Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Welcome to Victoria Gray, who wrote her first story with a freshly sharpened pencil soon after she started elementary school. When she was in the third grade, her mother bought her a Smith Corona manual typewriter. She was officially a writer! Victoria lives in Virginia with her own hero, her husband Greg. The mother of two sons who are used to their mother burning food to a crisp when she runs back to her computer to write just a little bit more, she enjoys cycling, hiking and long walks on the beach when she’s not writing, reading or burning dinner.

Oh Christmas Tree – My Favorite Holiday Tradition

By Victoria Gray

Thanks for having me today, Caroline. One of my favorite holiday traditions is trimming the Christmas tree. It’s a pleasant ritual that has been a high point of the holiday season since I was a child.

Lighted Tree
Some people insist on a real tree. My husband used to feel that a Christmas tree had to be freshly cut to merit the time it takes to decorate it. No doubt, there’s a wonderful quality to the smell of a real Christmas tree. But to me, that’s not the most important thing – the quality that makes a Christmas tree so special to me is the way a tree showcases decades’ worth of memories.

This year, we bought an artificial tree, pre-lit no less. In some ways, I feel like this is a confession, but with my hectic life and my husband’s busy schedule, it seemed a good choice. It’s lovely even without ornaments. But….it won’t be my tree until it’s decorated with my hodgepodge of ornaments, some delicate, some beautiful, some rather homely but filled with warm sentiment.

No one would ever think Martha Stewart had stopped over to decorate my tree. There’s no sense of color coordination, no theme. But there are ornaments crafted by my children, ornaments I made for my mother, Santas given as gifts by long-missed family, even photos of my son in daycare that were turned into ornaments by the daycare staff. My son cringes when I ooh and ahh over his ornaments. But I predict that many years from now, he will look at these ornaments with the appreciation I have gained for their sentimental value over the years.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? What special event marks the highlight of the Christmas season for you? I’d love to hear about your favorite Christmas traditions. Share your favorites, and you’ll be entered in the “end of tour” blog contest for a chance to win a free pdf of ANGEL IN MY ARMS.


Available Now!
Amanda Emerson must break her cousin, a notorious double agent, out of a Confederate prison before his imminent execution. She’s a skilled Union operative, but for this mission, she needs a man. Even a man who looks and acts like a Viking warrior.

Caught with Rebel battle plans and set for a hanging, Union spy Steve Dunham isn’t about to refuse the assistance of the sable-haired beauty who shows up at the jail and slips him the keys to his cell. Of course, she’s there for a reason besides saving his neck - he’s the key to her plan.

He may be trading one noose for another, but he won’t forsake her. The spoils of his victory will be her surrender. And the terms of surrender will be sweet.

Buy Links:

ANGEL IN MY ARMS is available from The Wild Rose Press (print - and e-book -, and other retailers including:

Digibooks Café (,

All Romance E-Books (, (Kindle - and print -

Here an excerpt of ANGEL IN MY ARMS:

Amanda sank into a chair and gazed into the crackling flames. Her heart ached. And there was only one cure for it.

A cure that would not come tonight. She’d outgrown childish Christmas wishes many years ago. She knew better than to hope for a miracle that would not come.

Kate padded across the floor, her footsteps soundless against the braided rug. “Joshua will be here to take me home shortly. I’ll return in the morning.”

“You belong with your family,” Amanda said. “Betsy and I will be fine. We’ve—”

A rap against the door cut through her words.

“Don’t tell me Captain Reed has returned,” Betsy muttered, eyeing Kate with a critical glare as she marched to the door with impatient strides.

She mumbled a few words to the unseen visitor and closed the door almost as quickly as she’d opened it.

“It seems I was wrong.” Betsy placed a wrapped package in Amanda’s hand. “You have an admirer.”


“I don’t know,” Betsy said with a reluctant smile. “The messenger didn’t say who’d sent him. Only that this was for Mandy.”


Amanda was sure her heart skipped a beat.

She unwrapped the package with slow, careful motions, intending to savor this moment, the pleasure of discovery.

Her lower lip quivered as she removed her gift. Ivory hair combs, exquisitely carved. Amanda examined her treasure with the wonder of a child on Christmas morning. She slid the combs into her hair.

