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FREE Books and Chat Mon. Dec. 24, 2012

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Initial post: Dec 24, 2012, 12:11:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2012, 12:44:33 AM PST
Leo Little says:
Welcome to Free books and Chat. come on in and browse through the links there are always lots of free books. Have a seat in our overstuffed chairs and put you feet up on the hassocks as settle yourself in to read the latest treasure you've dredged up out of thousands of free indie publishers or perhaps you were lucky enough to catch one of your favorite well know author's book while it was free.

There's coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the decanters on the counter. There's a variety of freshly baked jelly and cream filled doughnuts apple fritters and maple bars on the counter. Ice cold milk is in the fridge beneath.




Please come back and tell us what you get from the free links. Or if you've read a previously Free book drop in and tell what you thought of it...

Special ed teacher.................................. Happy Anniversary

TravelQueen ............................................ Happy Birthday

Sugarplummed Suze ................... Congratulations on your GS

Merry Christmas ....................... Here's a children's tale I wrote........


A long, long, long time ago, before you were born. Before your mommas and daddies and even before your teacher was born.
Father Time had two daughters.
His first daughter was named Christmas, but everybody called her Christy.
Christy loved the forest and all living things.
Father Time's other daughter was named Merry.
Merry liked things that sparkle like diamonds and stars.
Since both Merry and Christy were daughters of Father Time, they were each endowed with a special magical power.
Christy could turn herself into a beautiful evergreen tree.
And Merry could turn herself into a big shiny star.
But Merry and Christy could not change themselves back.
Only Father Time could change them back and he was happy to do so as long as it wasn't winter. Father Time lost all his powers on the first day of winter and he didn't get them back until the first day of spring. And since the magic endowed to Father Time and his daughters became permanent on New Year's Eve, they couldn't change anything that had happened from the year before. So if Merry or Christy changed themselves after the first day of winter and before midnight on New Year's Eve, they would stay that way forever.
One day a handsome, young woodcutter named Nicholas came into the forest where the girls were picking flowers.
"He's dreamy," Merry said.
She thought he looked like a prince.
But Christy got mad, because the trees in that forest were her friends.
She marched right up to the woodcutter and yelled, "You better not cut my friends down or I'll have my dad turn you into a toad!"
Nicholas stopped in his tracks. He was so struck by Christy's beauty that he buried his axe in the snow and swore to never ever cut another tree down.
Merry didn't like that Nicholas was looking at Christy instead of her.
She stayed hidden in the forest, and pouted.
"I saw him first," she said.
Nicholas had fallen in love with Christy the first time he saw her, but Christy wasn't sure. She didn't know if she could trust a man who cut down trees.
Nicholas came to the forest every day to helped Christy take care of her friends, the trees.
After a few months Christy did learn to trust Nicholas, and even to love him, for by then, she could see that Nicolas had a kind heart.
Several years after they first met, on a cool autumn evening, Nicholas fell to his knees and held up a beautiful diamond ring.
"Christy, my love will you marry me?"
Christy took the ring from Nicholas and slipped it on the third finger of her right hand.
"Yes," she said. "I will marry you at the beginning of the New Year."
Merry got jealous when she saw Christy accept Nicholas's ring.
She wanted Nicholas to love her, not Christy.
She also wanted Christy's sparkling diamond ring.
Merry was so jealous that she hatched an awful plan to get back at her sister for stealing Nicholas and his beautiful ring.
First she stole her father's calendar and changed the days.
Since the calendar belonged to Father Time, no one questioned whether it was right or wrong.
It snowed on the first day of winter, which fell on December 22nd that year, but everybody thought it was only the 19th.
Then on the 24th, Merry went to Christy and asked, "Can you change into that beautiful evergreen tree one last time before you get married?"
Since Christy thought it was only the 21st and she loved her sister very much, she said. "Of course I can." Then she changed herself into a tree right there in the meadow beside their house.
Merry quickly pulled the ring off one of Christy's branches and ran into forest to meet Nicholas.
"Where is Christy?"
Nicholas asked.
Then he saw that Merry was holding the ring that he had given to Christy.
"Has something happened to your sister?" he asked.
"No," Merry lied. "She asked me to give this ring back to you and tell you that she changed her mind."
Heartbroken, Nicholas fell to his knees in the snow.
"Don't worry," said Merry. "You can marry me instead."
Great big tears rolled down Nicholas's cheeks.
"No, I miss Christy's warm heart and her beautiful smile. I could never marry anyone else."
Tears leaked then from Merry's eyes as well. She loved her sister, Christy, and missed her beautiful smile too.
Merry was sorry for what she had done.
"It's all my fault." Merry said. "I tricked Christy into changing herself into a tree and now," Merry cried. "Now she'll stay that way forever."
Then Merry turned and ran back to the meadow where her sister had turned herself into a tree.
"I'm so sorry, Christy," Merry said. "I promise I will stay with you forever."
Then Merry climbed to tip top branch of Christy's tree and changed herself into a very small star.
Hours later, Nicolas followed the single set of tracks that Merry had left in the snow. The tracks led him to a small meadow where he found Father Time kneeling beside a tree with a single star at its top.
Silver tears fell like streamers from Father Time's eyes and froze into icicles that hung from Christy's branches.
"My magic is gone," Father Time said. I can not change Christy or Merry back."
Nicholas laid his hand on Father Time's shoulder.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Nicholas asked.
"There is but one hope left. You must find Mother Nature.
Take my staff into the mists of Avalon that rest on the far side of the meadow.
If their mother can't help them, then no one can."
"Hurry now, the girls only have until New Year's Eve."
The weather was calm and sunny on this side of the mist, but Nicholas walked straight into a blizzard on the other side.
Blinded by the fierce winds, Nicholas pushed on, hoping against hope that he could find Mother Nature.
Some where along the way, Nicolas lost his green hat. His cheeks turned rosy red from the cold, and ice frosted his hair and beard, turning them as white as snow.
Nicholas stepped on a soft spot in the snow and fell into a deep hole. Surrounded by icy walls of snow, he tried to climb out, but he fell back to the bottom. He tried and tried to climb out of the hole, but every time he fell back to the bottom until he got so tired that he curled up next to the icy wall and went to sleep.
