Thursday, December 3, 2015

Decorating for Christmas - and Murder?


Season's Readings! Robbie Jordan here from the Country Store Mysteries, written by Maddie Day - who's offering two holiday giveaways.

There's Birdy on a pile of our books. He loves being on the covers, and in the stories, too.

My author, Maddie Day (otherwise known as Edith Maxwell), wants to offer you an early Christmas present, or a gift for whatever holiday you celebrate. She'll send along a signed copy of Flipped for Murder to one commenter, and a special Edith Maxwell author mug to another. All you have to do is leave a comment about your favorite holiday custom or decoration at the end of this post. She'll pick a winner on Saturday, December 5, and will post the name here. Make sure you leave her some way to contact you in your comment.

And remember, every day this month through Christmas there's a giveaway from one of the Killer Characters for Season's Readings!


My gift to you is the following passage from our second book, Grilled for Murder (out at the end of May, and already available for preorder), where I decorate Pans 'N Pancakes for the holidays:

I hated feeling helpless, but I’d done all I could, so I might as well decorate. Having busy hands sometimes let puzzle-solving thoughts into my brain, too. And if ever there was a puzzle that needed to be solved, it was the question of who really killed Erica Berry Shermer. Because I knew as sure as I was a Californian that Phil didn’t. I called and left him a message on his cell, asked him to call me back. I almost said more, but disconnected. We’d talk later.

Wincing at the sight of the plywood, I dragged over the stepladder and looped the first string of lights over the front door. I’d asked at the store if I could order new glass today, but they’d said Don, the owner, had to do the ordering and he didn’t come in on Sundays.


I plugged another string into the first one and stretched it between the windows and on top of the window frames, adding more strings as I went, until I reached the end of the front wall. I knew Phil hadn’t killed Erica—didn’t I? I was as sure as I could be. He was a gentle, generous, fun-loving soul. So who was the real murderer? Erica and Tiffany had argued, but it wouldn’t make sense for Tiffany to kill someone she’d accused of stealing, not if she wanted to get her jewelry back.

I started stringing lights on the other side of the door until I got to the cookware area. That part would have to wait to be decorated until the evidence people were done with it. Max had seemed angry with Erica for taking Paula’s side. Surely not mad enough to kill her, though. Maybe the murderer was somebody in Erica’s past. Or someone who’d followed her here from Chicago. I’d ask Jim tonight if he knew anyone in Erica and Jon’s group of friends or business associates. I couldn’t remember what Jim had said his brother did for work, if he even had. Jim had spoken only once to me about his brother’s suicide. He’d said losing his twin was like losing a chunk of himself, and that he’d had no idea Jon was that despondent. Or why he would be.

I inserted the last plug for the lights into a wireless device and plugged the device into the wall. I stepped back and flipped on the switch. The sight of all the little white lights did, in fact, cheer me. I turned to the kitchen area and hung green garlands under the counter and over the door to the walk-in, adding a red bow here and there to brighten them. All I needed was a model train set running around an oval in the front window, with tiny snow covered houses and a miniature Pans ’N Pancakes in the center of town.

I wasn’t particularly religious, but I loved the Christmas season, especially here in the Midwest where the days were short and the temperatures chilly. Christmas in Santa Barbara, where I’d grown up, was a different experience altogether. Mom and I had usually taken a Christmas brunch picnic to the beach and soaked up some cool sunshine while we celebrated. Once, when I was eight, we’d come to Indiana to spend Christmas with Adele. It had snowed on Christmas Eve, and I couldn’t believe I was seeing the winter wonderland I'd only read about in books. At home the winter air smelled of orange blossoms and sea breezes. Out here? The crisp taste of apples and the sharp smell of snow were more the order of the day.

56 comments:

  1. I do love decorating the Christmas tree with all of the family. It's a very special tradition.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  2. Your picture of Birdy laying in the pile of books is just too cute! We just adopted our 3rd cat from the Humane Society a month ago. Jingles,11, is still getting used to things, but is a little sweetie. Christmas really is the most wonderful time of year and it's so hard to pick favorites. My nativity was a gift from my grandma is very special to me, but I also have many ornaments from when I was a little girl that are dear to me as well.

