Celebrate Christmas in July #FridayFunReads #Fiction #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

Christmas Roses

By Amanda Cabot

Copyright 2012.

 

What Amazon Says

 

Celia Anderson doesn’t need anything for Christmas except a few more boarders, which are hard to come by in this small mining town. She certainly doesn’t have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a wandering carpenter finds lodging at her boarding house, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man–the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle to get roses during a harsh Wyoming winter. But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles…

Amanda Cabot invites readers to cozy up with a romantic, heartwarming tale of the greatest gift of all–love.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I was delighted to learn that the author, Amanda Cabot, will be a guest today on Writing Works Wonders. You can click here for more information about this program.

I was drawn to this book because it’s set in eastern Wyoming, where I live. It was fun to escape to a small coal-mining town in the 1880’s. Being a widow, I was attracted by Celia’s story, and I admired her determination during an age when women were compelled to marry, not necessarily for love.

One thing I didn’t appreciate was the religious overtones, which seem to be prevalent in many of this author’s books. In Christmas Roses, though, faith didn’t become an issue until about halfway through the book. By then, I cared too much about the characters and was willing to tolerate it. If you’re not into the idea of God having a plan for us and that we should trust Him, you might want to skip this book. Otherwise, it’s a sweet, romantic story that I’m sure will move you to tears of joy at the end and a great way to celebrate Christmas in July.

***

And now, I’m pleased to announce that until the end of the month, all my books can be downloaded from Smashwords ABSOLUTELY FREE as part of its summer/winter sale. You can click here to visit my author page and download these books. Happy reading!

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Website

 

 

A Worthwhile Holiday Story #FridayFunReads #BookReviews #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

An Irish Country Christmas

by Patrick Taylor

 

What Amazon Says

 

Patrick Taylor’s New York Times and USA Today bestseller, An Irish Country Christmas, celebrates the season in this third novel of his beloved series.

Barry Laverty, M.B., is looking forward to his first Christmas in the cozy village of Ballybucklebo, at least until he learns that his sweetheart, Patricia, might not be coming home for the holidays. That unhappy prospect dampens his spirits somewhat, but Barry has little time to dwell on his romantic disappointments. Christmas may be drawing nigh, but there is little peace to be found on Earth, especially for a young doctor plying his trade in the emerald hills and glens of rural Ireland.

Along with his senior partner, Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, Barry has his hands full dealing with seasonal coughs and colds, as well as the occasional medical emergency. To add to the doctors’ worries, competition arrives in the form of a patient-poaching new physician whose quackery threatens the health and well-being of the good people of Ballybucklebo. Can one territory support three hungry doctors? Barry has his doubts.

But the wintry days and nights are not without a few tidings of comfort and joy. Between their hectic medical practice, Rugby Club parties, and the kiddies’ Christmas Pageant, the two doctors still find time to play Santa Claus to a struggling single mother with a sick child and not enough money in the bank. Snow is rare in Ulster, and so are miracles, but that doesn’t mean they never happen.

 

My Thoughts

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Patrick Taylor last year when he appeared as a guest on Writing Works Wonders. I found him just as delightful as his books.

An Irish Country Christmas didn’t disappoint me. Like An Irish Country Cottage, one of the later books in the series that I read a couple of years ago, it made me long for the good old days when doctors made house calls and were readily available to answer questions and address concerns about medical conditions.

Despite the hassle of the doctors’ busy practice, the consternation caused by the new doctor’s presence and unorthodox methods, and the hardships patients faced, I found myself laughing many times while reading it. Patrick Taylor’s characters are well-developed, and the way he draws readers into his story makes this another hard book to put down.

One nice thing about this series is that you can read each book as a stand-alone because plenty of background information is given. The down side is that if you, like me, have already read An Irish Country Cottage, , you might think the endingto An Irish Country Christmas will be different. Nevertheless, it will surprise and delight you.

I know it’s Christmas Eve, and the last thing on your mind right now is reading another holiday book. But I assure you this is a worthwhile read. You can put it on your list for next year’s holiday season. Merry Christmas!

***

In case you missed my interview on local radio station KROE that took place on Monday, you can click here to listen to a recording. My actual interview starts about four minutes and 18 seconds into it. Enjoy!

Now, I have one exciting event to announce, and I hope you’ll be able to take advantage of it. Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, The Red Dress, and My Ideal Partner are now absolutely free as part of the Smashwords end-of-year sale, which will run until December 31st. You can click here for more information and to download these books.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

A Holiday Story About Reconciliation #FridayFunReads #Book Reviews #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Mountain Laurel Christmas

by Jan Sikes

 

What Amazon Says

 

Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.

Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.

It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.

It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?

 

My Thoughts

 

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a singer like Olivia Newton-John and Debbie Boon. So, I always find stories about musicians fascinating, whether they’re fictional or true. Mountain Laurel Christmas didn’t disappoint me.

In fact, I was amazed at how quickly the story moved. Some might say it moves too fast, but for me, it was just right. Instead of being left to wonder about the outcome for days, I found myself finishing the book in about an hour. Jan Sikes drew me into Cole’s story with her first words, and my attention never faltered from that moment on.

Others might say Mountain Laurel Christmas isn’t realistic. If that’s the case, so what? During these uncertain times, I don’t see the harm in escaping to a world where it’s that easy to keep a promise. This is a sweet, feel-good holiday story I recommend to everyone.

***

You’re invited to my state poetry society’s virtual open mic poetry reading on Sunday, December 12th at 5 p.m. mountain time. You can share some poetry or just listen. See below for details.

***

WyoPoets is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

 

This event is open to anyone who wants to share or listen to poetry. You
don’t have to be a member of WyoPoets, you don’t even have to be in Wyoming
to participate. So, feel free to invite your friends!

 

Please sign up to read using this Google Form:
https://forms.gle/aRFLvfXSxJn3FF5F8
The first 20 poets to sign up will get to read, additional poets will be
allowed based on time.

Topic: Poetry Night
Time: Dec 12, 2021 05:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81527317416?pwd=VDZyTENmQ1VZM2pZaWowbUovc21GUT09

Meeting ID: 815 2731 7416
Passcode: 813443
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,81527317416#,,,,*813443# US (Tacoma)
+13462487799,,81527317416#,,,,*813443# US (Houston)

Dial by your location
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 815 2731 7416
Passcode: 813443
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbpMPXDmU0

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

A Guiding Light of Hope #Six-SentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Inspiration #WritingPrompts

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Here in Sheridan, Wyoming, winter has finally arrived. Temperatures are in the 30s, and snow is on the ground. This is just what we need after weeks of little or no moisture, and it makes this holiday season more festive.

Amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and other horrible events happening in the world, let Christmas lights guide you to a place of warmth and safety. May we all be with ones we love this holiday season, even if only in spirit. I hope Susan Boyle’s song of hope warms your heart this Christmas season.

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for inspiring the above with her six-sentence prompt for this week, in which the given word is “guide.” You can click here to participate and read other bloggers’ six-sentence creations.

***

You’re invited to my state poetry society’s virtual open mic poetry reading on Sunday, December 12th at 5 p.m. mountain time. You can share some poetry or just listen. See below for details.

***

WyoPoets is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

 

This event is open to anyone who wants to share or listen to poetry. You
don’t have to be a member of WyoPoets, you don’t even have to be in Wyoming
to participate. So, feel free to invite your friends!

 

Please sign up to read using this Google Form:
https://forms.gle/aRFLvfXSxJn3FF5F8
The first 20 poets to sign up will get to read, additional poets will be
allowed based on time.

Topic: Poetry Night
Time: Dec 12, 2021 05:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81527317416?pwd=VDZyTENmQ1VZM2pZaWowbUovc21GUT09

Meeting ID: 815 2731 7416
Passcode: 813443
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,81527317416#,,,,*813443# US (Tacoma)
+13462487799,,81527317416#,,,,*813443# US (Houston)

Dial by your location
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 815 2731 7416
Passcode: 813443
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbpMPXDmU0

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

News from My Corner December 2021 #Newsletters #TuesdayTidbit #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

Dear Family and Friends,

 

In the past few years, I’ve asked my virtual assistants to write my holiday letters for me. But, as I’m sure you remember, they can be a bit biased. Last year, when all three of them, Siri, Google, and Alexa, chimed in, it almost got deadly. So, from now on, I’m taking my brother’s sage advice. If you want something done right, do it yourself.

That having been said, I’m trying something new. Fellow author and blogger Lynda Lambert composes a newsletter that she sends and posts on her blog twice a year. So, I’m going to see if this will work for me. It may not, but I always say you never know until you try.
As I’m writing this on the day after Thanksgiving, there’s no snow on the ground, only leaves. Although it’s cloudy and cold, there’s nothing to indicate that winter and Christmas are on the way.

