Miss Frankie and Jacklyn are giving away two copies of The Cakes of Monte Cristo as part of the Killer Characters Seasons Readings giveaway. Comment on this post before midnight CST tomorrow (Dec 15th) for your chance to win. Winners will be announced on Dec. 16th. (Open to U.S. mailing addresses only.)
I'll Have a Blue Christmas
by Frances Mae Renier (aka Miss Frankie)
from the Piece of Cake Mystery Series
by Jacklyn Brady
Well, here we go again. It's the holiday season--my second without my only son, Philippe.
It's still hard to say the words out loud. I still expect him to come through the door carrying an armful of gifts or to find him in the kitchen stirring up some interesting new dish. That boy certainly did know his way around food, and I was always a willing guinea pig, eager to try anything new he decided to try.
I must say that this year isn't as difficult as last, but it's still hard to face the festivities without him. I know I'm not the only person struggling to get back on my feet after experiencing a loss and honey if you're in the same boat, I'm here to give you a big, old Southern hug to help you through.
Last year, Rita and I did our best to shut out the world and just pretend nothing unusual was happening. It didn't work, so this year I've decided to jump in with both feet and do what Philippe would have wanted me to do. If he'd been here, he would have thrown together a huge meal and invited everyone he knew to eat with us, so I've decided to host the family dinner this year.
Just thinking about it makes me feel good inside, knowing it's what he would want. It's a huge job, but I think it's just what I need to keep me busy and my mind occupied. I've enlisted my cousin Pearl Lee to help so I don't get overwhelmed by it all.
Oh, I know what you're thinking. Pearl Lee is nothing but trouble. With her at my side, things are sure to go wrong. And, sugar, you're probably right. Pearl Lee means well--most of the time. She's full of ideas, but she lacks a bit when it comes to follow-through. Still, she doesn't mean to cause trouble, bless her heart. And she does keep things interesting.
Staying busy is important, I've decided. Doing something for someone else should help keep my mind from dwelling on what's missing. That's what they tell me, anyway. Let's hope they're right.
I've been given lots of advice from friends and relatives about ways to get through the holidays when you're feeling alone--everything from staying busy to keeping a gratitude journal to binge-watching favorite TV shows. I didn't know until recently that some churches even offer Blue Christmas services at this time of year. Some of them are held on the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice, and they're designed especially to help those who are struggling.
Maybe everyone struggles a bit during the holidays. My friend and neighbor, Bernice, sometimes slips into the doldrums at this time of year. She has a big, loving family, but she doesn't have any children of her own and that sometimes gets her down.
I think I'll ask Bernice to help Pearl Lee and me plan the family get-together. Having Bernice around is sure to make me feel better, and it's bound to help her too. And, as an added benefit, it might even keep Pearl Lee in check. Then again, maybe not. Just between you and me, Bernice has been known to kick up her heels from time to time. Maybe pairing her with Pearl Lee isn't the best idea I've ever had.
Y'all, if you're the praying kind, please keep me in mind this month. I just might be biting off more than I can chew.
Jacklyn Brady lives on the Gulf Coast and writes the Piece of Cake Mystery series which is set in New Orleans and features cake artist and trained pastry chef, Rita Lucero.
The Cakes of Monte Cristo, 6th in the Piece of Cake Mystery Series, is scheduled for release Jan 5, 2016, and available now for pre-order.
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