I love the fun of the holidays. It doesn’t snow in southern California, but the mountain ski resorts are only an hour drive away. While I was growing up, my mother would take my friends and me up to Mt. Baldy to play in the snow. We’d ride the ski lift to the top, although none of us skied, and have lunch at the restaurant. There was a great view, and chili sizes were a particular lunch favorite. I can still see Mt. Baldy from my home. It’s beautiful covered in snow and a sign winter, as we know it, has come again.

We all love IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, but my favorite holiday movie is THE CHRISTMAS STORY. Ralphie is so endearing as he hopes for a Red Ryder Bee Bee Rifle. Christmas is a magical time for children and the movie captures it perfectly. One of the best scenes is when Ralphie’s little brother gets ready for school in his snowsuit and can’t move his arms. When he falls down, he’s stuck like an overturned turtle in a snowdrift. It’s all manmade snow for the movie, but it looks icy cold and real. One cable station plays the film continuously for 24 hours, and I watch it over and over until I can anticipate the dialog and know I’ve had enough.

LOVE ACTUALLY has also become a holiday favorite. The intertwined stories are billed as the ultimate romantic comedy, but there are poignant moments as well. Richard Curtis wrote and directed the film, and it has a stellar cast including Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney and Emma Thompson. I discover something new each time I watch it.

Most of my books are set in the spring and summer when characters aren’t wrapped in heavy winter clothes. Many of my historical romances are woven through actual historical events, however, and have the appropriate time of year, even if it’s the dead of winter, and they do need their thick woolen cloaks.

My January Retro release from Samhain, SWEPT AWAY, takes place during America’s Civil War. Virginia belle Eden Sinclair is sent to London to stay with relatives to escape the horrors of the war. Along with her snobby cousin, she’s invited to the Season’s elegant parties, but the war isn’t going well for the South, and she’s regarded as penniless waif. She draws no admirers until she meets the wonderfully sympathetic Earl of Clairbourne, Alexander Sutton. Alex lives in the West Indies, and he’s come to London to help his nephew, Raven Blade, find a wife. The very last thing Raven needs is a wife, and most especially not a poor American one, but life has a way of playing tricks on us all, and he isn’t immune to love. I swear when I came up with the name Raven Blade, the book wrote itself.

http://store.samhainpublishing.com/swept-away-p-7115.html

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie or family traditions? I’ll be happy to send a pdf copy of SWEPT AWAY to someone who comments.