Wednesday, December 06, 2017

SMALL MOMENTS BECOME GREAT MEMORIES

Please welcome the talented and Amazon bestselling author,  Keta Diablo. Remember to comment to be entered to win a Kindle Fire 7 on Christmas Eve!

What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

Funny how our brains work, isn't it? I think all memories are banked deep inside, yet some stand out as memorable. I'm not talking about traumatic events or even life-changing happenings, i.e., graduation from college, marriage, birth of your first child; I'm talking about seconds or minutes in your life that aren't very significant, yet take priority in our memory banks.



One such memory for me is helping my brother deliver newspapers on Christmas Eve. A light snow fell from the sky, leaving two sets of small footprints in our wake. The air was crisp and cool (almost balmy for a Midwest December), and in my mind, I see us chatting as we moved along, our frosty breaths hanging in the ether between us. We were eager to finish our task so we could join the rest of the family for the feast our mother would have waiting. After supper, we would gather around the tree and exchange family presents (Santa didn't come until morning at our house).

He thanked me for helping him when we were finished, and I remember saying, "Of course, that's what families are for."

There's nothing extraordinary about the scene above, yet decades later, that one memory is called forth from the dark recesses of my mind every Christmas season.

I hope you have a special memory locked deep inside that brings you warmth, comfort and joy this year and every year.

What is your favorite adult Christmas memory?

All the holidays when our children were young. Fortunately, my father-in-law recorded a video every year. He had the videos spliced, edited and combined and now we can all enjoy many Christmas' pasts while it runs in the background on Christmas Eve.

Is there a Christmas song that’s your favorite?

"Oh Holy Night" – Josh Groban

Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions.

Christmas Eve we have a large meal where everyone contributes a dish (Italian menu usually wins out). The grandkids are always eager to open presents so that's number two on the agenda. We end the night with a family-friendly game of Texas Hold 'Em.

What about Christmas do you most enjoy?

Family-time, of course.

Is there something about this holiday that drives you crazy?

Yes! The commercialism. One year I was determined to show my teens that not everyone was as fortunate as our family. To prove my point, I called a local nursing home and asked for three adult names of residents that had little or no family. I took the kids shopping and asked them to choose gifts for Donald, Marguerite and Luella. We visited the nursing home on the afternoon of Christmas Eve with our arms laden with gifts. Unfortunately, Luella had passed on that week, Marguerite was ill and could not receive visitors, but the smile on Donald's face when he put the new socks in his drawer and refused to relinquish the sweat pants and matching sweatshirt (while we joined the other residents for Christmas Carols in the hearth room) was worth every penny spent. My teens were not impressed at the time, but now say it's one of their fondest Christmas memories.

Nursing home residents


What do you hope for this Christmas?

Tolerance and peace – tolerance for others in a country divided and peace in a very dangerous world. 

Do you have a treasured Christmas food? If so, would you care to share the recipe?

Yes, thanks for asking! This one has been a family fave for years:

Pecan Crescents



PECAN CRESCENTS
Ingredients
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
Cream butter or margarine, gradually adding confectioners' sugar and salt. Cream until light and fluffy.
Stir in pecans and vanilla. Add flour gradually. Mix well. Shape dough into crescents using a teaspoon full for each crescent. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 15-30 minutes. Do not brown. Let cool slightly, then roll cookies in additional confectioners' sugar.

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

SOJOURN WITH A STRANGER

A ghost haunts the halls of Stafford House. When Raine Brinsley arrives and accepts a position as a house servant, the ghost is determined to let Raine know who murdered her. Meanwhile, the lord of the manor, Derek Stafford, attempts to convince Raine to bear his child for a large sum of money. She needs the funds to return to her ailing grandfather in Maine and yet, something is terribly wrong at Stafford House . . . and possibly with the man himself.

Derek and Lyman Stafford race against time to produce the first male heir in order to secure the title to Stafford House. The brothers will do anything to win . . . including murder. Will Raine submit to Derek's offer and live a life of luxury or will she meet the same fate as his late wife?


SOJOURN WITH A STRANGER Setup and Excerpt: Told from Elne's POV (the hero's mother) the woman is delighted that the servant girl, Raine, has consented to play Christmas carols on the piano after the evening meal.

