I miss smiles…

Last night, my small family sat around the table after dinner to toast in the New Year. We all gave our goals for 2021. They laughed when I said mine was to see people’s faces again. I couldn’t explain then, so I thought about it, and it came to me why this mattered.

I was walking with my puppy the other day, and we approached an older couple who always stop to make a fuss over the dog. They’re the sweetest pair who I’d say are in their 80’s. I can see it’s hard for the old fellow, who’s slightly plump, to bend over to pet my frisky little toy American Eskimo, yet he doesn’t hesitate.

His wife baby-talks to her, and they are clearly happy to be with a mischievous fluffball who’s so obviously filled with joy at their attention. This breed actually smile, and their little eyes light up. One can feel their love.

I notice myself in a similar way, grinning like a fool and filled with affection for these two. Maintaining a safe distance, they look up at me and wish me a good day, Glee oozes off them as they beam… and I return their smile, letting them see how happy they make me. Their smiles fill me, and my step is lighter.

Unfortunately, it’s not the same in every situation. Walking through the aisles in the store where one would automatically grin at a stranger who spoke for any reason is not the same. The smile is there but it’s covered. Same thing when the clerk gives one a little extra attention, just a joking comment or even have a good day is enough. I look at them, and all I see are their eyes that don’t meet mine for any longer than a few seconds. It used to be the smile that would be shared to let you know how the other person felt. Staring always seemed rather rude and most shied away from connecting like that.

My goodness, I can’t even begin to imagine how many times in a busy day one would use a smile with strangers because it seemed to be the right thing to do… especially if one caught your eye.

I find myself still smiling, but the mask covers the expression, and I know I’m not making the same connection. It’s sad. I miss those sweet glances more than I thought possible.

I can’t wait until we’re safe again, and we can finally let a stranger, or a friend know by the look on our face that they matter.  

Hugs,

Mimi

Will it be a… Merry Christmas?

It’s hard not to question whether we should be focusing on this holiday when we see such doom and gloom on TV. Or hear it on the radio. Even from friends who know people… or are people who’ve been sick themselves, or who’ve lost loved ones.

But… we must remember why the day itself is special. For instance, it’s a precious day in the church, the day that Jesus was born. Do you remember singing carols like Away in the Manger as a child and experiencing the glory of the birth of Christ? I do.

Of course, as a child, the most important symbol for Christmas was Santa Claus. I knew there was a bearded spirit who loved every child enough to bring them a gift. Today, I know that he’s just the symbol for us adults who do his deeds. Thank goodness we keep his existence alive for our children to experience the joy of the day that meant so much to us… engraving a memory in their hearts so they can look back as adults.

It’s the joy we need to remember and try to rekindle. Even if we spend the 25th quietly, we must remember to celebrate the day itself. Lord, I can’t bear to think of those who will be isolated… so if every one of us takes a few moments out of the day to send blessings from our hearts to someone we love, pick up the phone and make a call to that person you know will be alone, maybe by thinking of others who have an empty home, we’ll feel better about where we are ourselves.

From my home to yours,

I wish you all a Merry Christmas & a New Year that gets better every day.

Hugs,

Christmas photos that make me smile!!

Mimi

Thank you from the Ladies at the Billboard!

I wanted to take this time to thank our 18 Author Billboard ladies who posted the previous segments about the books they submitted to the Dear Santa 2020 Christmas box collection. They all wrote about why they created their particular stories, and each and every one of them was heartfelt and lovely.

More importantly, I also wanted to thank those of you who took the time to read our blogs posts and support us.

So you’re aware – we truly appreciate every one of you and love that you’ve stuck with us through these emotional times we’re going through.

It’s been a super goal of ours to produce the best stories we can to entertain you for the season and give you many moments of holiday spirit.

Therefore, I wanted to let you know that with your help, our box set is now a #1 BESTSELLER in many categories.

