Friday, December 01, 2017


I get to go first with this interview, which makes me a little nervous. Remember that in addition to my giveaway today, I'll be giving away a 16G Kindle Fire 7 on December 24.

What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

When I was three, Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange was at our house. Santa came and delivered gifts to all the kids. He was a relative dressed in a very realistic costume sewn by another relative. I was shy and dumstruck when he wheeled in a baby buggy with a life-size baby doll in it for me. As an adult, I learned my mother (we had very little money) bought the buggy second hand and my dad painted and refurbished it while she made doll blankets. Years later, our eldest daughter got to see that same Santa costume, now worn by my older brother, as he passed out gifts.

Me with my doll and buggy

What is your favorite adult Christmas memory?

When our children were small we always went to our parents’ in Lubbock, Texas at holidays. We had to divide our time between the home of each set of parents who lived about a mile or two apart and the trip was hectic, added to by a Drama Queen sister-in-law. One year, our daughters had pneumonia and were too sick to travel and we stayed home. Even though they had to go into the hospital the next day, they said that was their favorite Christmas. Taught us a lesson. After that we always took our parents' Christmas gifts at Thanksgiving but waited until a few days after Christmas to go back to Lubbock.

The Christmas our daughters had pneumonia

Is there a Christmas song that’s your favorite?

A.   Secular - “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt

B.   Religious – “O Come, O Come, Emanuel” has always been my favorite, but now it ties with “Mary, Did You Know?”

Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions.

We have changed a few of them over the years. We have to watch at least one version of "A Christmas Carol" each year.  Our daughters and I prefer the Muppets version, but Hero has another version or two he prefers. We have TexMex on Christmas Eve with tamales, tortilla chips, guaccmole and cheese dips, beans, and sometimes chili. My husband reads the Christmas story from the Bible and then we open presents. Sometimes we go to a Christmas Eve service, but not always because one or more of us is usually puny from allergies/asthma/whatever. On Christmas morning, we see what Santa put in our stockings. This is where we've changed: we usually have Stauffer’s lasagna, salad, and garlic bread for dinner and pecan pie for dessert. 

We have a tree in the family room and one in the living room. On the dining table, we have a small Thomas Kinkade tree with the little village I’ve collected set around it. I have a small electric train that goes through the village. As you can tell, I love Christmas and decorations.

One tradition was started by our youngest daughter when she found out who filled the stockings. She said, “You know what’s in your stocking. That’s not fair.” That year she slipped a surprise into my stocking that she had purchased in the summer at a garage sale and saved hidden in her room (and which, of course, I’ll save forever). Now each of us saves a small present for each of the other stockings.

What about Christmas do you most enjoy?

Giving things to people I love. I also enjoy being able to give to several favorite charities because I believe I’m so fortunate to be able to do so. Unfortunately, there are so many deserving groups, it’s impossible to donate to each of them.

Is there something about this holiday that drives you crazy?

Greed, commercialization. It's not necessary to bring out the Christmas merchandise before Halloween.

What do you hope for this Christmas?

Saying world peace would be too much, I suppose. ☺ I hope my family has a wonderful Christmas and regains health and is happy.

Do you have a treasured Christmas food?

I’ll share my TexMex chili con carne (usually shortened to chili) recipe. I love this chili and just thinking about it makes me want a large bowl served with cornbread on the side.

Chili, Yummy

5 lbs. Chili meat or ground beef, or combination of 4lbs. Beef or Venison and 1 lb. Pork sausage
1 15 0z. Tomato sauce
1 can Stewed tomatoes
3 Tspn Chili powder [adjust to taste]
1 tspn. Ground comino [cumin]
1 tspn. Cayenne
1 tspn. Salt
1 tspn. Pepper
1 tspn. Paprika
I medium Onion, chopped
3-5 Garlic cloves, minced [or garlic salt].
¼ cup Brown sugar

Sear meat in a large skillet, pouring off the excess grease as the meat cooks. As meat nears browning, add onions and garlic to let them brown also. Mix the remainder of the ingredients except brown sugar with the meat in a large heavy kettle or dutch oven. Bring to a boil and then quickly reduce the heat to simmer. Stir frequently. As the chili simmers slowly, more fat will reduce out and float to the surface. Skim off this fat each time before you stir the chili.  Discard the fat. About fifteen or twenty minutes before serving, add brown sugar. This chili can be cooked in an hour, but the flavor is best if simmered very slowly for two or three hours.

Serve with cornbread (or tortillas or tortilla chips) and pinto beans. We don’t add beans to the chili while it’s cooking, but add it to the bowl.

Do you have a Christmas book you’d like to share?