That would have been the end of poor Nicholas if a band of elves hadn't found him and taken him into their home.
Nicholas woke up the next morning beside a warm, cheery fire.
On the floor around the hearth, twenty elves were cutting and sewing yards and yards of thick red velvet, stitching it to a roll of white fur.
When Nicholas told them the story of Merry and Christy, the elves became very sad.
They had magic, but it was only good for making things. They couldn't help Christy or Merry and they didn't know how to find Mother Nature either.
"All we can do is give you this magic hat and coat so you will never get cold.
Nicholas knew time was running out for Merry and Christy. He had to get a move on if he wanted to save them. So he put on the magic hat and coat and set off once again to find Mother Nature.
With the new magic hat and coat, Nicholas could travel faster and further than before, but he still didn't know where to find Mother Nature.
He asked the trees and squirrels, the rabbits and the wolves. He even asked a lonely old polar bear but no one seemed to know where Mother Nature was.
Tired and near the end of his hope, Nicholas stumbled upon a herd of Reindeer.
But these weren't just any old reindeer.
These reindeer were flying.
"Yes we know where Mother Nature is," they said. "She is up in the palace of winds.
It seems Old Northy got loose and she's been trying to capture him all winter."
"We can fly you to her if you'd like."
"Thank you," Nicolas said.
When they got to the palace of winds, Nicholas told Mother Nature what had happened to Merry and Christy.
Mother Nature was so sad that great big drops fell from the sky and melted all the snow, turning it into slippery, wet ice.
"You're too late," She said. "The New Year has already come and gone. My daughters must remain in the forms they chose forever."
Nicholas was very sad then, too.
"I've failed them," he said. He opened his hand and let Father Time's staff fall to the slippery ice.
The staff lit up as it spun and skittered across the icy floor of the palace grounds.
"Wait a minute. Is that Father Time's staff?" Mother Nature asked.
"Yes it is." Nicholas replied.
"There might be a way for you to turn my daughters back for a day or maybe even more, depending on how much of my magic you can gather."
"Gather magic? You mean you don't have any magic left?" Nicholas asked.
"Oh I have magic. I just don't keep it with me. My magic is spread out all over the world. You can find it in an apple tree, in the spring, when its branches burst into blossoms, or when a baby chick first cracks out of its shell. My magic is everywhere, even in the smiles of children."
Then she pulled a jar out of her robe. It was filled with seeds.
"These seeds will grow as they gather magic and then they will change colors when they are filled."
"But you must go back in time, first. Hold Father Time's staff up high and turn a full circle counter clockwise. You'll be taken back to January 1st."
"That will give you all year long to gather as much of my magic as you can until December 24th."
"Then weave all the magic seeds into Christy's branches. The girls will change back to human one minute after midnight on New Year's Day, and they will remain human until the magic in the seeds runs out."
Nicholas raised Father Time's staff, turned a full circle counterclockwise and went back to New Year's Day.
He took Mother Nature's seeds to an apple orchard and waited until the trees blossomed, but the magic seeds did not grow very much.
Hatching eggs were hard to find, but Nicholas found a few.
He looked at the magic seeds with a very sad heart because they hadn't grown very much at all and none of them had changed colors.
There was only one last thing for Nicholas to try.
"How am I going to get a child to smile," he said.
Nicholas stopped at a village where there were lots of children.
A little girl, who lived there, named Tiffani, invited Nicolas to her birthday party. Nicholas enjoyed the cake and especially the cookies and milk. Then, when it came time for Tiffani to open her presents, he took one of Mother Nature's magic seeds out of the jar. Nothing happened to the seed when Tiffani opened her first present.
The socks were very nice and they would keep her feet warm, but they weren't the very special present that Tiffani had wanted.
She got baby dolls for her second present and that made her smile, but Mother Nature's seed had hardly changed a bit.
Tiffani's third present was in a basket and it made a funny noise when she picked it up.
She set the basket down quickly, opened the lid, and out jumped an orange and white kitten.
Tiffani's heart jumped with joy, for this was the very special gift that she had wanted for her birthday.
Mother Nature's seed popped like a piece of popcorn and then it turned bright red with a golden ribbon at its stem.
Nicholas got an idea, then.
He remembered the elves that had made his magic hat and coat.
"Those elves sure did like making things.
Perhaps they would be willing to make the gifts I need."
Nicholas also remembered the reindeer and how they loved to fly.
"Maybe I can get them to fly the special gifts to me so I can give them to the kids."
There was only one problem.
"How am I supposed to find out what the kids really want?"
Father Time appeared out of thin air, right in front of Nicolas.
"I think I can help you with that," he said.
"I thought you had lost your powers," Nicholas replied.
"That I did my boy, but today is the first day of spring so my powers have returned."
"I`ve been watching you and I brought you three gifts to help you save my daughters."
"The first is a looking glass that will let you see into the hearts of children."
"Next is a flying sleigh so you can deliver all the special gifts that the elves make."
"And last of all, is a time delay bag. Mother Nature's magic will last longer if it is gathered all on the same night.
Just put the magic seeds in the bag with the presents you deliver throughout the year. Then neither you, the reindeer, the presents nor the sleigh can be seen until you weave the magic seeds into Christy's branches and speak both my daughter's names."
Nicholas set off. with Father Time's gifts.
He went to the elves who were overjoyed at the idea of making special gifts for children.
So many reindeer wanted to pull the flying sleigh that Nicolas had to draw their names from a hat, because the sleigh only had harnesses for eight reindeer.
Arnold was the biggest and strongest of the reindeer. He was elected to carry Nicolas's to the cities, towns and villages, that had children. He even flew Nicholas to the lonely little cottages that dotted the edges of the wilderness to find every child.
Nicolas used his magic mirror to look into every child's heart. And as long as the kids were good, he would add their secret wishes to his Nice List.
The reindeer that weren't picked to pull Nicholas's sleigh, carried the Nice Lists into the mists of Avalon to the elves.
After the elves filled Nicholas's magic bag, Arnold would fly Nicholas back into Avalon.
Then Nicolas would hitch the reindeer to his sleigh and deliver the presents.
Nicholas worked through Spring, Summer, and Fall. Right up until three minutes to midnight on December 24th. Just enough time for Nicolas to weave Mother Nature's seeds into Christy's branches and shout, "MERRY CHRISTMAS."
The presents all appeared at the stroke of midnight on December 24th and some lucky kids even saw Nicolas.
Each present came with a small tag that said.

