Joy abounds during the Christmas season. A sense of magic threads through everything, and the spirit of make-believe becomes almost commonplace.
The authors in this anthology capture that joy with stories marked by fun, goofiness, touching sentiment, and even some sweet romance.
This light-hearted holiday book brings smiles and even a giggle or two and ushers in a very joyous holiday season.
"The Magic Cat of the Hidden Springs Inn and Spa" by Kari Kilgore
"A New Home for Christmas" by Annie Reed
"Reindeer Christmas" by Lisa Silverthorne
"The Gift" by Brenda Carre
"The Sugimori Sisters and the Santa Experiment" by Brigid Collins
"Caribou Road" by Joe Cron
"Christmas Newsletters from the Edge" by Robert Jeschonek
"A Grave Kind of Love" by Robert J. McCarter
"Turn The Page" by Michael D. Britton
"Green Girl" by Brenda Carre
"Christmas Eve at Claredon Hall" by Dayle A. Dermatis
Best Laid Plans of Editors…Well, You Know The Rest
The guidelines I gave to writers about this volume asked for Christmas romances. Or holiday romances. I figured if I got too many holiday romances that were not Christmas-specific, I'd move those stories over to our companion volume, The Winter Holidays.
I didn't move any romances over there. I don't really have a lot of romances here.
What I do have are stories that are boatloads of fun. Goofy stories, touching stories, and yes, some romances as well.
The initial vision for this volume came from my own life. For years, traditional publishers put out annual collections of short Christmas romances. Those volumes got me through some tough years. In a few of those years, I had no real family to celebrate with. In other years, I couldn't take part in the season because the small town I lived in shut down for the season. And for a few years in the middle of the past decade, I was too ill to participate in almost any celebration.
So I read about other people celebrating—and I knew that the stories would have a happy ending. I needed both the celebration and the happy ending. My life in those years was hard, and to make matters worse, friends and family were dying as if there was a plague. (Not to mention the ugliness that had started infecting my country.)
I needed an escape, rather like a vacation to the perfect place over Christmas, with holiday lights and yummy food and people who loved each other. A place where no one got sick, and if someone died, they had done so long ago, so that the pain of it was in the past. A place where smiles dominated, and happy endings were guaranteed.
I figured that asking writers for Christmas romances would do the trick and give me a joyful volume that I could share with you.
Dang writers. About half in this volume gave me good Christmas romances. The other half? They gave me the required happy ending. They gave me joy. They gave me laughter. They gave me the holiday spirit. Romance? As in traditional romance? Not so much.
So, I was faced with a choice. Did I go with my original vision and ask some of my favorite romance writers to fill in the gap? Or did I change the vision so that I could share some of the most inventive stories I've ever read about the holiday season?
I opted for inventive. Primarily because most of the inventive non-romance stories made me laugh out loud. Or they touched my heart in a totally unexpected way.
Here's what I promise: Those of you who are having a rough year can safely read this volume. There are no serial killers. There is no bloody murder. There are no unhappy endings. If you crave those things, you can find them in our other companion volume, Bloody Christmas.
And, if you want to see these stories, along with the stories in Winter Holidays and Bloody Christmas, as well as two other stories of mine, you can pick up WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019. The stories first appeared as daily missives to lucky subscribers (and you can do the same for this year if you go to wmgpublishing.com/project/holidayspectacular for more information.
All of the sad stories, all of the violent and somewhat mean stories, live in the other three volumes.
Not here. This book is a safe space. Where your bruised heart might find a tiny bit of respite during this tough season.
I wish you joy and light and healing in this holiday season. I also hope this anthology gives you something to smile about, or maybe even inspires a giggle or two.
Enjoy…or rather, read on…in joy.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Las Vegas, Nevada
August 4, 2019