Although I’m glad not to have to deal with winter weather, it would be nice to have a little snow tonight for Sheridan’s annual Christmas stroll, where my singing group, Just Harmony, will perform. We’ll be singing indoors at a local thrift store, and a little of the white stuff on the ground would surely put people in a holiday shopping mood. Meanwhile, I’ve asked Alexa to play the holiday standards station from Tune-In Radio, and that seems to be putting me in the holiday letter-writing mood.

Thanks to COVID, I haven’t done much traveling this past year. I’d love to fly to Florida and spend Christmas with my brother and his family, but although I’m fully vaccinated, I’m concerned about picking up the virus in an airport or on a plane and passing it on to someone more vulnerable. Now that another variant of the virus has been reported in South Africa and other locations, I know I made the right decision to stay home.

Although I miss my family and love being with them, it’s not worth it if I’m risking making someone sick. I’ll probably eat Christmas dinner at the senior center. I had a nice Thanksgiving meal there yesterday.

Last April, I attended the WyoPoets annual workshop in Gillette, about a hundred miles south and east of Sheridan. I had submitted a poem for critique, and to my surprise and delight, the presenter read my poem during the workshop and offered her comments. Sadly, most of the day was spent reading and discussing other poems, including mine. I would have liked to  have done more writing during the workshop. But it was still fun reconnecting with other poets I hadn’t seen in over a year.

In June, I attended the National Federation of State Poetry Societies virtual conference, which featured workshops, open mic readings, and other activities. I wrote a couple more poems as a result of those workshops.

In July, my brother and his wife came and stayed for a few days. They’d been traveling across the country, visiting friends and relatives, and Sheridan was their last stop before they headed home to Florida. While they were here, we attended the rodeo parade and my class reunion and gathered with other family members for a celebration of life for an uncle who had passed away the previous winter. We had a wonderful time, and I’m hoping to get down to Florida to see them sometime next year.

All throughout the spring and summer, I was working on my new novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me. It was finally released the first week in October. Unfortunately, not realizing how soon it would be published, I signed up for a virtual memoir writing class that started at the end of September and ran until the first of November. So, between that and my blog and other obligations, I had little time to promote the book until this month. As for the memoir writing class, I now have a few more creative nonfiction pieces I can submit for publication later.

Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me is a novel about a grandmother with dementia who lives in a nursing home and tells her teenaged granddaughter a secret. The girl, not knowing what else to do, tells her parents she knows this secret. In the course of the book, which starts Halloween and ends at Christmas, the family is dealing with the situation. You can read a synopsis, reviews, and find ordering links on my website at:  https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com I’ll be signing copies of the book at Sheridan Stationery Books and Gifts on September 4th from one to three p.m. and have scheduled a radio interview on station KROE AM on December 20th at 9:10 a.m.

Last year, senior facilities where I’d been entertaining, that had been on lock-down due to the coronavirus pandemic, started opening up. I now do two gigs a month, one at a nursing home and the other at an assisted living facility. Our local senior center does lunchtime livestreams now in their dining room. I’ll be performing for one of those on December 23rd, and the event will be broadcast live on Facebook. I recently started participating in karaoke online through Zoom and in person at a local bar and grill.

Just Harmony has also started performing again. In September, we sang for a state Red Hats convention. Besides our performance during tonight’s Christmas stroll, we’ll be singing at a Mormon church service, an assisted living facility, a historical museum’s holiday open house, and for a local women’s club’s Christmas party.

I leave you now with a poem I wrote several years ago and revised recently for one of my writers’ critique groups.

 

 

 

 

 

MOTHER’S COOKING

 

 

 

I loved Mother’s meatloaf, steak San Marco, calico beans.

During meals, she often said,

“It’s too dry, too salty,

needs more pepper, should have been cooked longer.”

 

When I was an adult, she mashed potatoes for the first time:

boiled, peeled, sliced them,

added milk and butter, then attacked them with an electric mixer.

They turned out chunky but still tasted good.

 

On Christmas Day, with family and friends gathered at the table,

she berated herself for allowing

bits of potato to evade the whirring beaters.

I said I liked the potatoes, asked for a second helping.

As she scooped another delicious mound on my plate, she said,

“Well, you’re used to college cafeteria food.”

 

 

I hope your holiday season is as memorable as the year my mother made mashed potatoes for the first time, and I wish you all the best in the coming year.

 

With Love and Friendship,

Abbie

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website