I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you one of the things I hate, historically, has been what’s called Christmas in July by the retail and commercial selling world. Christmas is Dec. 25 a winter holiday, so I have never understood why Hallmark and the Christmas Tree Shops, just to name 2, go bat-shit crazy during one of the hottest months of the year promoting the holiday shopping season.
Since I’ve published a Christmas-themed novel, though, my thoughts have changed. I now understand the WHY of such early promo. You want your readers to start reading and reviewing your holiday works so that when the actual dates roll around, the gift-of-a-book-buying public will choose yours, based on buzz.
I get it now. In spades.
Or maybe that’s in Christmas cookies(!)
For my Christmas in July, here’s A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS from The Wild Rose Press. The book is also up for a Contemporary Romance Writers STILETTO AWARD this year. Keep your fingers crossed. I’m a finalist and the winners are announced on July 28!
Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your holiday appetite.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.
Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.
Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?
He came toward me and I could see every ripple of muscle, every action and reaction of his gait, every blink of his eyes, as it happened. Detailed, distinct, delicious.
The bright sun shone low due to the hour, but it haloed around his form, bathing him in light.
He looked like an angel.
A dressed-all-in-black angel, but an angel, nonetheless.
“Need some help?” he asked when he was within a foot of me.
I still hadn’t moved, my fingers cemented around the ladder rungs. I couldn’t feel them anymore. Merda, I couldn’t feel anything I was so numb from just looking at him.
But I could hear. My blood, as it river rafted crazily through my temples; my heart drumming like a heavy metal band in my chest.
And his voice. Mio Dio, his voice.
When I was six I had a terrible chest cold. Wheezing, choking on phlegm, unable to cough anything up. The doctor told mama to keep me warm and hydrated and the cold would ride itself out in time. Nonna Constanza, ancient even when I was a kid, scoffed and prescribed her own old world remedy. She sat me in her lap, cooing to me with her singsong voice and held a tiny shot glass up to my lips coaxing, “Tu bevi, Gia bambina. Tu Bevi.”
Drink, Gia baby. Drink.
She tilted the glass back into my mouth and I did. I drank every drop.
I don’t remember much after because Daddy told me I slipped into a mini-coma for about sixty-two hours, bombed out of my head from the anisette nonna had dosed me with.
But this is what I do remember. The amber colored liquor slipped down the inside of my mouth to the back of my throat and onward into my belly, tasting of melted marshmallows and warming each place it touched like a million little hits of heat popping everywhere inside me. When it reached my tummy it settled and dug in, filling my senses with the sweet flavor of mama’s Sunday morning caramel rolls and sugar.
That’s what his voice sounded like: warm and sweet, thick, delicious, and soothing.
My entire body relaxed when I heard it. My paralysis flew and my frozen-in-place digits melted.
He’d held my stare the entire time, never wavering, never becoming distracted by something else. He looked straight at me; just me. Like a missile dead-eye-aimed for a target.
“Here,” he said, moving in closer, so close I could make out the actual color of his eyes now. I’d thought they were dark and from far away and they were. But seeing them now, face-to-face, I spotted little flecks of yellow and slivery shards of gold mixed into the center and surrounded by a ring of deep, rich, mink.
If his voice was warm and soothing, his eyes were hot enough to singe, and mama mia, I wanted to be burned.