Creatively Green is the blog of freelance writer, avid crafter, and La Mamma Verde (the green mom), Wenona Napolitano.
This blog features everything about her creatively green life from green crafting to eco-gardening, green parenting and green living in general.
You will also find articles on writing, being a mom writer, and see guest posts from authors.
Full of green musings, eco-product reviews, book notes, eco-friendly crafts and so much more.
doesn’t love a good Christmas romance? Mistletoe and Christmas cookies and a
child who wants Santa to bring Mom or Dad a happily-ever-after? The Christmas
romance novel has become a staple in the last few years, and writers by the
dozens flock to their word processors to write that perfect combination of love
and holiday cheer. Many of these books tell a fine story. Others fall short of
the mark. As a reader, when I read a Christmas story, I am looking for a book
that goes beyond the sweet sentimentality of the season and delivers a story
with some depth and genuine emotion involved. As a writer, this is what I seek
to deliver in my Christmas novels.
writers like to tell a story that could only happen during the Christmas
season. Waaay too many stories are based on the hero and heroine putting on a
school play or a holiday parade or a church pageant together. So I try not to
do this. Except for ‘A Gift of Hope’, in which my hero and heroine fall in love
while collecting and distributing toys to needy children, my Christmas stories
could have happened any time of the year. The season provides a colorful
backdrop, but my characters could just as easily fallen in love in April or
July. Sure, I have my characters decorating Christmas trees, baking cookies,
going to see Santa Claus, and so forth. But they could just as easily be
decorating Easter eggs or marching in the Fourth of July parade. Staying away
from a season-driven or dependent plot gives me a lot more leeway in the story
I want to tell and more freedom to write strong characters. It also gives the
books life after the season. My readers will enjoy the book just as much in
February or March as in December.
also like a Christmas story with some depth and genuine emotion, including
negative emotion and less than benign feelings. Good Christmas stories
frequently deal with a heavy topic or two. The holiday season is a time of
strong emotion for most of us. It’s a season of lights and magic and good
cheer. It’s also a season of darkness, loneliness, and isolation. Whatever
emotions a character is living with is only magnified by the season. Nor do
problems go away during the holidays. They too are magnified during a season that
is supposed to be about joy. A good story taps in to all feelings experienced
during the holidays, not just the happy ones. Some of the best Christmas
romances out there deal with grief, loss, family disfunction, loneliness, and
isolation. As a reader, I don’t mind a tear or two along with my mistletoe. If
anything, it makes the happily ever after just that much sweeter.
Feeling as I do,
I don’t shy away from serious issues in my Christmas stories. ‘A Gift of Trust’
is the story of two traumatized individuals learning to trust one another. “A
Gift of Hope’, perhaps the least serious of my Christmas stories, deals in part
with the negative effects of urban revitalization on the elderly residents
being displaced. ‘Evergreen’ tells the story of a dying child and explores the
true meaning of family and my hero’s desperate longing for acceptance.
‘Mistletoe’ deals with grief and body image and self-acceptance-and no, my
heroine doesn’t become thin and beautiful by the end of the book. This year’s
novel, ‘Noelle’, tackles the issue of deep, hateful racism as well as the havoc
a drugged rape wreaks on all involved. (I had no idea when I wrote the book in
July just how topical the story would turn out to be.) None of these stories
have a light, cheerful theme. ‘Noelle’ is particularly dark. But the serious
themes make for stronger stories and a more satisfying read. And that’s just as
true at Christmas as it is any other time of the year.
Smoky Blue Series
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing
Date of Publication: Nov. 20,
Word Count: Approx. 74,000
Cover Artist: Boroughs Art
Tagline: Ike and Cassie love each
other. But her daughter stands between them.
He’s found the wife who’d run
from him five years ago. But it will take a Christmas miracle to keep her in
A terrified Cassie Jeffries fled
Tennessee to protect her newborn daughter from her father’s wrath, abandoning
her young husband in the process. Ike has tracked her down-not because he wants
her any longer, but at the behest of her dying grandmother. Her love for Ike is
still strong. He still loves her, too-but wants no part of her daughter Noelle.
Ike is beyond shocked to learn
that the child he thought was his is in fact the child of his wife’s rape. He
still loves Cassie, but every time he looks at Noelle he’s reminded of his own
failure to protect the woman he loves. And Cassie is adamant. She will have no
part of a man who can’t love her daughter. But danger lurks for Cassie’s child.
Will Ike be able to protect Noelle from the threat that seeks to destroy
everything his wife holds dear?
“Yeah, it’s easy to love those blue-eyed
blonds, isn’t it?” Wade gibed. “Those dark ones, man. They’re a lot harder to
Ike felt his temper spike and tamped
it down. “It would be hard to love any child who looks like the man who raped
my wife,” he replied softly. “It wouldn’t matter if they were white, black, or
purple with stripes down their back.” More was on the tip of his tongue but he
bit it back. He already sounded enough like an ass.
Wade gave him a
go-to-hell look and glanced to one side. Cassie stood there, her face pale and
her expression one of horror. Ike felt himself cringe. She’d heard every word.
He started to
say something but clamped his mouth shut. He couldn’t defend a statement like
that and he knew it. But it had been the unvarnished truth. Noelle was a
visible reminder of Cassie’s violation. He didn’t know how to get around that.
disappeared into the house. It was time to make his case one more time and then
get the hell out of here. Ike nodded to Wade, thanked Angie for her hospitality
and followed Cassie inside, where he found her in the kitchen by herself. “You
leaving now?” she asked as she transferred leftover vegetable sticks into a
“Not until you
agree to come see Granny Mae.”
“Then you better
wash your clothes and buy another tube of toothpaste. I’m not going to let you
pressure me into a decision that’s not in Noelle’s best interests.”
Cassie, what about Granny Mae? Your grandmother’s dying. The only thing she
wants before she goes is to see you and Noelle. Are you really going to deny
her dying wish?”
Play the guilt card.” Cassie snapped the bag shut and practically threw it in
the refrigerator. “I told you last night. Granny Mae is a woman of the holler.
She’s not going to want to see Noelle. And even if she did, what part of ‘Hugh
Siler will kill her’ did I not communicate fully to you?” She turned to Ike,
her eyes blazing. “I’m not the sweet, gullible girl you knew before. The one
who could be persuaded or guilted into doing just about anything you wanted me
to. So don’t try that crap with me. No way in hell am I giving you any kind of
answer today. Don’t ask again.”
“All right. All
right. Calm down. No answer today. I get that.” He paused. “But I will say it
again. Granny Mae will want to see you both. Your daughter will be in no danger
from your father. So please, Cassie. Will you at least think about coming? Will
you do that much? You could come for a few days, maybe a week after ‘Wizard of
Oz’ finishes its run. Please, Cassie? For Granny Mae? Please?”
“I will think
about it but no promises.”
“Thank you. I’ll
need your contact information and would like you to have mine.”
phones and entered the necessary information. “I guess I’ll be going,” he said
as she handed him back his phone.
hesitated. “Never mind.”
whatever’s on your mind.”
not responsible for the circumstances of her conception. She’s a beautiful,
wonderful child. Everyone who knows her loves her.”
“I’m sure she is
and I’m sure they do. I’m not proud of my feelings toward her, Cassie. Just so
Author of thirty-six romance
novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public
education until leaving the classroom to write full time.The mother of two sons and six grandsons, she
and her husband Charles live in central Texas but frequently visit
grandchildren in Tennessee and Georgia.For relaxation she plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele.She says, “I love to write romances because I
believe in them.Romance happened to me
and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”