STACEY JOY NETZEL
And to celebrate her Christmas books, the theme is Mistletoe and Holly! So gather round the bonfire where it’s warm and toasty. There are plenty of winter activities to keep you busy and plenty to eat and drink. But before our guest of honor arrives in the Santa sleigh, let’s take a stroll around the acres to see the show of lights.
Stars sparkle like jewels on a blanket of midnight blue. The cold North wind blows through the bristly branches of the towering pines, twinkle lights flickering in the dark like fireflies. Snowflakes dust the ground in a fleecy soft white, getting one and all in the spirit of Christmas.
From the log cabin, smoke billows from the chimney, singeing the crisp night air with the smell of birch. And inside, where it’s warm and toasty, a decadent dessert buffet has been arranged by Oliver. The candles flicker in the mirrored wall behind the buffet, bathing the heavenly desserts in celestial light.
Among the succulent treats are apple pie, pumpkin pie, cheese cake, chocolate chiffon mousse, nut rolls and pumpkin rolls. And artistically arranged on the snowman dish are gingersnaps, chocolate chips, sugar cookies, fudge brownies, buck eyes, and peanut butter cookies. Candy dishes are filled to the brim with chocolate kisses, pecan turtles, chocolate-covered nuts and caramels and peanut brittle. Sterling silver carafes of hot chocolate, coffee and tea wait to be sampled, along with the hot buttered rum punch and hot toddies. And not to worry, there is plenty of ice cream in the freezer to complement Oliver’s apple pie!
Across the room, a birch wood log snaps and crackles in the hearth, its brilliant orange flames going up like a sorcerer’s fire.And in the center of the log cabin, Sharon, Lyn and Mary, donned as little elves in their pointed green hats, green vests and matching slacks, and wooden clogs with jingle bells on the tips, work their magic while trimming the tree with glee. With their jack-be-nimbl e fingers, they hang beautiful blown glass ornaments, candy canes, pop corn and lots of twinkle lights.
"Oh by gosh, by golly, it’s time for mistletoe and holly
Tasty desserts, Christmas presents,
Countrysides covered with snow.
Oh by gosh, by jingle,
It’s time for carols and Kris Kringle,
Overeating, merry greetings
From relatives you don’t know.
Then comes that big night,
Giving the tree a trim
You’ll hear voices by starlight
Singing Yuletide hollers
Oh by gosh, by golly,
It’s time for mistletoe and holly,
Fancy ties and Oliver’s pies
And guests stealing a kiss or two
As they whisper Merry Christmas to you!"
Hearing sleigh bells jingle outside, the little elves scamper down to the entrance gate, wooden clogs clunking, toe bells tinkling in their wake. The giant snowmen waves as Santa Oliver and Stacey Claus swoop down from the star-lit sky. Cuddles the red-nose unicorn, leads the way with his glowing horn. Junior, in keeping with his name of Dancer, kicks up his booted hooves in the snow as the sleigh skids to a smooth landing. And then with a robust “Ho ho ho,” Santa Oliver, hops out of his sleigh, eyes twinkling as his jolly laughter rolls through the woods and into the forest, his belly shaking like a bowl full of jelly as he lends a hand to Stacey Claus.
Welcome to the party! Do a little ice skating or take a ride in the Santa sleigh. But above all, have fun with Stacey and enjoy the rich blend of desserts. And don’t forget, the minute you walk through the cabin door, you’ll be walking under the mistletoe. And we all know what that means.
Now for the question: How did the legend of the kissing under the mistletoe get started? Leave a comment and you have a chance to win one of Stacey’s books. In fact, Stacey Claus is feeling so generous this holiday season, she’s giving two of them away. Good luck! The winner will be announced Saturday.
PRIZE: 2 winners get an e-download of Stacey's other Christmas novella. 'Dragonfly Dreams'
MISTLETOE RULES - BLURB:
Christmas recipe for love—combine a matchmaking Santa, lots of mistletoe, one iron-clad rule, fated hearts; mix and stir. The Riley siblings don't stand a chance.
Mistletoe Mischief: Christmas in July at the zoo is the last place single parents Eric Riley and Marissa Wilder expect to find love. Thanks to some mistletoe mischief in the form of their two young daughters and Santa, they discover Mistletoe Rules were not made to be broken.
Mistletoe Magic: Major Mark Riley plays Court Jester to Janelle Walsh's Snow Queen at the Christmas Parade and is instantly captivated by the cute redhead whose grandpa just happens to be Santa. When Mark learns she's the tenant he evicted from his newly purchased property, it's going to take a little bit of Santa's mistletoe magic to save their romance.
Mistletoe Matchup: When Lisa Riley comes home for Mark's Christmas Eve wedding, her high school rivalry with Janelle's cousin, Derek Walsh, picks up right where it left off, only this time Derek's got the upper hand. Santa bides his time as they battle it out because he's waited a whole year for this mistletoe match-up.
EXCERPT from Mistletoe Mischief:
“Daddy, you’re under the mistletoe.”
Eric glanced up at a sprig of leaves and holly berries attached to the roof of the cart, then dropped his gaze to Marissa’s. “So we are,” he murmured.
Her face flushed, but he couldn’t tell if it was from embarrassment, or anticipation of a kiss. He knew the reason his pulse raced like an out of control locomotive.
“You have to kiss her,” Reese stated.
God Bless you, Reese.
Santa laid his arm across the back of the front passenger seat and craned his head around, his brown eyes twinkling. “‘Tis tradition.”
“It’s the rule,” Reese argued, frowning at Santa before turning back to Eric. “You say so every Christmas when we stand in the doorway at Grandma’s.”
“I do, don’t I?”
Reese nodded emphatically. “Every year.”
Eric faced Marissa and sighed with exaggerated reluctance. “I might’ve been able to buck tradition, but a rule’s a rule.”
A Christmas anthology from TWRP Nov. 20, 2009Stacey Joy Netzel fell in love with books at a young age, so for her it seemed natural to graduate to writing them. She credits not only her parents for encouraging her dreams of becoming a published author, but also the very talented friends she’s made in WisRWA since joining in 2004. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids, a couple of horses, and six barn cats. When not writing and living life in general, she loves to read and watch movies—Happily Ever Afters a must. Published books with The Wild Rose Press include: Mistletoe Rules, If Tombstones Could Talk (paranormal novella), Welcome to Redemption (contemporary anthology with Donna Marie Rogers), Dragonfly Dreams (Christmas novella), and Chasin’ Mason (contemporary western).