Today I am so pleased to welcome Anna Martin to Joyfully Jay. Anna has come to talk to us about her latest release, Minter Wonderland. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Happy Holidays everyone!
And thank you to Jay for letting me stop by and talk to you all about my holiday short stories.
This collection started three years ago with Let It Sew, which is about Edward, who’s a menswear tailor, and primary school teacher Harry, who needs new costumes for his class Nativity play. I really did intend for this to be a one off, heart-warming holiday story, but last year the idea for We Whisk You a Merry Christmas popped up and, I suppose the rest is history.
This year I wrote Minter Wonderland (which my BFF tried to insist was titled ‘Weeding in a Winter Wonderland’, but I couldn’t make that fit on the cover) which is about a small, local plant nursery called OK Bloomer (also courtesy of my BFF, I should really start paying him royalties). This story was so much fun to write – I’ve now developed a tradition of writing my winter stories over the course of a week or so in the hottest part of the summer, when Christmastime feels distant and magical and the cold is romantic and fun.
I’m not sure how many more “terrible pun Christmas stories” I’ll write, but I am absolutely sure there will be one in 2022 (spoiler: it’s about reindeer). If you’d like to enter to win a copy of all three of the currently released short stories – Let It Sew, We Whisk You a Merry Christmas, and Minter Wonderland – just enter below!
His shoulders ached and his thighs ached and his knees really ached. And his big toe—he’d stubbed it twice today already. Twice. That was how you broke a toe, he was sure of it. Two bad stubs and boom, broken toe.
He wasn’t complaining, he really wasn’t, because the Christmas tree business was in full bloom for only a few precious weeks every year, and he had to make that sweet pine tree money while he could. So a few aching muscles? That was fine. He wouldn’t even complain. Not out loud, anyway.
He finished hauling the last tree up to the front of the display area and set it in one of the stands so its branches could settle. This one was a real beauty, and Josh wanted to make sure he was showing her off in all her perfect glory.
For the past three years, Josh had owned fifteen acres of land on the edge of Yorkshire woodland that had been used as a garden centre since before he was born. About a third of the land was dedicated to sustainable forestry, a third was taken up by greenhouses, and the final third used for growing fruit and vegetables. He didn’t keep anything too regimented; some of his apple orchard spilled into the pine tree area, but that was fine. He grew mistletoe on the apple trees, and having them close together was no chore this time of year.
A bright, two-tone whistle caught his attention, and Josh twisted around to glare at Angie.
“What?” he demanded.
“Nothing. Just wondering what you’re daydreaming about.”
Josh bunched his hands on his hips. “He’s six foot two, blond, and has thighs like a rugby player.”
Angie made a face at him, then snorted with laughter.
“I wasn’t joking,” Josh insisted.
“I know. That’s why it’s funny.”
He slung an arm around her shoulders and gave her a noogie. Josh had known Angie since they were eleven, both scrawny kids starting secondary school, and their friendship had survived growing up and university and moving away… then moving home again. When Josh had taken over the business he’d immediately known who he wanted for his general manager.
“We’re selling out of trees, Josh,” she said, tucking her explosion of blonde curls back under her hat.
“I know,” Josh said as they walked up toward the main office. “I can’t do much about it. Trees don’t grow overnight.”
She elbowed him in the ribs. “I know. What about next year?”
“Next year is next year. We’ll deal with tomorrow first.”
“When did you turn into such a philosopher?”
He laughed. “Maybe I’ve always been one.”
“Alright, Plato. I’ll finish locking up.”
Josh Turner is the proud owner of a small garden centre, OK Bloomer, that he inherited from his grandparents. It sits on the edge of a picturesque woodland area in Yorkshire, and despite his efforts to expand the business, Josh is struggling to compete with the evil conglomerate garden centre a few miles down the road.
Lucas Gordon moved to a tiny village in Yorkshire to escape a TikTok meme that has haunted him since the summer. The cottage he bought needs massive renovations which are sure to keep him out of trouble until at least the spring. But when Josh recognises him from the meme, Lucas feels like his world is crashing down all over again.
Josh needs help keeping the garden centre afloat during the winter, and Lucas needs a distraction—and a little festive romance wouldn’t hurt, either.
Buy Link: Amazon
Anna has brought a copy of her three short stories to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, December 16th at 11:59 pm ET.
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