Monday, December 14, 2015

I'll Have a Blue Christmas



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.) 

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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. 

Who knew?

Maybe I should have known. Even when Philippe was alive, I sometimes had my blue moments during the holiday season what with the hectic schedule and family issues. There's one person in every family who makes things difficult, isn't there? Sometimes more than one. 

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. 

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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.

Jacklyn loves to hear from readers. 
Connect with her on the web: 



103 comments:

  1. I hope Frances gets through the holiday. I haven't read any of the books in this series yet, but from what I have seen here it looks great. Thanks for the chance to win!
    magicgirl2357@yahoo.com

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  2. I hope the holidays become a more joyous time. I am looking forward to checking out the Piece of Cake Mystery Series (sounds like a great series).
    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. Going through a major holiday without a loved one is very difficult. I hope Miss Frankie can get together with some friends or relatives to make her holiday less blue. Looking forward to reading this new to me series. dbahn@iw.net

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  4. This Christmas will be tough fo us as we lost my sister in May.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss, Debby. The first one is always the hardest. Warm, healing thoughts coming your way.

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  5. Celebrating the holidays without a cherished loved one is difficult, so it becomes even more important to appreciate those family members and friends one is lucky enough still to have near!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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    1. That's so true. I've noticed that other relationships tend to swell a bit -- not that they ever fill the void, but they take away some of the sharp edges.

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  6. Holidays can be difficult. I'm enjoying this series.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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    1. Yes they can. So glad you're enjoying the books!

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  7. I know all too well the difficulties of celebrating the holiday without a loved one. This will be the first Christmas without my beloved sister who passed in April.
    Becky Prazak
    rjprazak6@gmail.com

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    1. I'm so sorry, Becky. I remember when your sister passed and I'm sending warm, healing thoughts your way.

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  8. I'm glad you're celebrating like Philippe would have done. Merry Christmas.annelovell12@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks, Anne! Merry Christmas to you too.

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  9. The holidays can indeed be hard. My grandmother died right before Christmas when I was 13. Thank you so much for the giveaway. Dmskrug3(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. When you lose someone close to a holiday, that memory is always there. My granddad died in early December, and my cousins sang "Blue Christmas" at his funeral. For years it was hard for me to listen to that song until my granddaughter said she loved the song because blue is such a pretty color. The painful memory is still there, but it's softened a bit by the cuteness.

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  10. It was nice to get this snippet from Miss Frankie's POV. I'd like a little more of her in the full length books.

    acm05atjuno.com

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    1. Thanks, Anne! I'll keep that in mind :)

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  11. I'd love to come to your dinner party! It sounds lovely... and challenging! lkleback@hotmail.com

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    1. LOL. I'm sure it will be lovely, and equally sure it will be challenging :) Thanks!

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  13. I love this series. New Orleans is such a neat town. Thanks for the chance! dr(dot)oldsmobile(at)icloud(dot)com

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    1. Thanks Jennie! I'm glad you're enjoying the books!

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  14. Oh Miss Frankie, the holidays can be hard. This time of year makes loss so much worse.

    Can't wait to read the next book in this series. It is one of my favorites!

    jeosmond@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks so much Jilzee! I'm so glad you're enjoying the series.

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  15. I understand the holiday blues. Some years just aren't easy, but surrounding yourself with friends is so helpful. Really enjoy this series, can't wait to read this one! bg9246@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks Bev! This book has been a long time coming, but not much longer now.

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  16. What a delightful and special series and giveaway. Thanks for this great feature. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Holidays are a rough time for me as well. I try to be creative. Lovely series. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I think being creative is a great way to combat the holiday blues. And thank you so much for the kind comment.

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  19. I appreciate your words about the holiday blues. Hugs to everyone who is having a rough time this time of year. lmmeidam@gmail.com

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  20. I hadn't heard about the idea of a "blue Christmas", but it makes good sense. There is so much pressure to have the holidays be "perfect". Who can hope to live up to it? And if you throw in some personal challenges, so much the harder.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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    1. Thanks Libby! Yes, there is a lot of pressure to have the perfect holiday. Even without an added personal challenge, this time of year can be tough!

