost love. If only she hadn’t seen a murder and now had to hide so she, too, wouldn’t be killed. Her gifts are a sense of humor that kept her going when she was the only person of color at a white high school. And besides being a straight-A student, she was the best cheerleader there. Keeping herself in shape is not only a gift she has given herself, but it’s what will be keeping her alive.
And in my Regency trilogy, Dessert: Pure Elation is the final book that wraps up the lives of the Curtis family. Bernard Curtis believed he’d gotten the greatest gift of all when his twin brother returned alive, just in time for his funeral. Being the kinder and gentler of the two boys, his relief is cut short when Roland’s bride is blackmailed. Bernard would certainly wish for a way to keep the gossips silent and solve the mystery of why his cousin Amelia, once a constant source of annoyance, now seems the most desirable woman in London.
Amelia Winter wishes she could take back her scheme of marrying Roland and focus more on Bernard, the twin who usually treated her better than her other cousins. Now she has the chance to correct that, as soon as she escapes the kidnappers and finds her way out of the sewers of London. Her gifts are her charm and her close family, as well as the belief she doesn’t need to wait to be rescued.
My sincere wish is that you have a very special holiday season and receive the gifts you most want, as well as recognizing the gifts you have. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.