Friday, December 13, 2013

A Little Christmas ICE Magic in the Home for the Holidays Blog Hop

Welcome to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked for the Home for the Holidays Blog Hop hosted by MFRW bloghops.

It's that time of year again when the weather turns frightful and the company is (hopefully) delightful. Lights appear on houses and tree, and joy is everywhere. Usually.

At my house, however, it's a mad dash to get things done for the holiday. Schools want you to do all sorts of extras to help them help your kids celebrate in addition to all the White Elephant parties, Christmas Parties, and family get-togethers. I get to the point where I don't care what day we celebrate on as long as it's mellow. Hard to find that kind of peace with kids or family visiting. But with eggnog scones and sparkling apple cider, it's usually a happy time for the Muir family.

Not so much for Lily Sinclair, the heroine of Christmas ICE Magic in the Happy Holidays from the Crescent Moon Lodge Anthology. For her, life is dark, bleak, and full of sorrow since the death of her twin brother two years earlier. She doesn't feel like anywhere is home and she's just looking for one last moment of peace before she hits oblivion. Fortunately for her, her brother has a little trick up his sleeve.

EXCERPT of Christmas ICE Magic

“Oh, God, Linus, I’ve missed you so much.” She pressed her nose against his chest and tried to stop the sobs shaking her body. She only succeeded in crying harder.
“Hey, now, Lil, don’t cry. I’ve been here the whole time.” Linus squeezed her gently. “You still felt the connection, right?”
Lily pushed back a little and looked up at him. “No. What connection? You died. You were gone and my heart was empty. I was all alone. How could you do that to your younger sister?”
Linus chuckled. “I’m only older by ten minutes.”
“Still.” She thumped him in the arm with her fist. “You’re not supposed to leave your little sister by herself.”
“Yeah, well, I’m sorry about that.” He gave her a sad smile. “I didn’t know it was part of the plan or I would’ve given you a heads-up.”
Lily’s lower lip trembled. “I didn’t get to say goodbye, you big knucklehead. I was in Australia.” She shook her head and tears splashed her cheeks. “I shouldn’t have gone.”
“Bullshit.” Linus pushed her down on a nearby crystal. “You’d wanted to see what Christmas was like in the tropics and you got the opportunity.” He dropped beside her. “No one could’ve known what would happen. You can’t live your life defensively. That’s not living.”
Lily huffed a laugh, swiping at her tears. “Says the dead guy.”
He grinned. “I should know, shouldn’t I?”
“Heh. Yeah.” She rubbed her nose on her sleeve.
“Here’s the thing. I’ve been with you every step of the way, keeping an eye on you, and you’re starting to freak me out a little, Lil.” He took her hand and met her gaze, his usually dancing eyes serious. “You’re pushing too hard and it’s going to end up killing you.”
Lily pursed her lips and looked away. How could she tell her dead brother she didn’t want to live anymore? “There’s nothing really left for me…here.”
“Bullshit again.” Linus shook his head and gave her a dry look. “You have Fleur, Penny, and Elle back at the Lodge. You have Mom and Pop, who worry about all the risks you take now. All those people love you and don’t want to lose you. Hell, you have four hundred and twenty Facebook friends, right? I bet they’d notice if you were gone.”
Lily didn’t laugh. “They don’t understand. No one does. The magic is gone. You’re gone.”
“Jeez, there are days you’re dumber than a bag of hammers.”
“What?” She blinked up at him as he stood over her with his arms crossed on his chest.
“Lily, I still have a connection to you. You feel it every time you get the thrill of hang gliding or standing at the edge of Niagara Falls. That’s the magic you and I share, even now.”
“But it fades and leaves me more empty than before.”
Linus crouched before her and took her hands. “That’s because you’re trying to hold on to the past too tightly. The past is empty, there’s nothing there. You have to make new memories and experience the magic of the present. What did the old tortoise say?” Linus scrunched up his nose, narrowed his eyes, and made his voice sound old. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” He grabbed her shoulders. “Take the gift and unwrap the magic, Lily. It’s there for you, you just have to reach for it.”
The tears scalded her cheeks in burning trails. “But it’s not the same without you, Linus. My heart is empty now that you’re gone.”
“Then you’re going to have to fill it with something better, right? Take the gift, Lily. It’s Christmas, after all.” He gave her one more squeeze and stood up again. “All joking aside, it’s not time for you to give up. You have so much more you need to do and so many others who need your adventurous spirit, got me? So, instead of getting busy dying, you need to get busy living.” Linus glanced past her shoulder, a cheeky grin quirked his lips. “There’s more magic in the world than you know and you have to take a chance. You have to hang in there long enough to discover it.” He met her gaze again. “Promise me you’ll take the chance, Lil.”
She shook her head. “I can’t do it alone.”
“Yes, you can.” He glanced past her again and nodded as if in greeting. “But it looks like you won’t have to. Now promise me.”
“Promise.” Linus crossed his arms over his chest.
“I promise.”
“Good. I’m going to hold you to that, you know.” A warm smile filled his features. “I love you, Lil. Remember you promised. I think I know someone who can help you keep it.”
“What? Who?” Lily looked over her shoulder, but she didn’t see anything beyond a bright, flickering light. When she turned back, Linus had retreated and jogged away from her through the crystals. “Linus, wait!”
She jumped up to follow him, but he only increased his pace, a loving smile on his face.
“Get busy living, Lil. And go play in the snow. It’s Christmas!”

