Thursday, July 26, 2012

L. J. Holmes, Santa is a Lady and The Christmas Wa

AUTHOR: L.J. Holmes
BOOK TITLE: Santa Is A Lady and its sequel The Christmas War
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing, Inc.

L.J. is giving two sets away to people who leave comments on the blog today. Be sure to leave contact information.
Two PDF copies of Santa Is A Lady and The Christmas War.
Each comment left will be awarded a number…so the more comments you leave, the greater your chances for winning. Tomorrow two numbers will be randomly chosen by L.J's Bingo Tumbler.
Penny will deliver by email.

Tell me a little about your book.
Santa Is A Lady: Angie Brightwell is a survivor of a very serious car accident, who turned her life around and has become a successful author.  Beck Cavington is Angie’s best friend and owner of a Sweets Shoppe. It is the final crunch days before Christmas when Beck’s Santa Claus is arrested. Desperate to re-man Santa’s throne, prominently displayed in her store, Beck, unable to find a suitable MALE replacement, uses her friendship to coerce Angie to don the suit and climb upon the throne. BUT, Santa is NOT supposed to be a Lady…so trouble is bound to follow.

The Christmas War, Book Two in this Christmas Miracles Series, is Beck’s story and takes place on year later in Northeringale, a town known far and wide for doing the Christmas theme up with pride. Beck’s mother, on the other hand does NOT have the Christmas Spirit. Instead she is going behind her daughter’s back to get her good and married before her upcoming birthday, mere days away, whether Beck wants to get married or not…oh, and the gent has to be someone Irene Cavington has total control over. Failure for Irene is NOT an option…no matter what depths she has to sink to.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Santa Is A Lady came about after a local Santa really DID get arrested. I worked retail to help pay for my college, so I know how important the Christmas season is. What, I wondered, would a store owner do if Santa got arrested less than a week before the big day.

The Christmas War came about because of two things…three actually. The first my daughter, author Kat Holmes said I needed to revisit Northeringale and tell more stories about the people living there. I hadn’t intended to make this a series…but once she planted the idea, my inner voice, that I call Nudge, took over and there was no stopping Nudge.

The other two events have to do with my own history. Irene Cavington is modeled after my former mother-in-law. I was never able to confront her and take her to task, but I could here. The other event, my own marriage was arranged by my father. Through this story I wanted to map out a different course for Beck, but wasn’t sure I could. I never know where Nudge is going to take our stories, but wisely I follow.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
OOOPS I think I answered this above.

Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I’m a Christmas Light fanatic. My birthday falls on December 12th. As part of my birthday celebration, I would head up into the attic, bring down all the lights and spend the day teetering on porch railings, dangling atop rickety ladders, shimmying out on dubiously long tree branches to illuminate the house and all of our two acres each year. I was like a kid who’d been given access to the entire candy shop.

Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme?  If so, what are they?
Yes, there are some unique issues in marketing a seasonal theme. For instance most people do not want to think about Christmas during the Dog Days of summer, but psychologically, that’s the best time. Nothing cools a mind faster than sinking into a snow blanketed Christmas story.

How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher?
The first book was submitted in March 2010 and released in December 2010. The sequel was submitted in June 2010 but didn’t release until December 2011.

How and why did you choose this publisher?
My daughter’s editor at another publishing house recommended Muse to me, and I am beyond grateful. MuseItUp Publishing has been such a blessing for both Kat and me. I’m very happy here.

What about your book makes it special?
Christmas is about miracles. Santa Is A Lady and The Christmas War are Books 1 & 2 in my Christmas Miracles Series. The town of Northeringale boasts Christmas, taking pride in Decking The Halls and all places in between. Also LOVE is the biggest miracle and these books bring Christmas and love together creating dual miracles.

What does Christmas mean to you?
Enchantment. How can anyone not look at the Christmas Light displays and not be enchanted?

What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Santa coming to our house to deliver one present to every child Christmas Eve.

What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
We didn’t do stockings. Santa coming the night before with that one gift was probably our equivalent of stockings.

What was your favorite Christmas present?
I know this is probably going to sound weird, but the presents weren’t really what mattered. I loved turning off the house lights, sitting in my rocking chair with my baby in my arms, reciting from memory, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS while watching the tree lights twinkle before us.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Naturally at my publisher’s sight , but I also have my own blog where I post free short stories I write here and there
You can also check my MuseItUp Author’s Page for a run down of all the books I have available

He didn’t look to the left; he didn’t look to the right; he made a direct beeline for Santa’s North Pole Throne and Angie’s vulnerable lap.

It had already been an eventful day. Although Angie knew when she did it, it was probably a petty thing to do, she arrived at eight o’clock, not the earlier seven-thirty Beck had commanded the night before. It had given Angie a fleeting moment of righteous tit for tat pleasure. Of course, Beck had not been the least bit amused and had shown her annoyance in the manner she helped Angie get into her Santa disguise.