I have three: MISTLETOE MISTAKE, ANGEL FOR CHRISTMAS, and CHRISTMAS ON STONE MOUNTAIN. You can see the covers in this blog’s header.

Originally included in the anthology Wild Western Women…Mistletoe, Montana.

Shannon Callahan worked hard to become a physician. In New York, she meets resistance to a woman doctor and feels she is no more than a midwife. When the opportunity arises for her to go to Montana and be the only doctor in the town of Mistletoe, she grabs the chance.

Riley McCallister is sheriff of Mistletoe. When he learns the new doctor is a woman, he is shocked and vows never to let her treat him—no matter how beautiful she is. Slowly, Shannon’s skill wins his respect—and more. Shannon’s expertise and dedication during a measles epidemic convinces the town she is a good doctor—but does their acceptance come too late?

When a dot com billionaire crashes his sports car into a tree, he wakes up in heaven facing angels Gabriel and Michael. He’s given a chance to redeem his carefree ways by helping an orphanage avoid foreclosure and regain a sound financial picture by midnight on Christmas Eve—or else. To do so, he is sent back to earth as orphanage janitor, Jacob Porter.

After her father died four months ago, child psychologist Suzi Stephens was shocked to learn Serenity Springs Children’s Home and Elementary School faced foreclosure unless she met a balloon note due January 1. She can’t understand why her late father broke the trust her grandfather had carefully constructed to protect the private home. She is afraid the annual gala won’t raise enough money to pay the note much less the needed year’s operating funds. Trying to do her job plus step into her late father’s shoes has stretched her to her limits.

She’s suspicious of the handsome new janitor, who appears more like he’d be at home as a CEO. Could he be a spy for the developer who covets the children’s home property? Suzi overcomes her distrust enough to allow Jacob’s help raising funds. Working together, their attraction escalates but Jacob has nothing to offer the beautiful redhead. He is scheduled for earthly removal at midnight on December 24.


Christmas has been Celia Dubois’s favorite time of year as long as she can remember. When she moves in with her parents a year after the death of her husband, the young widow is appalled at the town’s lack of Christmas spirit. Two months earlier, banditos had burned the church and crushed the townspeople.  Celia vows to return holiday joy to the town. Perhaps doing so might help mend her aching heart. Will Celia’s plan work magic?

Rancher Eduardo Montoya knows Celia is the woman for him. She enchants him with her winning smile and vivacious nature. When her father warns Eduardo away from Celia, Eduardo is both angry and frustrated. After he stops a robbery in her father’s mercantile, will Celia’s parents change their minds about him? Can handsome Eduardo heal Celia’s sorrow?

Today, I’ll give away an e-book of each of the three to one person who comments.

Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To make up for this tragic error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won several awards. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.
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Annette said...

Hi Caroline, it's nice to read all the things about your Christmas memories. Thank you for the chance to win. Merry Christmas.

Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

I am heartbroken to learn that Santa was just my Uncle and not real! We have beans WITH the chili but not in it. I was always taught Texans did not put beans in their chili. It was nice to read about your childhood.
Darling Daughter #1

Carnola said...

Hi Caroline. I enjoyed reading about your Christmas memories. I refuse to give up on Santa because me and my brother still remember seeing him in his sleigh in the sky when we were younger.

Unknown said...

Hi Caroline. My favorite memories are when the whole family would get together at Grandma's house. And there were plenty of us with 15 aunts and uncles and all the cousins. Crazy time!! catwoman-1(at)Comcast(dot)net

C Phillips said...

We always put out the nativity set first. My Mom purchased it in 1959 with money she got for taking a neighbor's child to school. The pieces only cost an average of 29 cents each but it's priceless to us.

Sandy Soldner Sorola said...

I live Christmas,and have many Nativity sets. I love showing them off. I too love chili and make,it with black beans for the extra protein. Your recipe sounds amazing. Merry Christmas

Kathy Davis said...

I shucks! I'm late, but but I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.

Jacquie Rogers said...

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!

triptaker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

My favorite Christmas memory is the year that I was pregnant with my youngest son, My daughter was 4 and my son was 9 months. My friend's husband played Santa all over Philly at Christmas, so he was the most authentic Santa that I ever saw. Well he came to our home on Christmas Eve. My kids were shocked that the real Santa camd to their house. My dUghter is now 36 and is still asking eho that Santa really was. But I will never tell her anything except that was the Real Sants !! πŸŽ…⛄πŸ€ΆπŸŽ„

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks to everyone who commented. I enjoyed reading about your favorite memories, too.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Sharon, you won the Christmas e-books. Please let me know your email so I can send them. You are still eligible for the Kindle Fire 7.