Saturday, December 7, 2013

Getting Inspired...



by Lizzie Turner from the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries
     by Erika Chase
 



I can't believe we're into December already. This year I plan to have a leisurely and pleasurable entry into the Christmas season. It's going to happen. I made a plan and I'm sticking to it.

First of all, I've worked like crazy to get ahead of upcoming assignments at work. All workshops are ready to go. I've booked appointments with parents and teachers across the next two weeks rather than bunching them all together.

At home, I started last night by baking my mama's recipe for Swedish Coffee Bread. It was always a Christmas tradition when I was young and she was able. Using a recipe handed down from her mama Beata, she let me watch, sample and then when I was old enough, actually take part in the ritual.

I went through it all last night, with the soundtrack from The Nutcracker playing on repeat. It took me a long time but by midnight, I was sampling what turns out to be my best attempt yet. I hope Mama will agree when I take some over to her this Sunday for our weekly visit.

Next on my list, is addressing Christmas cards tonight and then I'll make a list of gifts for all my friends in the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society. They're so much like family and I want to make sure I get the perfect gift for each of them. And then there's Mark Dreyfus, the police chief by day, my guy at all other times. Something special, indeed!

That's tonight's task -- making my list and checking it twice. This weekend, I start buying and wrapping so that by that final week, I'll be relaxing and enjoying. That's the plan, anyway.

Do you have a special tradition that kicks off the holiday season?


As part of Killer Character's "Season's Readings", I'll be picking a winner to receive an Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery of your choice! Please leave your email address with a comment.



Cover Story, the third in the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries 
is now available!
 Also available are Read and Buried and,
 A Killer Read,  (#2 on the Barnes and Noble Mystery Bestseller List and
an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Mystery)

Visit Erika at www.erikachase.com 
Love to hear from you on my Facebook author page and
onTwitter  @erika_chase. 



54 comments:

  1. I always write my Christmas cards after Thanksgiving dinner --- thanks for wonderful reading opportunity!
    lynn@tangledyarn.com

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    1. You're truly in the holiday spirit at that point.Thanks for the comment.

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  2. In early December I take a drive to a special candy shop where they make ribbon candy. It's an exquisite treat. I'd love to send you some-but it's so fragile, you really can't mail it-all you'd receive are candy shards!

    cozyupwithkathy at gmail dot com

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  3. I still write Christmas cards and letters (no form letters) to friends and relatives out of state. I enjoy decorating the Christmas tree and seeing all the ornaments, many of which have special meaning for me. dbahn@iw.net

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    1. No form letters -- good for you! I also love decorating the tree.

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  4. I really enjoy your books. The characters feel like friends. lkleback@hotmail.com

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    1. So wonderful to hear that! Thanks so much. They're like friends to me, too.

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  5. We don't have a special trading to kick off the holidays

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  6. Usually eating the first Mandarin Orange. Or seeing the first Christmas commercial - faves including Hershey Kisses bell choir playing We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Chia Pets and The Clapper. lauraalbert@hotmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Mandarin Oranges -- I love them. Really a sign of the holidays.

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  7. We go to my sister's for a tree trimming party.

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    1. Sounds like a lot of fun. Family and holidays! They go together.

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  8. Writing the Christmas cards. More fun to do together. It seems not to take so long.

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  9. Those all look great - I'd love to win one of the books. address is JLong at parker dot com

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  10. Watching White Christmas as I wrap gifts.

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  11. Traveling to three near-by states on Christmas day to visit with some of the kids. grammyd01 (at) Comcast (dot) net

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  12. We used to make sure our tree was up by December 11th, for one of our daughter's birthday. But this year we are living in a motel for most of this month.

    ElaineE246(at)msn(dot)com

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  13. I love to ease into the season just like you describe. Nothing before Thanksgiving because that is its own special day, but then it starts. Outside decorations up to beat the bad weather, then start using Christmas china, linens, slowing get the house decorated. Of course, classic Christmas and Hallmark movies and Christmas music playing non-stop in the background, and "White Christmas" over and over. . .plus "A Christmas Story" is a must. Would love to win any of your books. sallycootie@gmail.com

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  14. The outside lights are done first.

    littleone AT shaw DOT ca

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  15. A big cookie baking session.

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  16. I have the radio on most of the day listening to the station that plays Christmas music. Next I get out my Christmas coffee cup and odd assortment of Christmas dishes. I'm a single senior so I get to watch all the hokey (!) Christmas movies on Hallmark, Lifetime and ABC Family. Snow is here - and below zero temps - so will get out the inside decorations soon.
    Merry Christmas everyone!

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  17. All those best laid plans... They do have a tendency to go wrong. Sigh. But we do our best, don't we?
    "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley" (often paraphrased in English as "The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry")

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  18. Oh that bread looks yummy! Decorating the tree is always our holiday kick-off tradition. :) That, and watching Christmas programming on television.

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

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  19. On the day after Thanksgiving we always decorate a large wreath and hang it on the garage.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  20. Decorating the Christmas Tree after Thanksgiving is our yearly tradition. It gets us in the spirit for the holidays.
    jcalvert719@yahoo.com

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  21. On the first of December we decorate the Christmas tree & house.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  22. Well, now I want some coffee bread. My husband and I bake rum cakes at the first of December every year for friends and family. That always kicks off the season for us and puts me in the Christmas spirit.

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  23. We kick off our holiday season by taking down the Happy Birthday sign. In our family, the night before each member's birthday I hang our happy birthday sign in the kitchen so it will greet them in the morning. My younger daughter's birthday is Dec. 6 so I never put up any decorations until after her birthday so we usually take down the sign and start decorating the Saturday after her birthday.

    Jodi
    webbJM@verizon.net

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  24. I have to start my Christmas cards and get the decorations up from the basement.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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  25. We usually start with the decorating at Mama's house right after Thanksgiving, and then our own decorating with the lights put up outside too. Next the baking starts and doesn't end until Christmas day! In between; I shop for gifts, play our favorite Christmas music, watch( or record to hopefully someday get to watch) Christmas movies constantly, and bake, decorate and eat Christmas Cookies! I can never get enough of those cookies! There are always unexpected problems and delays of course, but somehow it always gets done and we still get enjoy the true meaning of Christmas through it all! I hope your Christmas wish for a more relaxed holiday comes true! :)

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  26. that coffee bread looks luscious. that bread, a nice up of coffee, and a great book....

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  27. On the day after Thanksgiving we always put up the tree and fill the shelves with all the Christmas knick knacks. My favorite part is remembering how we got each item, who gave it to us or where we bought it and why. Then we try to convince our basset hound to stay out from underneath the tree. Silly girl!

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  28. Some of my favorite mysteries are book themed. We do not have any traditions other than we put up our tree on Thanksgiving day

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  29. I usually start the Holidays by baking all kinds of cookies so that I will have a variety to put a plate together for any visitors who might drop by. JFWisherd(at)aol(dot)com

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  30. You can tell it's Christmas at our house when all the baking supplies and craft supplies start cluttering up the kitchen. Creole fruitcake and home made hot chocolate mix are family traditions.

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  31. I hit enter and then realized that I hadn't included my email address - not enough coffee this morning - bevarcher at me dot com

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  32. It's usually setting up the tree and decorating it, sometimes it's the outdoors that goes up first (depending on weather).momzillasteel at gmail dot com

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  33. Usually we start with decorating the tree, but sometimes we start with the outdoors if the weather is good. momzillasteel at gmail dot com

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