So let's get busy living and play in the snow. There are four holiday stories in the Happy Holidays from the Crescent Moon Lodge anthology and each one should bring a smile to your face. You can find a copy of it on:

In the meantime, I'm offering a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter who answers this question: Where is home for you during the holidays? For me, it's anywhere with my immediate family, my husband and kids. Please leave a valid email address or Twitter handle so I can contact you if you win. The givaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time on Dec 13 2013 until 11:59 pm Pacific time on Dec. 15 2013, and is open internationally. You must be 18 years or older to win and please void where prohibited.

Thanks for stopping by, good luck on the hop, and happy reading! :)


  1. I live in Ontario, but home is in North Carolina. This is my third winter in northern Ontario and I'm just starting to get used to it, but despite my spouse, daughter, and step-daughter, it still doesn't "feel" like home the same way North Carolina did. I may not feel like I'm at home for the holidays, but I really am home for the holidays - let's hope for another good New Year.

    1. I've done a change like that, James. I moved from Seattle to Colorado Springs, and I wasn't used to both being alone at Christmas and being in snow. I didn't last long there because it felt like a short stop for me. Fortunately, I found home a little later. Thanks so much for commenting. :)

  2. Home for me is with my Son and Honey as well as his parents.


    1. It's so nice to have connections like that, Donna. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  3. Home is always with family, but part of mine is in Colorado Springs, so it's never been the same since they left Kansas.

    1. I hear you, Sandy. My family is mostly up north, but some of them have moved to New Mexico. We try to see each other a few times of year. Thanks so much for hopping. :)

  4. I haven't finished this entire anthology yet, but I have finished "Christmas ICE Magic," and I LOVED it! I found it beautiful, sexy, evocative, and so emotionally well-done—I'm so glad I read it and look forward to reading the stories from the other three lovely authors in the anthology!

    I grew up in Iowa and, if memory serves, have spent every Christmas there even though I haven't lived there for more than a decade. We often traveled around the school winter break, but as I recall, we were always home on actual Christmas. Iowa has always seemed home for me on Christmas. :)

    Emerald AT thegreenlightdistrict DOT org

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Christmas ICE Magic, Emerald. What nice memory to carry with you no matter where you go. Thanks so much for hopping with us. :)

  5. My home is my hometown. I don't live there and haven't for so many years but I go back and visit my dad and sisters for the holidays.

    daringzoey at

    1. It's so great to have a place like that. The town I grew up in has changed and expanded, and my family has shifted to other places, but I still like to visit. Thanks for commenting, Melissa. :)

  6. My home is where I currently live - most of my family is nearby and we get to spend time together during the holidays.

    junegirl63 at gmail dot com

    1. That must make it easy to get together all throughout the year, Maria. How wonderful. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  7. It's northern California for me, close to my family!


    1. I hope you get some lovely snow this year for a white Christmas with your family. :) Thank you for hopping with us.

  8. The feeling of home for me in now carried within my heart. After losing several members over the last three years and selling the house in the town that was home for forty years, I now carry that feeling in my heart. My Dad was retired military and to be in one place longer than two years was home. So many good memories. Now I'm in a different place and building a new home and new memories.

    1. That's a great way to hold "home", Sandy. I hear that "military brats" are very good at making home anywhere they settle. Thanks so much for hopping with us. :)

  9. My husband and kids are home to me too, but Ohio will always hold a special place in my heart. Every time I visit my daughter in grad school there, I'm a little homesick for the hills and trees I grew up with.

    Congrats on the anthology! I'll be adding it to my TBR pile! :)

    1. It's amazing how a place will stay with you. There are places in WA that always call me and I feel settled there, but I like being a NV transplant. I hope you enjoy the anthology, Mellanie. Thanks for hopping with me. :)

  10. Home for me will always be with my family here in southern California.
    Most of my family come to my house for Christmas. We only give gifts to the children who still believe in the magic of Santa. (Currently there are only 2, but it used to be a lot more). We have dinner and just have a good time celebrating the joy and love we have for one another. We have lost a lot of loved ones over the last few years and we use our time together to remember them. Each one of us in my age group host a holiday party. Starting from a New Year's day brunch on thru Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. My holiday is Christmas. I love having the family come to my house and I don't have to get dressed up for it. Our dinners are casual and buffet style. I can wear my slippers all day and no one give a rats behind if I do. LOL

    Thanks for being part of the hop and for the chance to win. <^_^>
    reneebennett35 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. Wow, that's a wonderful way to spread the love around, Renee. And I love relaxed holidays. In our family we only have my kids, too, but we still give a few gifts to the adults (who used to be the kids in the family, lol). Thank you so much for hopping with me. :)

  11. Home for me is usually at either of my son's houses at Christmastime. I have downsized and their houses are more accomadating. They both live here in Arizona where I do.

  12. Home for me is at my house where my husband and children are. My parents and siblings all live in the same town so we can spend the holiday!

  13. Home is with my family.
    bituin76 at hotmail dot com

  14. Home is with my immediate family, here in my home where i grew up. My family is a bit small but Christmas has became really special for us. We celebrate in our own way. We dont exchange presents. We stay in, cook dinner together, plays games and watch christmas movies! Love it all! :) Thank you! Happy holidays!

  15. Congratulations Joy Isley! You win the $10 Amazon gift card. Thank you to everyone who commented and I hope you have very happy holidays this year. :)


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