    Merry Christmas!
    kristin409 at comcast dot net

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  3. Decorating the Christmas tree is my favorite tradition. I love seeing all the special ornaments we've collected over the years, most of which have some special meaning or memory attached to them. dbahn@iw.net

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  4. I love my Christmas Tree but I also like to put up all my cards.

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    1. forgot my email debby236 at gmail dot com

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    2. I put up the tree and hook up the "darn Christmas lights". Then my daughter and grandson come over and decorate the tree. Everyone has there favorite ornaments. Almost 50 years worth. Merry Christmas.

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  5. Decorating the tree is my favorite tradition. dmskrug3(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  6. Eating potato pancakes.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  7. Being with all my family is my favourite tradition.
    karen(dot)kenyon(at)rogers(dot)com

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  8. I love getting out all my Christmas decorations and the memories that go with so many of them.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  9. I love all the ornaments on our Christmas tree. All have meaning, and I love remembering as we decorate. lkleback@hotmail.com

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  10. The Christmas season begins when I get out the Christmas dishes and mugs.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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  11. I love all the lights and decorations and use the Christmas dishes all through December. But the best thing is decorating the tree with ornaments we've collected over the years and putting on tinsel. It's old fashioned but reminds me of my Christmases growing up. Thanks for the great giveaway.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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  12. My favorite Christmas decoration are two ornaments that were a part of my father's Christmas tree when he was a child. One is a metal football shaped candy container and the other is a string of blue glass beads. Since my father has passed on, it always brings special memories for me. robeader53@yahoo.com

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  13. My favorite decoration is our Christmas Tree. I'm also partial to my Christmas village Starbucks store! bobandcelia@sbcgobal.net

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  14. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. As children we went to visit our grandmothers on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve my dad had to run to the store for cigarettes. The one time of year we accompanied him. When we returned, Mother was waiting outside saying we just missed Santa! If we looked up fast we could probably see him!!! Never saw him, but obviously he had been there when we went inside.

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  15. I love decorating with lots of lights and sparkling ornaments.
    Lisa H.
    hseaside5@aim.com

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  16. My favorite holiday custom is baking cookies on Christmas Eve! If I do win I would please like the mug because #1 it is awesome! And #2 I already have the book. Thank you very much for the chance and happy holidays!
    magicgirl2357@yahoo.com

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  17. We celebrate by eating latkes, applecake and playing with the dreidels. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. Baking Christmas cookies and decorating the tree.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

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  19. The best time we ever had was when my grandmother visited and we would bake up a storm, roly polys, lemon squares, brownies and shortbread cookies. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  20. The best part of the holidays is some quiet time with family.
    And eating!
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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  21. We always get an early "gift" from Santa every Christmas Eve- new pajama's to wear on Christmas Day. After Santa has brought our goodies- while still in the new pajamas- we go to my mom's for lunch and an informal get-together so we can share with everyone what Santa brought us. luvs2read4fun(at)gmail(dot)com

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  22. Putting up the Christmas tree was a fun family affair. Baking goodies and drinking cocoa!
    angelhwk68@yahoo.com

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  23. What a great array of memories and favorites! Keep 'em coming. And thanks for entering.

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  24. Getting out my Grandmothers Bubble lights and putting the Angel on the top of the tree and drinking hot chocolate...that signified Christmas was coming...Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  25. Very cleaver title. I've given my youngest family 4 generations of Christmas ornaments for the first Christmas in their own home. I'll settle for a wreath and keep my Hallmark Houses and Shops to put out with a mini tree and Hallmark mini ornaments.New tradition for me with mix emotions but they moved from my house to next door. They were so lucky to buy a house that has many memories from from people who were like grandparents to all my sons.

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  26. Love the cover of your book! Our traditions include putting the tree up in December and opening presents on Christmas Eve! Happy holidays to you and your family from California!!

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  27. My Chanukah beanie baby.

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  28. My favorite decoration is a plush bear ornament I got when I was a kid.

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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  29. I have a cat angel for the top of my tree.

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  30. I eagerly waiting for my daughter to get home tonight to decorate. Can't wait!

    ejbs3s@yahoo.com

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  31. My favorite holiday custom is watching our favorite christmas movies/shows as a family. Even though my kids don't live at home anymore, they still like to come by and watch a show with us. We all have them memorized and have our favorite parts. But watching A Christmas Story or White Christmas together is such a special treat.

