Christmas Books in July Event

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Welcome to the Christmas Books in July event!

The weather is hot, and we’re all hoping and wishing for some cooler weather soon. But while we’re waiting for that cooler weather,  six of us authors have come together to celebrate Christmas in July with books, stories, games, and more!

Click on this link to see the 99¢ Christmas e-books on sale!

And while you’re at it, we have a fun event on Facebook. Get to know the authors of our books and blog posts better. Pop in with Christmas questions, book questions, and more!
Join us today!

Today, we’re starting off Christmas Books in July with a short story from Author Kathleen Gemmell.

(This was originally published by ParentCo.)


A Porcupine for Christmas

He walked three steps on that festive Christmas.

Having just turned one, I was quite convinced that my son was talented beyond compare in his age bracket. Jay was a tow head, trim, and sported a contagious grin. On that day, he wore red corduroy overalls and a green turtleneck. I was over the moon in love with my little guy.

We were visiting one set of grandparents on Christmas Eve and the other on the big day itself. In keeping with the theme that Jay was without compare, both sets of grand-folks had overdone the gift giving. Large trees in both homes were piled with gifts beneath.

Of course, our Jack Russell Terrier, Devon, was part of our family and she too, seemed to sense the frivolity in the air. “Devon” had been Jay’s first word and we chalked that up to his brilliant persona. After greeting their grand-dog, my parents overwhelmed little Jay with kisses and cuddles and treats galore. Jay’s reactions were a bit off putting to these proud elders. After all, what child isn’t enamored over the Christmas bounty?

A one-year-old child is clueless to the merriment of Christmas. As gift after gift was set before him, my parents were puzzled as to his lack of enthusiasm.

“Mom, Dad, he is only just past infancy. He doesn’t yet ‘get’ this holiday fare. Please don’t be upset. Once home, I’m sure he’ll enjoy all the bobbles and bangles. I will say, however, that a bicycle is rather premature.”

Jay seemed to focus on the sparkling tinsel on the 10-foot tree and would crawl over and pluck handfuls off. Devon was soon covered in silver and ran about trying to rid her couture.

“This is not going like I anticipated,” whined my mother. “Jay isn’t enjoying his gifts and Devon never misbehaves. I told your father that this Christmas would not be a Norman Rockwell painting. Would he listen? No. A bicycle, honestly!”

Mom poured herself a cocktail…one of the few she drank each year. I knew that after two Vodka Sours, my mom would be loopy. yet care free. Her disappointment would likely pass.

My father was an outgoing, loving soul. I never heard that one person disliked him.

“Alice,” he cooed.” This will be a fine day. We must all relax, enjoy each other’s company and remember the meaning of Christmas.”

The tinsel covered living room was quite the mess for a mother who was chided to be OCD-ish. Devon, free from her burden, had curled up on the tree skirt and we all tried our best to follow her calm demeanor. Jay, now covered in the silver folly, began to be irritable and I put him in his port-a-crib and soothed him to sleep.

Liqueurs were served and I had a moment of jealously as breast feeding kept me from joining the others. A fine meal was served while Jay and Devon slept on and the familial mood brightened. We told stories of Christmas pasts and we absolutely had to get mom’s goat with the retelling of the mouse and cat episode…

That year, my parent’s home had a mouse “Issue.” Their beautiful home “could not” be infested according to mom. One exterminator after another assured her that the “Issue” was resolved.  Phoebe, their beloved cat knew better and chased a loner up the heavily ornament laden tree.

The tree tipped and before anyone could right it, that tree was through the glass of the picture window. I’m embarrassed to say that my uncontrollable laughter further crazed mom, but honestly, is was perfectly perfect.

Jay awoke as Devon hoped into his crib to check on him. After a changed diaper and a feeding, the Christmas Eve hour was growing late. We all settled in, having donned new sweaters and slippers. The snow fell and the conversation was peaceful. Sweet Jay began to scoot about the myriad of toys and came upon three overlooked gifts.

“Goodness,” stated dad. “We forgot Devon’s gifts.”

Jay was well into tearing the wrapping off and Devon sidled up to him as she could smell her goodies. Dog treats, a large rawhide bone and a rubber porcupine that squeaked when squeezed were Santa’s bounty.

Jay was enamored with the squeaky porcupine. Amidst a mountain of gifts, Jay had found the present he loved. Of course, the irritating noise was tolerated and Devon seemed not to care as she gnawed her bone.

Using the couch, he pulled himself upright with one hand, clutching his treasure in the other. Jay turned to me, a huge smile on his rosy-cheeked face and he walked those first steps.

“Well,” concluded my father, “If this isn’t the best Christmas yet…”

Jay slept with his beloved keepsake and focused on it the next day as we journeyed on to another mound of gifts from Ol’ Saint Nick.

“Mr. Porcupine” is now in Jay’s keepsake box of treasures.

After all, only a wonderfully precocious child would choose the perfect gift.


Thank you for joining us! Don’t forget to keep coming by the blog, Facebook, and site for more Christmas fun! Just click the links above.


To the one who hasn’t been his or herself lately…

I came across this tweet (by @alisonpool_)—oddly enough—on Facebook the other day.

to the girl...

To be frank, this has been my life for the past few weeks. I haven’t felt like myself. I have felt like a shell of myself. I see the person I am versus the person I usually am, and it scares me a bit. But, that’s the OCD, and the devil is using my mind as his personal playground. I don’t want to go into any detail regarding it, but the OCD has me worrying about things that haven’t even happened. It’s actually ridiculous, and though I realize that I’m being ridiculous, that what I’m obsessing over isn’t actually real, it feels real.

I know. I sound insane. Trust me, I feel it. Though, it doesn’t make it any less real to me. Which had me thinking about those who suffer quietly, who, like me, put on a smile and pretend to be fine when inside demons are ripping your mind to shreds, torturing you with thoughts of suicide, depression, obsessions, worry, fear, you name it. You aren’t alone. I promise you that. You. Are. Not. Alone.

I know that it feels like you’re drowning now, that nothing will ever be all right again, but that’s not true. There’s always a light that shines through the darkness. If you’re religious, that’s God. If you’re not (and even if you are), that’s your friend who checks on you or the stranger that smiles at you.

I had a thought the other night as I laid my head down and settled in to bed. It was the first time in a long time that I went to bed without a care, without some worry or fear or tormenting thought, and I thought, “I’m so glad to be normal again.”

That lasted exactly one night and half of a day.

What I’m saying is that some days you feel normal; others are struggle. I wish—and pray—that it isn’t like this. I want to be normal. I want to be myself again. And I will be. I will battle these demons. I will win.

It’s time to remind myself who I am. That I’m loved by a King, that I have help when I need it.

I’m not pushing my book, but it reminds me a lot of Lexi from Delivered by Angels. She felt hopeless, but God sent an angel to remind her that she was loved and could be saved. You can be saved. I can be saved. We’re not alone, and I think we should take comfort in that. And one day, we’ll be ourselves again. Our spark will return. I look forward to that day.