About the author:
Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling author of historical and contemporary western romances whose books have garnered numerous awards. Her most recent novel, THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP, is a poignant tale of tender redemption. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.
Caroline is a member of Romance Writers of America, Dallas Area Romance Authors, Yellow Rose Romance Writers, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and From The Heart Romance Writers. Her latest publications include the acclaimed historical Men of Stone Mountain series: BRAZOS BRIDE, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, and BLUEBONNET BRIDE.
Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, painting, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
What Christmas Mean To Me
By Caroline Clemmons
Fall between Hallowe’en and Christmas is my favorite time of year. Not Christmas Day, although that is nice too, but the anticipation of the event. I’m always a little sad once the presents are opened Christmas Eve and the stockings discovered on Christmas morning. (Yes, although we’re all adults now, our family still has stockings.)
I have so many wonderful memories of the Christmas season that sharing them all would take far too long. One of them is of when my youngest daughter discovered who had been filling her stocking each year.
Her: “So, you always knew what you were getting in your stocking?”
Me: “Yes, but I still enjoyed my treats.”
Her: “But that’s not fair! You never got surprises.”
She’s all about fair and has a generous spirit. From that time on, she always slipped a little surprise into my stocking. Nothing expensive, because she didn’t receive a large allowance. The treats got nicer as she grew and earned more money. Her custom spread. Now each person in our family follows her lead, and we each slip something small into the other stockings. The furtive comings and goings on Christmas Eve become complicated and comical.
And this demonstrates something else. Kindness is contagious. What better time of year to prove that? Give to the homeless. Buy toys and give to Toys For Tots. Donate to the food bank. Visit those who have no family.
This is the Christmas spirit—not receiving gifts, but experiencing the pleasure of giving to one another. Seeing a person’s face when they open the perfect-for-that-person gift is a delight for the giver. Knowing that a great deal of thought and planning has gone into whatever you receive doubles the pleasure of the gift you receive. Remembering that the reason for the gift is to imitate God’s gift of the Christ child to us and the gifts of the Magi to Him is important.
I can’t overemphasize how important it is that we don’t limit this giving spirit to Christmas. Those in need require assistance year around. Children are hungry, men and women and children are homeless, the unemployed need jobs, those in nursing homes need visits. If you have nothing else to give, sharing a smile brightens someone’s day. Listening when someone tells us about his or her bad day helps lessen the other person’s stress. Gifts don’t always equate expense.
Keep your Christmas spirit 365 days a year. What you send into the universe returns to you tenfold. I don’t mean you’ll immediately become wealthy if you give to others. I mean your spirit will be enriched and you’ll realize how truly wealthy you are already.
One of the ways writers give is by sharing our books. Sounds strange, but the characters in our stories are our friends and very dear to us. It’s hard to expose them to the world for fear they won’t be understood and appreciated. Writers pour our hearts into each book. When readers respond well we are in heaven. A bad review is like having someone tell us our baby is ugly. Please keep that in mind when you read our books, but do leave reviews.
In keeping with the Christmas spirit, I’ll give away an e-book copy of THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP to two commenters of this blog. Be sure to leave your email with your comment if you want to be in the giveaway.
And now, let me tell you about that release. THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP is book three of the Kincaid series. I hope you’ll read and enjoy Storm and Rena’s story.
Here’s the blurb for THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP:
Storm Kincaid wants justice; Rena Dmitriev wants vengeance.
When Storm’s best friend and the friend’s wife are murdered, Storm secures a temporary appointment as Federal Marshal so he can capture the killers. He follows them to twenty one year old Rena’s home, which is in flames when he arrives. She has survived by following her elderly husband’s strict instructions and watched in hiding while the men murdered him. Storm intends to take her to the nearest town where she will be safe. She can identify the men who killed the person who had been her husband in name only and like a grandfather to her, and she vows to kill at least one of them. Whether or not Storm allows her to accompany him, she assures him she will go after the murderers. She is the only person alive who can identify the evil foursome whose policy has been to leave no witnesses. Storm agrees to take her with him. She’ll be safer with him to protect her than she would riding alone.
