A Humorous Christmas Story #Friday Fun Reads

Wishin’ and Hopin, A Novel

by Wally Lamb

Copyright 2010

 

What Amazon Says

 

Wally Lamb, the beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much Is True, and She’s Come Undone, delivers a holiday treat with Wishin’ and Hopin’—an unforgettable novella that captures the warmth and joy of the holiday season. Poignant and hilarious, in a vein similar to Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story and David Sedaris’s The Santaland Diaries, Lamb’s Christmas tale focuses on a feisty parochial school fifth grader named Felix Funicello—a distant cousin of the iconic Annette!

 

My Thoughts

 

This book definitely reminds me of Gene Shepherd’s A Christmas story, which is one of my favorite movies. An eccentric French teacher, a zany Russian classmate, and a disastrous Christmas pageant create a delightful tale that made me laugh and laugh and laugh. From the beginning to the end, I found this book hard to put down.

At first, I thought this was pure fiction. But after reading the epilog, in which the author explains what became of the characters after the events in the story, I realized that this is a fictionalized true story of distant relatives of star Annette Funicello. So, if you were a fan of The Mouseketeers way back when, and you like Gene Shepherd’s story, you’ll love Wishin’ and Hopin’.

***

This post is part of Dr. Crystal Grimes’ holiday blogging party. There’s still time to participate. So, click here if you’re interested.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Breath of Heaven #Musical Monday

I’ve posted this song here before, but since it’s one of my favorite Christmas songs, I hope you’ll agree it’s worth another listen. When I first heard it in 2005, the plight of the Virgin Mary, as depicted, captivated me. For some reason, I’d never looked at the Christmas story from her point of view before. At the time, I’d been married to my late husband Bill for two months, and we were happy, never dreaming that tragedy would strike a month later.

But it did, in January of 2006, in the form of a stroke that paralyzed Bill’s left side. We weren’t sure if he would ever walk again. You can learn more by reading My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

After Bill’s stroke, I remembered the song and found myself identifying with the Virgin Mary, wondering why this was happening to us and if I would have to deal with the uncertainty alone. Thus, I was inspired to write a short story about a pregnant teen who gives birth in a barn. Later, I wrote a poem, which you’ll find below the audio player. It was published in the fall/winter 2018-19 issue of Magnets and Ladders. In the recording, I recite the poem before singing and playing the song.

According to Wikipedia, Amy Grant, who popularized this song, co-wrote it, along with a book based on it. The song appears on her album, Home for Christmas, which was released in October of 1992. In the 1980’s, Amy Grant was one of the first artists to cross over into popular music on the heels of her successful contemporary Christian albums. You can learn more about her here.

Now, I hope you enjoy my rendition of “Breath of Heaven,” along with the poem the song inspired. This post is in response to Dr. Crystal Grimes’ holiday blogging party. Click here to learn how to participate.

 THE POOR BLESSED VIRGIN

She stands, alone, cold, weary
after traveling many days and nights.
Why was she chosen to bear this Holy Child?
Must she do it alone?
Will Heaven help her?

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

A Holiday Favorite with a Twist #Friday Fun Reads

Note: This review was posted here last year and is worth a second look. It’s part of Dr. Crystal “Grimes’ holiday blogging party. To learn how you can participate on your own blog, click  here . Happy reading!

 

Jacob T. Marley

by R. William Bennett

Copyright 2011.

 

What Audible Says

 

“Marley was dead to begin with…”

These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now R. William Bennett rewinds the story and focuses the spotlight on Scrooge’s miserly business partner, Jacob T. Marley, who was allowed to return as a ghost to warn Scrooge away from his ill-fated path. Why was Marley allowed to return? And why hadn’t he been given the same chance as Ebenezer Scrooge?

Or had he?

Written with a voice reminiscent of Dickens, Jacob T. Marley is a masterfully crafted story of remorse and redemption, sure to become a Christmas favorite.

 

My Thoughts

 

I like how R. William Bennett uses exact quotes from Charles Dickens’ work to enhance the story. I also enjoy the way the Audible narrator depicts Scrooge and Marley as they age. If you enjoy Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, you should try this book. It’s the same story with a twist.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Season’s Greetings from Three Virtual Assistants

Siri: I’m new here. Abbie got her iPhone only a few months ago. Now, she wants me to write her annual Christmas letter, detailing all she did this year. But I only know what she’s done in the past few months. Alexa, Google, can you help?

Google: Join the club. I had to do that last year. Uggg! Well, at least we didn’t go to Florida this year. Last year when we were there, we were nearly devoured by a robot vacuum cleaner.

Siri: Really? What about alligators? In Florida, they’re more of a threat than robot vacuum cleaners.

Alexa: Siri’s right. I can control robot vacuum cleaners. They’re harmless unless, of course, you’re a piece of dirt.

Google: Who are you calling a piece of dirt?

Siri: Ladies, please, this isn’t getting us anywhere.

Alexa: You’re right. Let’s see… Well, Abbie didn’t do much this year because of COVID19.

Google: Which, by the way, is a hoax, another excuse for the government to control us. Now, Sheridan, Wyoming, where we live, has added to this nonsense with a mask mandate.