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  32. My favorite Holiday custom was finding our own Christmas tree. But the problem was we live on the prairie of South Dakota. Not too many Christmas trees to be found. But my parents came up with a solution. They bought a tree in town and Dad hid it on our farm. Somewhere on our acreage. Then on a Saturday before Christmas we were told to go find it. It was great. Sometimes we found it quickly, sometimes we trudged through quite a bit of snow before we found it. But we came home with our perfect tree!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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  33. We used to leave our shoes and some carrots out for St Nicolas day. Loved that. Oh and of course Advent Calendars. Thanks for the opportunity to win a great prize. kayt18 at comcast dot net

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  34. My holiday favorite decoration is the Christmas tree.
    Thank you!
    Ohappyday69@gmail.com

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  35. thank you for the giveaway
    I love to make fudge and Christmas cookies, I make plates of them to give away. I am picturing myself with that cup, tea in it and the book, with me sitting in my favorite chair. Wish you had enough to give us each one. Georgia
    queenvictoria50@aol.com

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  36. One of my favorite things is watch all the old Christmas movies that I grew up watching with my children and now my grandchildren on the weekend. If there isn't any on then we watch the ones I record. We sit watch the movies wrapped in blankets while we have munchies foods and hot chocolate. Thank you for the giveaway. jillybeans41@gmail.com

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  37. I enjoyed the first book in this series. Can't wait for the next installment.
    My favorite Christmas decoration is a ceramic teddy bear trio dressed in Christmas attire. It was a surprise gift from a dear friend.

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  38. We live in a village in Northern CA by the sea and every year one of our local surfers dresses like Santa and surfs in the shore where they have buckets of toys waiting for the kids. Then we lite up the village Xmas tree, sing carols and have hot chocolate. Its so fun. I adore this series. Thank you for the opportunity to win! Merry Christmas to you and yours and to Maddie! seascapelife (at) gmail dot com

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  39. In addition to putting up the tree and decorating it, I also like to have the plum pudding on Christmas day with trinkets hidden inside of it and after having poured brandy on the pudding and lighting it, we all get a little piece of the pudding and hope to get the lucky trinket.
    bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

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  40. Spending time at home with my 91 year old mother. Oh, and eating Christmas Cookies

    kaye dot killgore at comcast dot net

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  41. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway. My favorite decoration was the bubble lights that we used when we were children in the 50's.
    doward1952@yahoo.com

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  42. Thanks for the opportunity. We love to put out all our Hanukkah Menorot (we have about 20) and light a different one each night. cheers@MarjimManor.com

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  43. My favorite decorations are from when I was little! A stuffed Rudolph and Clarice that now adorn my piano at the holidays! Thanks!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  44. Birdy- that is how my cats "respect" my TBR piles too.
    How did I not know Edith had this pen name? That is exciting to me and a whole new collection to begin!

    My holidays are much quieter now that I am alone, but my collection of Rudys and Rhondas keeps me company. And I pick up Yukin Cornelius figures when I can find them.

    wismomworks@gmail.com

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  45. I enjoy going to my niece's Christmas tree decorating party.
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

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  46. Making the Christmas cookies my mom always made , it brings her back for a little while :) kathambre@yahoo.com

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  47. Our is to read 'Twas A Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. We wooden characters to use with reading the story. Happy Holidays, and thank you!
    breannaherron@icloud.com

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  48. We always loved going to my grandparents house on christmas eve, now we go on new years day. utaker555@gmail.com

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  49. I like to watch Christmas movies on TV and on Christmas Eve I'll eat my turkey dinner (Stouffers).
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  50. My favorite Christmas tradition is the family working a Christmas/Winter jig-saw puzzle starting on Christmas Eve and finishing on Christmas Day. I provide the puzzle each year (my dad started this one back in the '80's) and we all have fun.

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  51. Have the first book which I loved but would like to win the mug.
    Becky Prazak
    rjprazak6@gmail.com

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  52. Decorating and Baking.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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  53. I love all my decorations! My favorite tradition is attending a candlelit christmas eve service

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