Today I am so pleased to welcome C. J. Anthony to Joyfully Jay. C. J. has come to talk to us about her latest release, Falling for Santa Claus. She has also brought along a great bookstore giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hi everyone! Thank you so much to Jay for letting me stop by today.
How are we all doing? Stressed out? Rushing from store to store trying to find that last minute gift? Up to your elbows in cookie dough?
I know it’s three days until Christmas and it can be a harried rush trying to get everything done in time. I hope if you’re reading this, that means you’ve taken some time to sit and relax for a few minutes, take a deep breath and maybe a wee nip of some egg nog, or hot cocoa.
My recent Christmas story, Falling for Santa Claus, is the story of Jack and Nick, and Jack’s first Christmas in a little Vermont town called Great Falls. I was talking to Jack just the other day, and asked him how things were going, a year later. His voice was excited as he started babbling about all the Christmas happenings going on in Great Falls this week. He said the town is all “a-twinkle” with lights and Christmas decorations everywhere. Mabel’s baking overtime, to have enough cookies and food for everyone at the diner. Nick is still is grumpy old self, but so busy Jack hasn’t seen him much. Jack changed the subject then, I detected there was more to the story that he didn’t want to tell me.
Anyway, he sent me something he’d found in the library archives, a special re-writing of the Night Before Christmas someone had written about Great Falls, and he said I could share it with you. (Um…err…apologies to Clement Clarke Moore.)
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Great Falls
Not a creature was stirring, not even the owls;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Santa soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Mabel’s Snicker doodles danced in their heads;
And mamma in her flannel PJs, and I in my onesie,
Had just collapsed into bed after the big toy-assembling spree
When out on the street there arose such a clatter,
I stumbled from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I tripped and shuffled,
To peek stealthily through the window, bleary-eyed and disheveled.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a huge sleigh and Herb’s eight draft horses,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be the legendary Great Falls Santa.
More slowly than sloths his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Beatrice! now, Bailey! now, Petey and Paulie!
On, Callie! on Sally! on, Wilbur and Molly!
Just five more steps to the next house!
Get a move on,” he groused.
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
There was no flying or mounting with this crew,
As snowy streets, they doggedly plodded through.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the street
The pawing and clopping of each big hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Up the walkway Santa came with a bound.
He was dressed all in flannel and Carharts, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn down in a scowl,
And the beard of his chin was as white as a snow owl;
He muttered and mumbled under his breath
As he searched through his pack,
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he moved, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right snarky old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A stare from his evil eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had better get back to bed;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Placing a small box on my porch, in the dark,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
I finally saw a smile light up his face;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they took off, to the next house, hidden by thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Hurry up you dumb animals! Next year I’m using the truck!
Damn Herb and Jack for talking me into using this sleigh…”
His voice faded on the breeze, as he drove on,
Never stopping his mission, here in Great Falls,
to bring Christmas joy to our little ones,
Daughters and sons.
I smiled as I turned from the window, and headed back to my bed,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all—especially Santa—a good night…
Do any of you have a Christmas tradition of reading the Night Before Christmas to your kids or grandkids? Jack seemed pretty proud of this version, but…ah…I don’t know. I’d use the classic version if I were you.
If, however, you’d like to read more about Jack and Nick and Great Falls, Falling for Santa Claus is available at all your preferred ebook retailers—but through the rest of December, it’s on special SALE at Allromanceebooks for 25% off!! Can’t beat a Christmas Sale and you don’t even have to fight the crowds of last-minute shoppers.
When Jack Frost’s aunt dies and leaves him her house in the tiny town of Great Falls, Jack seizes the opportunity to escape the rat race of Chicago for the quaint village he loved as a child. On his first night he’s welcomed by a baseball bat and a trespassing warning from Nick St. James—longtime Great Falls resident and infamous curmudgeon.
Jack wants to give Nick the benefit of the doubt—he can’t deny his attraction to the big man—but after several run-ins with Nick’s grumpiness and closed-off heart, he’s ready to give up. Only after discovering the secret Nick’s been covering up for years does he vow to break through Nick’s walls to find the loving man hiding behind them.
C. J. Anthony grew up watching soap operas and reading piles of books. She attributes her love of reading and romance to her mother who not only taught her to read but also made countless trips to the library lugging those piles of books home for her to read. It wasn’t a far jump to start writing her own stories, early childhood tales about flower families and traveling to the moon with her best friend.
C. J.’s favorite stories to read and write include “opposites attract” pairings—couples who might appear to be an odd couple to the rest of the world, but to each other fit together perfectly, finding their own happy ever after with a little hard work and a whole lot of love. Not surprisingly, C. J. is a big lover of rom coms—she’ll gladly take Julia Roberts standing in front of Hugh Grant asking him to love her, over car crashes and shoot-em up movies any day. She also watches way too much TV and every singing reality show there is. She loves music and musicians of all genres and attending live concerts.
She spends most of her time juggling a day job and a commute and freelance design work on the side and falling asleep on her couch, dreaming of a day when she can work all day in her pajamas while living in a house by the beach.
C.J. has brought a $25 ebook retailer gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, December 27th at 11:59 pm EST.
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