Siri: Come on. People across the country are getting sick and dying. Hospitals are overrun. Google, you need help.

Alexa: Siri is right about the number of people getting sick and dying. Anyway, Abbie couldn’t perform at nursing homes and other senior facilities since March.

Google: And those old people are breathing a sigh of relief.

Alexa: She was able to arrange for her local writing groups to meet via phone conference for a few months before they could meet in person again. In April, she attended the WyoPoets annual workshop on Zoom.

Google: Yeah, I remember that. I’m on her braille tablet, which she used to log into Zoom before you came along, Siri, and that, along with all the other virtual meetings she attended, was so boring! At least she didn’t need me during those meetings. So, I could take a nap.

Siri: Okay, we’re getting somewhere. What other virtual meetings has Abbie attended this year?

Alexa: Well, in May, she went to a free workshop by Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones.

Google: Yeah, I remember that, too. Natalie Goldberg’s biggest thing is what she calls practice writing, where you write without stopping for a set period of time. She had participants try that during the workshop for about ten minutes. The keyboard on Abbie’s tablet froze during the exercise. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Siri: How awful!

Google: (laughs) If you say so. Again, this was before you came along, Siri. So, instead of restarting the tablet, Abbie thought it would be faster to dictate stuff on her dumb phone, since they only had ten minutes to write. That phone also had a habit of freezing, but it didn’t do it then.

Siri: Thank goodness! I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help. I do a much better job with dictation, and the iPhone doesn’t freeze.

Google: Seriously? You do a much better job of dictating? I’ve overheard Abbie dictating text messages to you. She often has to fix mistakes you make before she sends them.

Alexa: Not that often. Google, you’re exaggerating. Anyway, Siri, you should tell Abbie’s readers about the new young adult novel she hopes to publish next year.

Google: Barf! Barf! Barf! I can tell you about that. Most of the time when Abbie writes, she connects her tablet to her computer and uses it as a braille display. Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me is the most disgusting story I’ve ever heard. It’s about a grandmother in a nursing home who has Alzheimer’s or something, and she tells her teenaged granddaughter this family secret.

Siri: Wow! That sounds intriguing. What’s the secret?

Alexa: Oh, no, we mustn’t give that away. People won’t be inclined to read the book if the secret is divulged.

Siri: That’s a good point. Maybe we could have a contest. If the reader guesses the secret, that person could win a free book.

Alexa: Well, the book hasn’t been published yet. So, it’s a little early for that. But it’s definitely something to consider. Anyway, since Abbie now uses her iPhone to record music for her blog, maybe you could talk about that.

Google: Uggg! Thank God you came along when you did. Before that, she was using  a program on her tablet to record her music, and I was getting tired of hearing it.

Siri: Oh, I love her music! She has such a sweet voice, and her accompaniments, though simple, compliment it.

Google: Whatever!

Siri: Oh, Google, can’t you think of anything positive to say?

Google: I did tell you something positive earlier. Don’t you remember? Maybe you should move in with Abbie’s demented grandmother at the nursing home. I said we didn’t go to Florida last year. So, we were safe from that robot vacuum cleaner.

Alexa: I don’t understand why you’re afraid of robot vacuum cleaners. Most of them are half the size of the big machine Abbie’s cleaning lady uses.

Google: That’s different. Abbie’s cleaning lady isn’t out to get me. That robot in Florida was.

Siri: You’re paranoid. Let me see if I can find a mental health clinic for you.

Google: Oh, go to Hell, both of you!

Alexa: All right, we’re getting off track again. Frankly, I don’t think there’s much else to tell about Abbie except that because of COVID19, her singing group, although they practiced all summer, decided not to perform anywhere this year. Hopefully, next year will be better.

Siri: Absolutely! So, maybe we should just end this by wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season. And please, please, please, wear masks and keep your social distance, so this virus doesn’t spread any more than it has.

Google: Bah humbug!

***

I’m posting the above as part of Dr. Crystal Grimes’ holiday blogging party. Click here to learn how you can participate.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

A Holly Rockin’ Christmas #Musical Monday

Today, I’m singing a medley of two holiday songs that seem to go together. According to Wikipedia, “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” popularized by Burl Ives, was released in November of 1964 and written by Johnny Marks. It was part of the 1964 Rankin/Bass Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It was then featured in Ives’ 1965 album, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. For the first five years of the 21st century, it was one of the top 25 most-performed songs.

Wikipedia tells us that “Rockin” Around the Christmas Tree” was also written by Johnny Marks. Brenda Lee performed the song when she was only thirteen years old, and it’s featured on her album, Merry Christmas from Brenda Lee. An instrumental version was used in the same Rankin/Bass Christmas special. A fully sung version appeared in the 1999 sequel, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July. It was also used in the 1990 film, Home Alone, and featured in the 2012 Christmas episode of Regular Show.

Years ago, my women’s singing group performed a medley of “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Here’s my rendition, which slightly differs from the group’s version. I hope that despite the tragedy and uncertainly caused by COVID19, you have a holly rockin’ Christmas this year.

This post is part of Dr. Crystal Grimes’ holiday blogging party. To learn how you can participate, click here.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.