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 12:12:28 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2012, 10:24:30 AM PST
Leo Little says:
The next morning when all the children opened their presents, Mother Nature's magic seeds began to pop. First one, then more, and before you knew it, Christmas's tree was covered with red, silver, blue, and gold bulbs that glowed almost as brightly as Merry's star.
Nicolas was so tired after all the work he'd done that he fell asleep right in the meadow beside Christy's tree and he slept there for seven days.
When Nicolas woke up, the tree and the star were gone, but so were Merry and Christy.
An elf met Nicolas at the edge of the mists with a brand new red velvet tuxedo.
Then Father Time marched out of Avalon followed by Merry and the most beautiful sight Nicholas had ever seen.
Christmas Time was dressed in a gown of purest snow.
Flowers blossomed from her arms and hair and a thin veil of frosted ice covered her face.
Nicholas Claus and Christmas Time were married on New Year's Day, making it the happiest New Year's Nicolas could ever remember.
The magic in Mother Nature's seeds lasted until the first day of Summer that first year.
And even longer the next.
Every year thereafter, Merry and Christmas were able stay human a little longer until they remained human up until the last week in November.
No matter how hard Nicholas tried, he couldn't keep his lovely wife and her sister human into December.
The Story of Merry and Christmas soon spread all over the world.
Children everywhere started setting up trees in December and decorating them to look like Merry and Christmas.
The children started calling Nicholas Claus a saint for giving them a very special present every year.
Saint Nicholas was soon shortened to Saint Nick.
And from Saint Nick to Santa Claus or just plain Santa.
So remember kids, to be good all year long, because you never know when Santa will be looking into your heart, to find that very special gift that will fill Mother Nature's seeds with the magic of joy.
Santa delvers his presents every year to keep his wife and her sister human.
So as long as you're good this year, you will have a very,