A folded slip of paper lay within the box.

Amanda read the boldly scrawled message. She’d been so very wrong.

Her wish had been granted.

Someday I’ll hold you again.


Steve shoved his hands in his coat pockets and braced himself against the cold. The warmth of his room at Lily’s Place beckoned him, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave. Not just yet.

The boy he’d paid to deliver Amanda’s gift ran to him, reported the deed had been done, and rushed home, a silver coin clutched in his grimy hand.

Home. How many years had it been since he’d even had a home? Ten…no, eleven. He’d never been in one place long enough to put down roots, not since he left Boston.

With his collar turned up and his hat slung low to obscure his face, Steve skulked through the streets of a city where he didn’t belong. The truth broadsided him with the merciless force of a cannon ball. One week past his twenty-ninth birthday, he had no wife, no child, and a rented room in a brothel in which to lay his head.

A few weeks ago, he wouldn’t have given a damn. He’d never needed anything beyond a warm bed and a willing woman.

But nothing had been the same since he’d first laid eyes on Amanda.

Even in her prim and proper gray dress, she’d robbed him of breath. She hadn’t known that. Until he kissed her.

Longing speared his heart. He was in love with a woman he had no right to want. His partner’s sister. A beauty who could have her choice of who would give her every comfort she deserved. Amanda deserved so much more than he could ever give.

But that didn’t change a damned thing.

He couldn’t stop himself from loving her.

Thanks for that wonderful excerpt and post of your holiday tradition, Victoria. I can hardly wait to read ANGEL IN MY ARMS. Readers, learn more about Victoria at:

Don't forget to comment about your favorite holiday traditon to be entered the drawing for a copy of ANGEL IN MY ARMS! Today is the last day of our Roses Christmas Blog Tour. Everyone who commented on the blogs today and the past three Wednesdays will be entered into the drawing for the prizes listed at . My giveaway is a $15 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press. We plan to announce the winners on Saturday, so comment today and come back on Saturday.


Romy Sommer said...

My Christmas ornaments are a lot like yours, Victoria. They've been gathered over a lifetime, so they're very mismatched, but every single one has meaning.

My father is German, and really big on Christmas traditions, so I had it drummed into me from young that a real tree was the only way to go.
Here in South Africa cut trees were virtually non-existent, so every year we bought a real tree in a pot, then after Christmas my mother would plant it out.
A few years ago I drove past my old childhood home and couldn't believe how massive that row of trees had grown. No longer just a hedge, it now resembles a miniature forest!

Amy said...

This was a terrific blog--it reminded me so much of our tree! We had the same artificial tree for thirty years and it was absolutely covered with ornaments we'd made and kept for years and years. That was a large part of what made it so special!
Amy Corwin

P.L. Parker said...

We've used the artificial tree for a few years, but no matter what, decorated up, it looks terrific.

Victoria Gray said...

To me, ornaments with sentimental value mean more than elegant ornaments that could be hung on Martha Stewart's tree. So many memories.


My favorite Christmas tradition is everyone meeting at my sister's house. We have been doing this for ln something years.



30 something year.


Lilly Gayle said...

I love trimming the tree too. And hodge podge is the best kind of decorations. I still have ornaments my girls made in bible school and kindergarten on my tree and my "baby" is 21! And I too, used to think real was the only way to go. When I was younger, my dad and I, and then my sister and I would go into the woods and cut the tree ourselves. Now, it's artificial all the way. Two years ago, I bought a pre-lit. And this year, we had to cut...yes CUT all those lights out because the entire middle of the tree would not light. And those lights are impossible to take off without a pair of scissors! But now, I have the larger LED bulbs and my tree is still beautiful...and hopefully, more cost efficient.

Mythik said...

I have a post about christmas traditions, actually. I'd love if you could take a peek and tell me what you think about it... who knows, you might like the other parts of my blog, but I can't promise much.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Victoria,
Nice story. I love the scent of fresh pine needles. We used to have a special Christmas angel to put on the top of our tree when I was a child. She was just beautiful, but after my parents died, I don't recall what happened to her.


Caroline Clemmons said...

I loved your post. I so agree with your opinion of what makes the tree great. Thanks for sharing!