As a powerful and passionate love blossoms, they unite to rescue three orphaned children, fight the elements, and encounter the killers. Will their love be enough to protect them?
And here’s an excerpt of THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP:
She emerged from the brush straightening her trousers and shoving her pistol back into her waistband. “Where do you think those men are going?”
“Indian Territory. They’ll steal all they can before they reach the Red River and leave no survivors to identify them. They’re selling off the stolen stock along the way, so that will slow them some.” He wondered if she knew how to use the gun.
“But I saw their faces.”
He sent her what he hoped was a frightening stare. “If they knew that, you’d be dead for sure.”
She shivered, but glared at him. “Do not think to frighten me. I will do everything I can to kill these men and reclaim my gold and my mother’s locket. It is not that I care about the jewelry that once belonged to Abram’s wife. But to him, it meant a great deal, and I want it because he gave it to me.”
Storm wanted to shake her. Not that he hadn’t lived all his life with stubborn women. At least his oldest sister Pearl made sense. He’d worried about shy Sarah, especially when she’d appeared head over heels with a con man. Now that Sarah and Nate were married, she had life figured out. Nate had surprised everyone, even himself. Storm suppressed a smile and worked up his anger again at his traveling companion.
“We can be in Llano by nightfall. We’ll get a couple of rooms there and you can rest.”
She shot him a suspicious glare. “You think to abandon me in that town. If we stay somewhere, we will be in the same room so I can watch you.”
Shocked, Storm wondered what he could do with this woman. “We wouldn’t be allowed to stay in a decent hotel. You want to sleep over a saloon? Besides that, folks will be shocked when they see you in those trousers. You want people to think you’re a fallen woman?”
With her chin raised, she placed her hands on her hips. “I am a good woman. You can tell them we are married and I wear britches to ride more easily.” She held up her hand and wiggled her fingers. “I have a wedding band, see?”
He raised his hands and backed up a step. “Oh, no. I’m not even pretending to be married. If I were ready to marry, which I’m not, I’d pick a woman who knew when to let a man do his job.”
“Ha, and when I recover my dowry, I will marry a man who knows a woman can do as much as a man.”
He swept a formal bow. “And when you marry, will you be wearing the lovely gown you now wear?”
She appeared angry enough to use that Colt on him. “You are wrong to…to talk so. I do not have the English words to tell you what I think, but do not try to leave me behind. If you do, I will go after the men alone.”
Disgusted, Storm stomped over and retrieved the horses. “Then let’s go.”
They rode into Llano in late afternoon. Since they arrived mid week, the town appeared peaceful and quiet. Storm spotted a hotel by the livery he remembered.
“If you’re determined to stick to me like glue, let’s stable the horses.”
At the stable, she staggered when she dismounted and he thought she might fall. He grabbed her arms. “Steady. You’re not used to riding so long.”
“Ja, my legs do not work so well. Do not worry, I will be fine in a minute.”
She remained quiet while he dealt with the hostler and insured his rifle and saddle would be safe. He threw his saddlebags over his shoulder and retrieved the two pillowcases and box he’d tied to the saddle pommel. They ambled the block toward the hotel.
He indicated a mercantile. “Just what we need. After we get our room, let’s head for that store before it closes. You probably need to replace a few things that burned.” When she glared at him. “I’ll give you the money, all right? I don’t want folks thinking my wife runs around in men’s clothes. If anyone gets nosy, tell them you lost your bag crossing a river.”
She sniffed and sashayed as if she wore a ball gown instead of ill-fitting men’s trousers. “I will keep track and repay you when I kill those men.”
I hope the excerpt whetted your appetite and you would like to have your own copy. Here are the buy links:
Amazon in print and e-book
Barnes and Noble Nook