************************** THANKS SUE ******************************

You are welcome to join us for conversation, however, self-promotion or posting a link to your book in this area is against Amazon's TOS. Please go to the "Meet Our Authors" area for that, as many of us do check there as well.

Starter Schedule:

Elf Keeper - Tuesday, December 25 start time: 6-7:00AM EST or earlier
Courtney - Wednesday, Dec. 26 Start time around 12am EST
MerryInTexas- Thursday, December 27 Start Time: 7-8am CST
Lover of Blitzen - Friday, December 28th, Start Time: 12:30am PST
Lover of Blitzen - Saturday, December 29th, Start Time: 12:30am PST
Joyful Judy - Sunday, December 30th, Start Time: After 11 p.m. EST
Robb - Monday, Dec. 31, Start Time: After 11pm PST
Robb - Tuesday, Jan. 1, Start Time: After 11pm PST

Open Dates:

Wednesday, Jan. 2
Thursday, Jan. 3
Friday, Jan. 4
Saturday, Jan. 5
Sunday, Jan. 6

*** Please consider volunteering to be a thread starter. ***
Choose an available day, copy/paste schedule into a post and add your info. Thank You!

Hugs and prayers go out to all those who care for loved well as those who suffer through painful diseases / injuries...I hope that you find comfort and peace of mind.
Let's remember all those whose homes were taken by Hurricane Sandy. Keep them in your thoughts or prayers. And if you are able to help out do so...

Let us also remember the families who lost loved ones so tragically in the senseless shooting at the Newtown Elementary School...The hearts of a nation are wounded by the deaths of children and theirs teachers...I pray we can somehow find a way to end the madness.

Yesterday's link

ETC and thanks Robb

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 12:55:44 AM PST
Thank you, Leo. Beautiful story.

Merry Christmas to everyone here. Happy, healthy and prosperous 2013 to all.

ebc aka Appleheart

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 1:06:13 AM PST
Janine says:
Thanks Leo I feel so fortunate that we have you in this thread opening most Mondays with a lovely story and giving so much of your time thank you very much.

Two books on my wish list.
Ruby Lake
Sydney Myers has been through several failed relationships in the past year, in addition to several other trauma's, and is now giving up on finding her knight in dented armor. When her boss sends her to Ruby Lake, a small, rural town in northern Wisconsin, the last thing she was looking for was love at first sight, not to mention a place in the world where she finally fits. Add in her city-savvy best friend, a jealous ex-girlfriend, a famous father, and a coffee shop full of off-the wall characters, and it becomes more challenging for Sydney to manage than a spinning plate competition.

When disaster strikes close to home, Sydney is left with the unbearable choice of her family, or the life she has always dreamed of. Come with Sydney on her journey and laugh, cry and rediscover why some choices are not really choices at all, they are simply fate.

A Little Ray Of Sunshine

"There are worse things than going home again.

None come to mind at the moment."

Emmy James is not the kind of girl who believes in angels, or fate. So when a lost soul named Jess gets stranded at the convenience store where EJ works the night shift, and claims to be an angel delivered by Fate to fix EJ's life, EJ calls her a cab and sends her on her way.