I took a copy from the Amazon.com page to show you how well we’re performing… I just had to. (hopefully, tomorrow we’ll see the rank even closer to #1)

Best Sellers Rank: #395 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)

#1 in World Literature Short Stories

#1 in Stepparenting & Blended Families

#1 in Adoption (Kindle Store)

Because the USA Today folks count the numbers from all the venues and expect a certain percentage to come from other retailers beside Amazon, I’m hoping that people will buy on those places as well.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the wonderful video our member, Nancy Radke, set up on UTube for us, I’ve added it here.

Mimi XOXO

Dear Santa – Alone at Christmas

Hi There – It’s nice to visit every so often. I like to update you on what our members of The Authors’ Billboard are working on – especially during this season.

We love having you as followers, and as a group of authors, we always want to provide you with the best entertainment possible, and at the best price.

Therefore, a bunch of us – 18 to be exact – have gotten together and brainstormed a new collection called “Dear Santa – a Christmas Wish“. After discussing how we can satisfy a single niche during this special season, we decided that there were a lot of subjects we could use, Christmas babies, or puppies, or a second chance at love. Goodness, there were just so many paths to take. But one of our lovely ladies suggested we do it all and use Christmas wishes as our strategy. Wow – that resonated with everyone and so Dear Santa began to take shape.

Now… it’s ready for your holiday reading – Only 99 cents!

Purchase places:

AMAZON.COM, AMAZON.CA, AMAZON.UK, AMAZON.AU, APPLE, KOBO, B&N,

GOOGLE PLAY

***As most authors know, USA Today folks will calculate a percentage of sales from each store where it’s available, and so we hope to interest those of you who can buy from venues other than Amazon.

Purchase Places:

AMAZON.COM, AMAZON.CA, AMAZON.UK, AMAZON.AU, KOBO, B&N

***Amazon has promised Book Bites 13 will be free asap! I’m hoping it’s free now, but if not, please check back. Just so you know, I’ve written them again and begged! :->

We also organized a freebie called “Book Bites 13 – Dear Santa” and will be showing that as often as possible, especially in our weekly newsletters. This set has a collection of the first chapters of each of the 18 books and is a glimpse into what you will be receiving when you purchase the complete collection – Dear Santa – A Christmas Wish.

Because we’re so excited about this new collection and have challenged ourselves to take it as far as the USA Today list, of course with your help, we’ve decided to bring you a new post every day starting today. Each post will highlight one of the 18 brand new stories inside this wonderful cover.

I opted to be first…

My story is called “Alone at Christmas”.

I came up with this idea a long time ago when I was quite young and travelling to visit my folks for Thanksgiving. I met a chatty young woman on the bus who had no place to be that holiday. She was old enough to leave her family and was setting out to return to a small town a half day’s travel from where I was getting off. She’d chosen to go there because it was where her family had vacationed during earlier happy years, and she remembered it fondly. Having no place of her own, she’d decided to make a new life for herself in this strangely familiar setting, get a job, build a future, and try to be happy.

At one point, she left the bus to stretch her legs and her wallet had fallen from her purse. I spotted it and returned it as soon as she re-entered. Her expression made me understand that without that wallet, she would have been destitute. I warned her to be more vigilant, and she promised she would keep the strap around her neck at all times, and the purse zipped up.

Poor little auburn-haired beauty, so determined to make good, be strong and find her way. I would have scooped her up and brought her with me if I could have. I often wondered what had happened to her.

When it came time to write this story, she popped into my head, and I realized that if I were her, my wish from Santa that year would have been to find a special someone… so I wasn’t alone.

Tara overcomes her fears of being alone at Christmas by taking a bus trip to Carlton Grove where she once experienced happiness amongst kind people. Losing her purse during the trip results in her being stranded on the snow-filled streets. When the whines of a trapped puppy entice her to enter a dark, derelict house, she stumbles upon a stranger wounded and unable to move. Doing everything in her power to help them both, she strives to keep them warm during the vicious storm raging against the dilapidated building.

Once Ollie rouses, he finds the girl of his dreams doing everything she can to rescue him from the freezing elements. Being a firefighter, he’s usually the savior in these dire situations. Mind you, he’ll have a chance when she becomes injured in a freak accident. Will he have gained enough strength to save her when she needs him the most?