Angie turned a deaf ear to Beck’s litany of complaints, but by the time the doors actually opened, Angie’s body felt a bit tender from Beck’s “loving” ministrations and her limp seemed a bit more pronounced as she made her way to the North Pole Throne and another day locked into Santa cheer.

The doors opened onto a stream of Santa fans that had been lined up in the cold that formed a queue from Santa’s throne to the door. Many had brought digital cameras demanding Santa and their cherubs pose this way and that. Santa felt old before her time by the half hour mark.

The line worked its way down as the minutes moved on. The cash registers’ ka-chings had also gradually filtered, in Angie’s mind, blessedly into silence as the store emptied of Beck’s sainted customers.

Into that silence, though, he vaulted.

Known throughout all of Northeringale and twelve of the fourteen surrounding townships, Julian Harper arrived. Some people looked at Julian and saw an adorable though outrageously precocious scamp. Angie knew better. She’d babysat Julian once, almost a year ago, and had yet to fully recover from the experience. He was, to put it kindly, the proverbial bull-in-the-china-shop. Nothing he did was done by half measures including lurching up onto Santa’s lap where he landed with an inhuman thud.

Angie’s hip screamed out a chorale of yelps and she had to force her lips not to give voice to the silent screams within her. Biting down on waves of rippling agony Angie spouted her usual, “What can Santa bring for you, my fine boy?” spiel.

Julian Harper’s repertoire didn’t consist of sitting still either. Angie looked around frantically for the boy’s mother. And wondered why she’d allowed him to come into Sweets and Treats without her. No doubt to get her own reprieve from the little hellion, Angie thought sourly.
Julian Harper boosted himself up into a standing position so he could stretch over Santa and check out the long fall of Santa curls running down Angie’s back, catching his grubby paws in the acrylic locks. His fingers, sticky from whatever he’d had in them before coming into Sweets and Treats became ensnarled in the phony mane literally handcuffing Julian’s hands and the wig together.

Using his feet, Julian kicked out to get leverage, then jabbed, and jumped all over Angie’s lap trying to free himself from his captivity while screeching right in her ears at the top of his lungs. Angie, sensing the approaching disaster screamed for Beck to come and prevent the serious trouble about to fall upon them. Just as she screamed, though, Julian’s booted foot bulls-eyed down on Angie’s already battered hip. Another scream, this one loudly vocal and crammed with Angie’s suffering rent the air.

Beck reached the wildly out of control Julian and pulled him and Santa’s wig away from Angie in one powerful sweep.

Julian, his paws filled with the fake Santa hair, stared at Angie’s hairless Santa and began squealing, “Santa’s a fake” over and over again loud enough to wake the dead. He also began wriggling frantically in Beck’s hold, but she held onto him for dear life carting him into the back of the store where the bathroom waited to get his grubby hands free from Santa’s wig.

Northeringale, no matter how close to Christmas it might be, was not a fantasy land at three o’clock in the morning, especially in the middle of nowhere. Two cars were parked on dirt packed, back roads, dark and quiet sentries of the nighttime’s unrest and so far from Main Street it would take someone lost and equipped with night vision goggles to see either the vehicles or the secretive occupants inside them.
One car, a newer model, American made, was the place chosen for the occupants’ summit meeting.

“Have you got it?”

“Right here.”

“Good, and everything is here?”



“Still up in the air.”

“You’ll have to go back then.”


“We need to know when.”

“I don’t like it.”

“No one suspects do they?”

“Are you kidding?”

”Then we have to proceed as is.”

“Not quite. I’ve delivered what we agreed upon. If I have to go back, I’ll need a few more devices to fully cover every contingency.”

“Of course. This should take care of it.” A bulging envelope exchanged hands and scrutinized by a knowing eye. “Well? Will that do?” A nod of the head was all the acquiescence needed. “Call me when you have news.”

The silence outside, occupied only by some nocturnal creatures, was broken when a car door slammed and the engine roared to life. Shortly thereafter a second vehicle’s motor growled too. One car went north, the other went south. Neither vehicle engaged its headlights until a good distance had been driven. No chances could be taken. Not now. Not ever.


  1. I enjoyed the interview. I have read SANTA IS A LADY. I liked it. Thanks for sharing the excerpt for THE CHRISTMAS WAR. Sounds like it will be interesting.

  2. There is something wonderful about Christmas stories. These two sound great. I'm looking forward to reading them.

  3. I think when an author fictionalizes details from her personal life, the warmth and honesty leaps from the page and gives the books the uniqueness readers crave. Congratulations for finding this balance, Lin.

  4. Intriguing excerpt from The Christmas War Lin. Now that I know the story behind the story, it will be very interesting to read:)


  5. Thank you all for visiting my interview. As promised I am givign away two sets of my Christmas Miracles books.

    The two winners are...drumroll please...

    Wendy and S. Durham.