Ah, if only it were that easy to shake an angel off your leg...

Jess's determination to fix EJ's life culminates in a kidnapping and a cross-country trek at the end of which lies Fletcher, Oregon, and the scorched earth of EJ's past. There's Lilly, her narcissistic child-star mother; Danny, the stand-in father who raised her when her mother couldn't; and Luke, the love of her life, the man who knew her best and loved her anyway. Now it's up to EJ to heal the damage she left in her wake when she disappeared out of their lives six years ago, and even with an angel on her shoulder, that's gonna be a tall order...

"Lani Diane Rich writes stories that are both funny and true, sharply observant and deeply satisfying... A heartwarming story of a woman and her Airstream trailer, trying to find her way back to love, one duck joke at a time."
- Jennifer Crusie, NYT Best-selling author

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 1:49:25 AM PST
Twas the Night,
What a beautiful Christmas story! Thank you for all that you do for this thread. Thanks also to all the other wonderful people on this thread who keep it going.

I've not been able to read all the posts as much as usual, but try to catch up when I can. Real life has been a bit of a bummer lately, but nothing serious, just time consuming.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas or whatever you celebrate in it's place. My wish for all of you is that the New Year will give everyone back their health or at least take away some of the pain both physical and emotional.

You all warm my heart over and over again with your generosity of spirit and the loving, caring feelings you show anyone who comes here with a problem.

Sorry I missed out on Secret Santa. I didn't see the mention of it in time.

Hope Santa is good to all of you!


Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 2:18:57 AM PST
Leo, Wonderful story! Thank-you for sharing it with us...

From my wish list
Dark Horse (Jim Knighthorse Series #1)
That gives me all three....

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 2:56:01 AM PST
Lyn says:
Another great start.

BTW you might want to edit the starter list and remove Mondays starter :)

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 3:26:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2012, 3:41:48 AM PST
´¯`°¤.¸.¤.¸.¤°´¯` Merry Christmas and Happy Christmas Eve ´¯`°¤.¸.¤.¸.¤°´¯`

Good morning everyone! I wish each of you a magical Christmas.

My email has been filled with treasures again today! I feel a little embarrassed and very blessed to have such caring and generous friends here. I have been careful not to open anything from my Secret Santa so be assured I am not breaking the rules.

@"Elf with sandy feet"
I am so pleased that you chose ** NOT FREE The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Christine: A Twilight, Texas Story NOT FREE ** as a gift for me. Thank you so very much. I'm looking forward to getting back to reading after the holidays are over and I can't wait to continue this series. Merry Christmas Elf! I hope Santa is extra good to you this Christmas.

** Elf... I made the mistake, an accident I assure you, of deleting your email before I accepted your gift. Is is possible to resend the gift? My iPad doesn't seem to have a way of capturing deleted emails and I was attempting to put it in a folder. Attempting being the key word! LOL

You are too kind Biscay and very generous as well. Thank you for Hearts Afire. A fireman, a damsel in distress, who could resist such a great story? My father was a fireman so I have a soft place in my heart for firemen.

I'm so glad you and your family enjoyed the Vanilla Crack. I made some this morning and my family set upon it like hungry wolves! I'm going to need to make more to take to the neighbors today. Merry Christmas Biscay to you and your family! I hope it's everything you've wished for and more.

** I also managed to delete your gift before accepting it.... I'm sorry. <hanging head in shame> Is it possible to resend?

Another mom of three boys. We are so blessed and exhausted! Boys have a lot of energy and a lot of love. How old are your boys?

Thank you so much for your very sweet message Kindlana. It meant so much to me and I appreciate your kindness. I'm thrilled with your gift of ** NOT FREE Bump in the Night (a short humorous mystery) NOT FREE **. I'm sure you've noticed that I am a big Stephanie Bond fan so I can't wait to read this book. Thank you for your thoughtful gift. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas Kindlana. I hope Santa brings everything you've dreamed of.

@Thankful FB&C Friend
Thank you so much Friend for your kind gift of ** NOT FREE The Baker's Man NOT FREE **. It was so sweet of you to think of me. I love books that have a cooking/baking theme so this book is the perfect choice for me. I know I'm going to love it.