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  21. Living so close to New Orleans, I love this series.
    agavigan@cox.net

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    1. Thank you Annette! That means a lot to me.

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  22. I've had a few blue Christmases, too---and just listening to Elvis Presley's song Blue Christmas can bring them all back.
    Thanks for the contest.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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    1. Agreed. It's a great song -- but boy! can it bring on the emotions.

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  23. Would really enjoy reading this book. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

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  24. I just love this series and I am looking forward to reading The Cakes of Monte Crisco. I can certainly understand what Miss Frankie is going through. I lost my father last month. It is hard to enjoy a holiday without a loved one. Things are just not the same. I hope Miss Frankie has a better holiday this year. Happy Holidays to everyone at Killer Characters! Doodlesink@hotmail.com

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    1. Oh, Kristina, I'm so sorry for your loss. I remember how it was after my dad died. I'd never known a world without him in it, and it was hard to find my footing again. Wishing you peace and strength as you go through the year ahead.

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  25. Thanks for introducing me to another great author and book series!
    Holidays are suppose to be a wonderful gathering with family and friends, but Mr. Rockwell never popped by my house for the holidays. There's always "drama." Some years we just called, and left each other to their own devices, and other times we "buried all hatchets" in the backyard, and enjoyed a wonderful day of dining, watching football, gift giving, caroling, and venturing out for a visit to see other people and decorations. Now, we all live on opposite coasts, so only one niece pops by for Christmas morning festivities and after-Christmas pedicures. Small celebrations are more my style. kat8762@aol.com

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    1. I can relate Kathleen! Had a significant other several years ago whose family was all drama all the time. Those holidays were almost always difficult -- with just enough good stuff thrown in to make them try again the next year. Hope your holidays are peaceful this year!

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  26. I haven't read this Author yet so thank you for introducing me. Sounds great and I would love to enter...the holidays always seem to be a mix don't they...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks, Marilyn. Yes the holidays are such a mix, and most of the time we remain hopeful, don't we?

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  27. Looking forward to the new release!
    cjreynolds52(at)comcast(dot)net

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  28. It's good to remember that not everyone is happy every day this month, many struggle with a lot of emotions this time of year.
    Thanks for the chance to win.
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. It's true, and it's really been on my heart this year. I'm trying to look into the eyes of the people I meet so I don't just get wrapped up in my own stuff!

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  29. I remember how hard the first Christmas was without my precious daddy. That was 12 years ago and every Cheistmas day is difficult. Oh how i miss hiss completely enveloping hugs that left me feeling completely safe and dearly loved! But now I rest in the truth that he is in heaven looking down on his children and his grandchildren and smiling! I know he is tajing great pleasure in watching his beautiful great grandchildren, who he never met on this earth, bring such happiness to his children and grandchildren!
    Thank you for the opportunity to win this book! This is definitely a series i'll put on my precious mama's kindle! She spent 50 years in ministry with my daddy and at 88 loves to serve others and read cozy mysteries!! She goes through 2 a week! Can't wait for ger and I to start this series! Thank you! Susan.
    Pucsbride13@gmail.com

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    1. I can relate, Susan. I was helping at a food pantry the other day and turned to ask if any of the men there had a pocket knife and memories of my dad swamped me right then and there. He always had his little pocket knife to help open those difficult presents on Christmas Day. It's good to know they're not *really* gone, isn't it? Hugs to your mama!

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  30. I remember how hard the first Christmas was without my precious daddy. That was 12 years ago and every Cheistmas day is difficult. Oh how i miss hiss completely enveloping hugs that left me feeling completely safe and dearly loved! But now I rest in the truth that he is in heaven looking down on his children and his grandchildren and smiling! I know he is tajing great pleasure in watching his beautiful great grandchildren, who he never met on this earth, bring such happiness to his children and grandchildren!
    Thank you for the opportunity to win this book! This is definitely a series i'll put on my precious mama's kindle! She spent 50 years in ministry with my daddy and at 88 loves to serve others and read cozy mysteries!! She goes through 2 a week! Can't wait for ger and I to start this series! Thank you! Susan.
    Pucsbride13@gmail.com

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  31. Memories can be bittersweet at this time of year. I have special decorations that remind me of my mom and my daughter and while I always feel a little sad, I also love seeing them displayed through the holiday season. Thanks for the giveaway.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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    1. I'm sure those ornaments are a treasure, Grandma Cootie. I'm so glad you have them!

