Writer's moments

When Christmas Goes Wrong with Guest Leigh Riker

Today, I’m delighted to welcome author Leigh Riker, whose novella is a part of the new HEARTWARMING HOLIDAY WISHES anthology–a trip back to Christmas Town, Maine. An Award-winning, USA Today best-selling author, Leigh was eight years old when she got the best Christmas present ever—a typewriter from Santa. She later began her career by publishing short stories. But with her first novel, she truly found her fictional “home,” and many books later her passion for writing—and romance—is as strong as ever. She lives in the Southeast where she is (of course) working on a new novel. On her computer. Please visit her website: http://www.leighriker.com or find her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leighrikerauthor

Take it away, Leigh . . .

Thanks, Nan! If you’re like me, I’m sure not every holiday comes off exactly as you planned. There are years when everyone in the house is sick on Christmas Eve, the presents you ordered online don’t arrive in time for the little ones, or the weather closes in and a blizzard keeps your family from traveling to see relatives.

One Christmas when my firstborn son was two years old, we flew from Kansas where my husband was in school to see his parents in New York. But while enjoying a couples afternoon in the city while the grandparents babysat, I was suddenly taken ill. I could barely walk ten steps without having to sit down and rest. The Hong Kong flu had hit me hard—and one by one, the entire family too. Only my mother-in-law escaped, and she fast became our nurse-in-residence (bless her), dispensing tissues and hot soup and cheer while the rest of us sprawled in the living room to play Jeopardy (the board game). A surprisingly spirited match, considering our ailments. We actually managed to have a good time. And that’s still one of the family stories we all like to tell.

By the time my second son was born, we were living in upstate New York. Snow?! Oh, yeah. One winter we had over a hundred inches of the white stuff. At Thanksgiving we decided to get out of there—and head for Manhattan again (ha). That is, until our car slid off the road and plowed into a snowdrift and, soon after, the police closed the highway. I was briefly a mommy basket case, though we were unharmed. We got the last motel room at the nearest exit where a group camaraderie had set in, and our five-year-old and the baby became the centers of attention in the restaurant during a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. That became one of my best memories too—and still is.

Oh, and one more from the year before that. With my husband in grad school then, we had little money to spare. On Christmas Eve it was, of course, snowing. Those heavy flakes looked pretty but they made the roads treacherous, and I hadn’t gotten all the shopping done. Our then-four year old wasn’t going to get his presents! Thank goodness, hubby (my real-life hero) braved the storm, found the only store that was still open—and cleaned out our meager bank account to buy our little boy’s Santa gifts. A bright yellow Tonka dump truck became his favorite and he had Christmas after all.

Funny, isn’t it, how the very things that throw a monkey wrench in the plans can turn out to be the most memorable. How did you cope with your Christmas gone wrong?

I hope this Christmas is merry and bright. And to help celebrate this year, why not pick up a copy of the 2017 Christmas Town, Maine anthology, Heartwarming Holiday Wishes? Ten novellas by ten authors to get you in the mood.