I feel so blessed to have such kind friends here like you. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Thank you Ketta for your gift of ** NOT FREE Virtually Yours NOT FREE **. As I may have quietly mentioned, I am a fan of chick lit and romance. <hanging head in embarrassment> I guess a mother of 3 boys just needs to read something that is light and carefree that has a happy ending. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! This book fits the bill Ketta. I'm looking forward to sitting on my patio with a Coke and getting in some quality reading time.

Merry Christmas Ketta. I hope you're enjoying the time with your family this Christmas. You've been working long hours and this vacation is probably much needed.

ETA.... Thank you Biscay!

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 3:45:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2012, 4:24:30 AM PST
@Twas The Night
Another beautiful Christmas story Leo. Thank you! I hope you're feeling better today...

@Sugarplummed Suze
IT'S A BOY!!! I'm so thrilled for you Suze. Congratulations on your exciting news. Before you know it you'll be holding him in your arms and snuggling him close. What a special Christmas for your family! Merry Christmas Suze!


The Kinlib update is in....

Monday, December 24th 2012, 02:50 AM PST (771 books)

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 4:16:54 AM PST
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------ {~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*}
------ {~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*}
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--- {*~*~*~*~HAPPY~*~*~*~*}
--- {*~*~*~* BIRTHDAY*~*~*~}
--- {*~*~*~*TravelQueen*~*~*}
--- @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
---- _____)-----------(________
--- (_____________________)

"Romance novels are birthday cake and life is often peanut butter and jelly. I think everyone should have lots of delicious romance novels lying around for those times when the peanut butter of life gets stuck to the roof of your mouth."
― Janet Evanovich


´¯`°¤.¸.¤.¸.¤°´¯` Happy Anniversary Special ed teacher ´¯`°¤.¸.¤.¸.¤°´¯`

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow.

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.
~ Paul Sweeney

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 4:17:10 AM PST
Biscay says:
Dear, lovely Lover of Blitzen!

How very thoughtful your posts and thank you notes are. You are so kind that I'm not surprised everyone wants to send you gifts!

Of course I can re-send (what, deleted? didn't you like it or something??? LOL) - update - DONE. Enjoy. Firemen, yes... irrestistible, but did you notice where it was set, by the way? That's how I knew it was sitting there waiting for me to get it for you :) Hope you enjoy it when, one day in the very distant future, it manages to struggle its way up and finally floats to the top of your TBR pile.

Back to the kitchen! Hoping that all the prep work and components come together into a picture-perfect collection of goodies in the morning to take to our friends' place! So far I've completed ONE out of the whole batch (I won't say how many I'm attempting, as the final number isn't going to be anything like that). And actually it's just something for our family to eat in the a.m. - Nigella's triple cheese strata (I won't post, it's easy enough to google- and sorry in advance, robb and others, a gluten free version would be easy enough to achieve by substituting GF bread for the baguette, but a dairy free version is just not going to happen, I fear.

Next on the list to get on with is a Triple Trifle (maybe I should say a trio of trifles, but I thought that sounded snappier. I'm using brioche instead of cake, and going to do one as a limoncello, ginger and citrus one, with lemon curd as well as cream and custard - just for you, LOB - I guess I should have checked that you are fine with ginger. I'll save you a piece without any, just in case, ok?!)

Hope everyone's having a good Christmas Eve so far and having a day when all's well with each of you, and your nearest and dearest.


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 4:32:35 AM PST
Biscay says:
Gosh, Leo. Your imagination is really something. What an enjoyable tale! Thank you for sharing your inspired stories for the humble cause of starting this thread. I'm sure you've helped add to the regular visitors and spread so much joy and support as a result. I hope your family has a wonderful Christmas and wish you good health and every happiness for the year ahead.


Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 4:42:49 AM PST
jilli says:
What a beautiful story. I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas Eve. I will be working tomorrow, so we will be celebrating Christmas today. No major cooking. Fur Baby will get cooked human food today, I think he senses that. No chemo for me today, my oncologist blessed me with that news last week. She says that's her Hannukkah/Christmas gift to me. Plus she gave me permission to have one glass of wine. So now I am trying to figure out which day of the week to have that glass of wine. Lol. From all of my fellow lurkers to all of you have a Merry Christmas. Elizabeth SH, i will be thinking about you this hoilday. Thank you for being such a kind person. BTW, I will be making the Crack today, I stocked up on saltines yesterday.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 5:14:21 AM PST
LOB, thank you so much :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 5:14:34 AM PST
redandwhite says:
Thank you Twas The Night ..... for a brilliant start - what a super story - has been copied and pasted to tell to my grandson - just delightful.