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  32. Miss Frankie, I am certainly sending positive vibes your way, along with a few prayers; I think you're going to need them! This are a bit rough for me this year as I have an ailing cat. Aleister's been with me for 17 years and he is very sick right now-he may not make it to Christmas. But with love, hope, and prayers...perhaps he can turn it around!

    I need to catch up on your wonderful series. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm a bit behind!

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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    1. Oh, Kat, I'm so sorry to hear about Aleister! I sincerely hope he can turn around and stay with you a while longer. Please don't feel "ashamed" for being behind on the series. If you only knew how far behind I am on my TBR pile!!! I just read a book that I bought 20 years ago ... for the first time! I've lugged that book through I don't know how many moves. You can't be any farther behind than me :)

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    2. lol, no not quite that far behind...at least in your series!

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  33. I have not read this series but it looks so cute. Great location and recipes included. Can't wait to read the series.
    This really is a hard time of year for many people. I hope that if we don't have family to be with that we can find good friends to celebrate with or to just hang out with. Volunteer to help a family or person that has less than you. Sometimes just being with and listening is worth more than presents.
    scarletbegonia5858@gmail.com

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    1. I agree, Cupcake! The presents are just the icing on the cake! The real joy of the season is being with friends and family or in doing something to help someone else.

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  34. I have one of the books but haven't read it. I like the title of the latest one.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  35. Sounds really good!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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  36. Congratulations on your upcoming release Jacklyn! Merry Christmas!
    sxygrndma48{at}yahoo{dot}com

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    1. Thanks so much. Merry Christmas to you too!

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  37. I enjoy Jacklyn's works! Glad to see a new one.
    the3beersus@yahoo.com

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  38. The name of the book reminds me of Elvis' song "I'll Have A Blue Christmas". I would love this giveaway. Thank You, Georgia.
    queenvictoria50@aol.com

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  39. Even without the loss of a loved one, holidays carry enough stress to handle. However keeping busy is one way to keep the mind focused on what is planned and not what isn't there. Good luck on the holiday plans and wishes for a holiday that isn't blue. robeader53@yahoo.com

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  40. Holidays can be rough! Thanks for the chance to win!! Happy holidays!!

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  41. Hugs to Miss Frankie. I love this series

    kaye dot killgore at comcast dot net

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  42. I have just started reading this series and can't wait to read more. Thanks for the giveaway.
    doward1952@yahoo.com

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  43. I will keep you in my prayers. I get blue at the holidays also from missing loved ones, but I know they will always be with me in my heart. God bless you all, and wishing you peace.

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  44. We all bite off more than we can chew at this time of year. This looks really fun.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

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  45. Holidays can be challenging -- sometimes it's a matter of one foot in front of the other to get through. cheers@marjimmanor.com

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  46. If only I could read this!!!Sounds fabulous don't bother with holidays at all. My family is dead and friends are to self involved. seascapelife at (Gmail) dot com

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    1. Thank you, Lexie. It seems to me that people are getting more self-involved all the time. Relationships just get harder as a result.

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  47. Happy Holidays. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom.

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  48. I'd love to win a copy of The Cakes of Monte Cristo - what an intriguing title! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  49. Yes Christmas holiday can be depressing and sad for the lonely people and those that are having their first holiday without a loved one. I lost my younger brother just a few months ago and it is hard not being able to have him there. : ( Thanks for the chance to win this book . Would love to win and share with friends

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    1. Oh, Ann, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Wishing you peace and strength as you go through the next few months. The first year is the hardest.

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  50. This sounds like a wonderful series! Thanks for the chance to win! luvs2read4fun(at)gmail(dot)com

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  51. Can't wait to read this. Thanks for a chance to win.
    babemomara@att.net

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  52. Leslie:
    Cake? Sign me up.
    leslieannstevenson@yahoo.com

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