Delighted to see the servant girl, Raine, behind the piano, Elne sent her a smile. Derek said the girl had consented to play several holiday carols. He promised the experience would be pleasant and they would remember the night for a long time. Several compositions later, Elne had to agree. The girl played masterfully. Astonished by the diverse range in her repertoire, albeit without sheet music, she couldn't believe their good fortune. At the conclusion of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman, every member of the Stafford family had gathered around the piano. With agility and grace, the girl rose to a vigorous round of applause.
"Please, Miss Brinsley, will you play something classical?" Derek asked.
Clever man, Elne thought. How can she ignore a direct request from her employer?
"Mister Stafford, I'm certain they've heard enough."
"On the contrary, dear," Elne interjected. "It's been so long since anyone has played at Stafford House."
With a nod, Raine settled onto the bench again and flexed her hands. "I'll play my favorite, Moonlight." The haunting notes drifted toward the ceiling and scattered to every corner of the room. 
With the last note, Elne rose from her chair. "Heavenly. I'm moved by your passion."
"Thank you, Mistress Stafford. The credit must go to my grandmother."
"It's hard to believe a mentor could one-up you on the piano."
Elne took a moment to study the girl. It made sense, an exquisite classical face to companion the music. Stunning came to mind, the dark green eyes, the thick auburn hair, flawless skin and sculpted features. She realized she had been staring when the girl looked at her with a question on her brow.
Elne recovered. "I've attended too many operas and concerts to count, but not one featured a pianist who played with such elegance and ability."
"You're too kind, ma'am."
Rising for the second time, the girl curtsied and made her way from the room. Crete hugged her as she passed. The strange curdling returned to Elne's stomach, and for the life of her, she couldn't name it.
She looked at her sons. Lyman reminded her of a lion about to devour the hapless gazelle, and the look in Derek's eyes she had never seen before. She tried to recall the months he courted Cinda and the days preceding their wedding. Had he looked at her with...love? God help him. Her youngest son had fallen in love with a servant.
She recalled the look Raine sent Derek when he asked her to play a classical piece. Had she missed something in the girl's eyes? No, she had made a deliberate attempt to study her after Derek's request and she saw resentment. Why would she feel resentment toward Derek? A muddied mess brewed, and Elne couldn't begin to guess the depth of the mud pile.
From memory, she ran through the words of Zaira's note in her mind. Whose bastard suckles at her breast?  Something nefarious rode the wind and she had to find out what. She looked at Julian staring out the window gathering moonlight. She would bet her mother's finest pearls her husband was involved.
Her head spinning with conjecture, she called out to him, "Dear, we must be going."
On the journey home, she thought about broaching the subject with her husband, but cast the impulse aside. The words of Sir Walter Scott tumbled through her mind, Oh, the tangled webs we weave, when we practice to deceive. Elne closed her eyes and drifted off to the soothing sound of hooves treading over the hard-packed earth.
* * *
Purchase SOJOURN WITH A STRANGER


Keta Diablo lives in the Midwest part of the United States on six acres of woodland. When she's not writing, Keta loves to garden and commune with nature. She adores animals and donates time and support to local food banks and several animal shelters. She rescued Emma LaPounce from one of the shelters when her owners abandoned her. Emma must believe Keta's computer mouse is a real mouse because she won't stop batting it around!


Emma LaPounce


Keta is an Amazon bestselling author multi-published in western romance, contemporary romance, historical romance, erotica romance, and the occasional gay romance. Keta's books have received numerous Top Pick, Book of the Month, and Recommended Read awards from top professional review sites.

5 comments:

Carnola said...

Hello Keta,
It must be awesome to have all your Christmas memories recorded so that you can watch them whenever you want. My Christmas memory that I often look back on is me and my younger brother looking out the window and hearing Santa Claus say hohoho Merry Christmas.

Keta Diablo said...

Hi Caroline and Hi Carnola!

Thanks for dropping by, Carnola, and thank you for hosting me, Caroline.

Yes, it is nice to have those Christmas records on video but it's also strange to see yourself a much younger person. Reminds you of how time flies!

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous new Year to all!

Keta

Sharon Guagliardo said...

What a pretty kitty face!! My best memories are when we all would go to Grandma's house. It was packed with my parents and brother, my 15 aunts and uncles, and many, many cousins. It was so much fun.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Keta, thank you for sharing your memories with us. I loved learning more about you. Merry Christmas to you and your family and a Happy New Year with many book sales!

Kathy Davis said...

Thanks for sharing with us. I love that cat face.