What more do you want for Christmas than lots of great books to read

There’s just something about the season, the cold weather, the snow, the romance—it just makes you want to curl up with a great book. So don’t miss this book giveaway!

You could win more than 70 romantic reads for Christmas, including my holiday-themed, Hawaii Crime mystery, Palm Trees & Snowflakes in BookSweeps holiday romance sweepstakes.

It’s free, it’s fun and it’ll load up your e-book reader with tons of reading—enough to get you to Valentine’s Day, at least.

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas, readers! Best of the season to you all. And happy Kwanzaa, best of the Zarathosht Diso, as well as belated happy Yule, Bodhi Day and Hannukah.

Those who’ve ready this blog know my inclusive attitude toward holiday greetings: we should all celebrate all of them. (More holidays, more food, more festivities — who can argue with that?) And I will not be offended if anyone wishes me a Happy Eid, Passover or Makar Sankranti.
You may not know this, but I’m French-Canadian. One French-Canadian tradition — so traditional that my family wasn’t doing it anymore by the time I was born — is exchanging presents on Christmas Eve. 
My seasonal gift to all of you is a story about Christmas, set in the long-ago time of 1991 — when cell phones were rarities, gasoline was 40 cents a litre and times were no simpler, no easier than they are today. Below is a sample of the story. The full text is in the tab, “Christmas 1991” at the top of the page.


My Christmas Story for 1991


By Scott Bury

Snow spun, spiraled, swirled downward, slowly covering the lawns and avenues, the roofs and pathways of a suburb. In the morning, commuters would curse as they dug their cars out of the drifts and banks, brushed it off their hoods and headlights, then clutch their steering wheels white-knuckled as they slid to work.

But tonight, tonight all was quiet. All the houses were dark. All except one — one window was lit, the curtains flung aside, the light streaming out, illuminating the falling snow as it flickered past the window pane.

Through the window could be seen the head of one man, hard at work: leaning forward, shoulders and back bent over a slanted table. The head was handsome, seen in profile, if tending toward the corpulent. The forward tilt pushed out the beginnings of a double chin. The hair was dark, the nose long and straight, the mouth full and sensitive. 

His name was Andrew, and he was a draftsman. His job was to make an architect’s drawings and an engineer’s proofs into final drawings for the construction crews. Andrew was good at his job, and knew it.

Around him was the darkness and stillness of a sleeping house. If he had listened, had paid attention to the world around him at that moment, he would have heard the small sounds of the night: the intermittent click and hum of the furnace, the rattling of the windows in the winter wind, the rustling from the bed in the room next door as his wife, Lana, turned over, the faint sighing of his five-year-old daughter, Marla, in the other bedroom.

But Andrew was concentrating. He had a deadline to meet on this project, a complete set of plans for a power building at a factory. It was still a week away, counting the day whose morning he was working through, but there was a lot of work to do yet.

Stop the Xmas music!

Stop with the phoney, cheesy Christmas music, already!

It’s barely November, not even Remembrance Day/Memorial Day yet, and already the stores are playing awful, tinny “XMas” tunes in an effort to make me buy junk.

I can understand that retailers are trying to encourage people to buy early. From what I understand, the average retailer that starts its fiscal year on January 1 doesn’t see any profit before the Christmas shopping season starts, and in the current economic climate, I’d be anxious to start that season early, too.

But please, have mercy on my ears and sanity! There is a limited list of tunes played on the PA systems, and I can only tolerate so many renditions of “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland” and “Sleigh Ride” and “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” before I lose it.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Christmas and I like real Christmas carols. But political correctness demands that no one play religious music in a mall or store. So that limits the playlist even more. Don’t forget, repeating the same sound or word over and over is sometimes used as a form of torture.

So please, retailers, have mercy and wait until December before piping the XMas tunes in all your stores – or I just may not buy anything!

Agree? Don’t? Let me know.