Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sharing the Joy: Weekend Crafting


Two simple crafts for a lazy holiday weekend. I'm definitely considering making the second one myself!

Word Christmas Ornaments

Simple and easy! Create a message to hang on your tree, mantel or window. Choose chipboard letters that spell a word or message. Coat with glue and glitter, then string on hemp twine.

Paper-Stuffed Christmas Ornament

A clear ornament ball stuffed with cut up pages from an old book and sheet music adds a handmade accent to any bibliophile's Christmas tree. 

Source for the above crafts HERE

Always in spirit....

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sharing the Joy: Melissa Ann Goodwin talks about her books, The Christmas Village and Return to Canterbury {plus Giveaway}


Michelle was kind enough to invite me to visit as part of the Sharing the Joy event – so thank you so much, Michelle. I’ve been a guest here before, when my first book, The Christmas Village launched in 2011. Well, I’ve written a sequel called, Return to Canterbury, which will be released (knocking wood and crossing fingers, toes and eyes) by mid-December.

Both books are set against the backdrop of holidays. In The Christmas Village, it’s Christmas of course, and in Return to Canterbury, it’s the Fourth of July.

Why did I do that? Well, it was always a given for me that I’d write a book that takes place at Christmas because I have such vivid memories of childhood Christmases growing up in New England. In my mind, those holidays are preserved like Currier and Ives images, complete with snow-covered ground, fresh cut greens on the mantel, carolers at the door, wood fires in the hearth and candles in the window. Those memories create in me such a longing for days gone by and for a return to the innocence and magic of it all. Using Christmas as a backdrop for my story adds an emotional tug that makes our young hero Jamie’s adventure more intense and his longing for home more heart-wrenching. Wanting to be home for Christmas is what The Christmas Village is all about.

At first I didn’t want to write a sequel to The Christmas Village. After a while though, and with much prodding from my readers, I decided that I too, wanted to visit with our characters and the town of Canterbury again. But I didn’t want to repeat myself by setting the next story at Christmas.

Today you’re among the first to read the story summary for Return to Canterbury.

First time cover reveal!!!

Here it is:

Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud still hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing for almost a year.

Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!

So why did I choose the Fourth of July as the setting for Return to Canterbury? Because I also have fond memories of summer events in my town, like our Sidewalk Bazaar, Clown Town and Fourth of July fireworks. In Return to Canterbury, I was able to combine all those events into a July 4th backdrop.

Both stories are adventures in which Jamie and his friends Kelly and Christopher come up against villains who threaten their family, friends and their beloved town of Canterbury. The action plays out as the days leading up to each holiday unfold, heightening the urgency and intensifying both what’s happening and how we feel about what’s happening. I hope that you will enjoy my books, the characters and your visit to the fictitious, yet very-real-to-me town of Canterbury, as much as I enjoyed writing them.

When released in December, Return to Canterbury will be available in paperback and e-book for Kindle from and in all digital formats from Smashwords.

There is also a Goodreads Giveaway for Return to Canterbury that can be found HERE

The Christmas Village is already available in all formats from Amazon and Smashwords. Here are all the links:

The Christmas Village Facebook Page

Amazon Link to The Christmas Village

Smashwords Link to The Christmas Village

The Christmas Village on Goodreads

My Author Blog

YouTube Video Book Trailer

Read my review of The Christmas Village HERE.

GIVEAWAY! Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rudolph Day and Sharing the Joy Kick Off!

It's that time of year again! Time for us to share the joy of Christmas. It's not just the presents and what people deem to be the commercial side of things. If we can look past all that, we can recognize the truth of giving, sharing friendship, the love of our families and spending time with them and all the fun that goes along with it. The sites and sounds of don't have to be rich or spend a lot of money to enjoy them. There's free holiday music on the radio and on the online stations and there are plenty of free Christmas light displays in our local neighborhoods to marvel upon. Seeing my sons' eyes light up at the sites is enough to make my season bright! Every year, I try to do my small part in spreading the spirit around with Sharing the Joy here on The Christmas Spirit.  I really hope you enjoy it this year!

What do I have in store for you this year?  Giveaways, guest posts, book reviews, movie reviews, recipes, poems, literature, music, crafts...if it's Christmas, it will be here! Also, my Christmas Around the World posts will be back this year to continue sharing Christmas traditions and customs of foreign countries.

I invite any authors or bloggers out there who love Christmas to contribute a guest post, if you would like.  It can be anything Christmas-y...a story, poem, top ten lists, favorite things, share pics of your Christmas decor, etc., etc.  If you would like to contribute, please contact me via the form which can be accessed at the top of the right sidebar.

In honor of kicking off today, I'm giving away a Blu-Ray copy of The Bible, the History Channel original mini-series!

From Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes The Bible — an epic 10-part miniseries retelling stories from the Scriptures for a whole new generation. Breathtaking in scope and scale, The Bible features powerful performances, exotic locales and dazzling visual effects that breathe spectacular life into the dramatic tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation. This historic television event is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family.

Please note: Some scenes that were shown when The Bible aired may not be included in this release. These missing scenes are an artistic choice, not a defect. (from Amazon)

Enter the giveaway on the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. Open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

Don't forget about the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. It just started last Friday so you still have time to sign up. You can get all the details at this POST.

For those of you already participating in the challenge, I am posting a page with a review linky at the top of the right sidebar. I would like to try something new this year. I would love to feature a review (or two) from each one of you this year here on The Christmas Spirit. Please contact me via the form (top right sidebar) and let me know which review you would like me to feature from the linky. Of course, I will link back to you and give you full credit. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Always in spirit...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

2013 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge - Details and Sign Up!

It's time! The 5th year of the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge! Like last year, there are multiple levels for participation, like children's books and watching Christmas movies...and I have an extra special twist this read on!

Details and sign up:
  • challenge will run from Friday, November 22, 2013 through Monday, January 6, 2014 (Twelfth Night or Epiphany).
  • cross over with other challenges is totally permitted AND encouraged!
  • These must be Christmas novels, books about Christmas lore, a book of Christmas short stories or poems, books about Christmas crafts, and for the first time...a children's Christmas books level!
  • Levels:
            --Candy Cane:  read 1 book
            --Mistletoe:  read 2-4 books
            --Christmas Tree:  read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!)
          Additional levels:
            --Fa La La La Films:  watch a bunch or a few Christmas's up to you!
            --Visions of Sugar Plums:  read books with your children this season and share what you read
          *the additional levels are optional, you still must complete one of the main reading levels above
  • the most important rule?  Have fun!!!
  • I will have a review linky posted as a page the day the challenge starts.  You will find it at the top of the left sidebar.
  • Sign up in the linky below (link to your post with your reading can change up your list during the challenge...I just want to be able to stop by to welcome you and see what you plan to read).
One final note:  I am going to do a giveaway of one mystery box of Christmas books to participants in the U.S. I will also pick an International winner who will win $5.00 to spend at Amazon.

I hope you will join me!

Grab a the top of the post and be sure to check out the Read-a-Thon details at Seasons of Reading!

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Always in spirit....