Here's wishing all of you fantastic posters a very Happy Christmas Eve and hope that all goes well for all of you. Thank you for being here for us all.

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 5:22:45 AM PST
redandwhite says:
I see that the following are free again, which reminds me that I must move them up on my TBR list (actually I must just do more reading) :

A Little Ray Of Sunshine by Lani Diane Rich
"There are worse things than going home again.

None come to mind at the moment."

Emmy James is not the kind of girl who believes in angels, or fate. So when a lost soul named Jess gets stranded at the convenience store where EJ works the night shift, and claims to be an angel delivered by Fate to fix EJ's life, EJ calls her a cab and sends her on her way.

Ah, if only it were that easy to shake an angel off your leg...

Jess's determination to fix EJ's life culminates in a kidnapping and a cross-country trek at the end of which lies Fletcher, Oregon, and the scorched earth of EJ's past. There's Lilly, her narcissistic child-star mother; Danny, the stand-in father who raised her when her mother couldn't; and Luke, the love of her life, the man who knew her best and loved her anyway. Now it's up to EJ to heal the damage she left in her wake when she disappeared out of their lives six years ago, and even with an angel on her shoulder, that's gonna be a tall order...

"Lani Diane Rich writes stories that are both funny and true, sharply observant and deeply satisfying... A heartwarming story of a woman and her Airstream trailer, trying to find her way back to love, one duck joke at a time."

Breaking TWIG by Deborah Epperson
Set in rural Georgia in the 1960s, BREAKING TWIG is a coming-of-age novel about Becky (Twig) Cooper, a young woman trying to survive the physical and emotional abuse of her mother, Helen, a beautiful, calculating woman who can, with a mere look, send the meanest cur in Sugardale, Georgia running for its life.

Not even Twig's vivid imagination, keen wit, and dark sense of humor is enough to help her survive the escalating assaults of Helen and a new stepbrother, but help comes from an unexpected source--Frank, her stepfather. Sometimes, having one person who loves and believes in you is all a girl needs to keep hope alive.

Often raw and irreverent and sprinkled with all the Southern flavoring found in a good bowl of chicken and dumplings, BREAKING TWIG, is about finding love where we least expect it, destroying lives with easy lies, and realizing each of us determine our own truth.

And a new one for me:
Bedside Manner by Emily Burke
Nicklaus Fleischer dreamed of growing up to be a doctor. Few dreams, however, can remain pure under the shadow of the Third Reich. On his journey to become a doctor and soothe his troubled home life, Nicklaus discovers the terrible steps his nation has taken to fight a war not just on the front lines, but against its very own citizens. The government changes the value of 'Do No Harm', and with it, Nicklaus's dreams to better the lives of his fellow man.

This is a fictional biography set during a grim time - a tale of life, death, love, and loss that is not for the faint of heart.

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 5:33:57 AM PST
☀ Suze says:
Thanks so much for sharing my excitement about a grandson on the way....he's due on May 22, Josie.

Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you! I have just loved making so many new friends this past year. You've been an incredible blessing in my life. Love to all!!

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 5:35:58 AM PST
☀ Suze says:
One of my favorites:

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 5:52:05 AM PST
Isn't it great to complete a series?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 5:53:58 AM PST
Good to *see* you Liz.
Hope RL settles down enough for you to check in more.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2012, 5:54:42 AM PST
Thanks for starting Leo.

Wonderful story!

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 6:06:41 AM PST
Thank you all for the anniversary wishes, I had forgotten myself. And thank you Cheryl for the gift book (not secret santa). I am home sick, so a new book makes all the difference.

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 6:09:42 AM PST
☀ Suze says:
@ Leo,

Thanks for starting on Christmas Eve and your great story! We are fortunate to have your talent here.

Thanks too to my Secret Santa for **NOT FREE Falling: The Story of a Marriage (Kindle Single) By Alexandra Fuller, one of my favorite authors! I'm curious who my Secret Santa is, but if you want to stay secret.....just know I appreciate your kind gift and I can't wait to have more reading time!

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 6:32:13 AM PST
Thank you so much for my secret santa gift, cheered me up.

Posted on Dec 24, 2012, 6:44:17 AM PST
Linda B says:
To Secret Santa ~jlg
You have been so very generous - thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I couldn't wait any longer to open my ss emails so I opened them all today.
Now off to read.
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