One of my favorite things about the holidays is the decorations. As a child, I remember helping to stencil designs on the front windows of our house and all the excitement when the boxes of ornaments were brought down from the attic. I remember the big, fat bulbs with their bright primary colors. I remember fragile glass ornaments—each one different, unique. That all disappeared the year I was eleven, when a fire in my parents’ attic destroyed all those beloved ornaments. I found the new ornaments boring and the fake tree utilitarian. Gone was the fairyland feeling of having an actual piece of the forest transplanted into the living room. Even the lights were the wrong colors. And the magical, silvery tinsel (that I never did get the hang of, apparently)? That was gone too, replaced by snake-like lengths of hideously dull gold garland.
Is it any wonder that, as a teen, one of my favorite “date” destinations was the local Christmas store? I could imagine nothing more romantic than strolling through the forest of decorated trees. I always wanted themed trees—although the theme in question seemed to change from time to time—and that was an idea I never could sell my parents on. As an adult, however, I finally got what I wanted. For many years, our tree each Christmas was a pure and frosty masterpiece. White lights. Silver garland. Unique, hand-picked ornaments in white and silver and clear and frosted glass. It took me years to assemble a tree’s worth of decorations, but I loved every minute of it.
But life is change, something that was brought home all too well the year all our ornaments disappeared during one of our frequent moves. Feeling depressed, I decided to go with a ‘blue Christmas’ theme. I’m sure it was pretty, but it was all wrong—cold and cheerless. It only made me more depressed.
Since then, we’ve been experimenting. One year, my son’s then girlfriend convinced me to add red to my usual silver theme (which had never been the same since the loss of my original silver-and-white collection) it didn’t really work for me. The next year, I tried red and gold. At least it was warmer. A few years ago I found myself craving color—and a sixties-retro look. I blame the book I was working on, at the time, which was partially set at Christmas in the late sixties.
This year, we’ve moved once again. Our new home was built in the late 70s. It has high ceilings and a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace surround all in earthy tones of red, brown and gold. This year’s tree is the biggest we’ve ever had. It’s still somewhat retro, but the color scheme is red and gold and chocolate…I think it’s yummy. But who knows what I’ll want next year.
The characters in my new release, Finders Keepers, are also having a nostalgic, retro kind of Christmas here’s a brief excerpt:
Aldo was wrapping a thick strand of lighted garland along the railing of the deck when they rolled back into the yard later that day. He stopped what he was doing to stare in disbelief at the tree strapped to the truck’s roof. “You couldn’t say no to her, could you?” he asked, directing the question to Caleb as he climbed from the cab.
Caleb shrugged and shot a quick glance her way. “What can I say? The lady is very persuasive.”
“And you, my friend, are whipped,” Aldo replied. “I should’ve known you couldn’t handle her.”
“Hey!” Sally shot a mock glare at him. “That’s enough of that! Are you just going to stand up there and run your mouth, or are you gonna come help us?”
That brought a grin to Aldo’s face. “Ooh, tough words. What do you mean us anyway?” he asked teasingly even as he ambled down the stairs, just as ordered. “Don’t tell me you’re planning on lifting that thing down from there? Because that would be a first.”
“You’re a fine one to talk about being whipped.” Caleb gazed pointedly at Aldo. “Seems to me you got your ass down here pretty quick when she told you to.”
“Yeah, well, what you call persuasive, I call bossy. Plus I’m not stupid, you know. I’ve seen her handle a weapon.”
Sally rolled her eyes. “That’s it; I’m outta here. You boys don’t want my help? Well, then, fine. I need to save my hands for my work anyway. So I’ll just head on into the house and pour myself a drink, leave all the grunt work for you he-men to do.” She nodded toward the single string of lights Aldo had tacked up around the door. “Hey. That’s looking good, by the way.”
“Thanks.” He gave her a wry smile that made her wonder if they weren’t both thinking the same thing. It had been sweet of him to make the effort, but if Davis was here, he’d have laughed and called Aldo’s handiwork pathetic. Then he’d have spent the rest of the day wrapping the entire cabin in lights.
CONTEST ALERT: I’m running a contest this week, to celebrate my release. You can use the form below to enter:
Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.
Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. He's seeking the truth about himself and those missing memories.
Aldo's an undercover cop who just might have the answers to Caleb's questions. But if Caleb's the man Aldo thinks he is, how can he let him get away a second time?
Then there's Sally; she's an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo's late partner, Davis. Sally's not dealing with widowhood very well. In fact, it's getting harder, every day, just to find a reason to keep getting out of bed. If the truth about the men's shared past comes to light, she could lose them both.
Along with her last, best reason to go on living.
This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they've found once they've found it? Yeah, that's gonna be the hard part.
PG Forte inhabits a world only slightly less strange than the ones she creates. Filled with serendipity, coincidence, love at first sight and dreams come true. It also bears an uncanny resemblance to Berkeley, California.