Christmas Without a Tree?


(Excerpt from, This is Christmas

I tried to drag myself out of bed. I was too tired, too weak, and still ailing. I had no choice but to lie in bed and hope that a crane would mysteriously appear and hoist me out.

“It’s getting late.” Hubby stated the obvious. “Are you going to be able to get up today? To celebrate Christmas?”
“How can we celebrate Christmas? I haven’t done a thing to prepare for it. I didn’t go shopping, I’ve been too sick to worry about decorating our tree, or even having you put it up. We don’t have any treats, presents, no lights . . . nothing. We just can’t celebrate Christmas this year. I haven’t got the strength. I can’t do it. And, to make matters worse, I don’t care—I’m too sick to even care.”

“Don’t worry about anything. Lie there until the kids come over. They have something special for you.”
“Oh no. I didn’t buy them anything.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

It wasn’t too long until my son, Brad, came upstairs and my daughter and her family came over.
“Merry Christmas,” they said. Their faces shone as if the Northern Star itself was shining on them.
“I’m sorry, kids, but I’ve been too sick to do anything. I guess we’re not having Christmas this year.”
“Nonsense,” Brad and daughter Angie said.

“We’re just glad that you’re home. That’s Christmas enough for us.” Brad spoke for the entire family.
I couldn’t help it. I buried my face in my hands and sobbed. I cried and cried. I cried because of what had happened to me. I cried because everything was changed. I cried because my house wasn’t decorated for Christmas. I cried because there wasn’t a tree for that large present to sit under. I cried for every ornament I did not hang.
My family surrounded me. Brian announced, “I’d like to begin this day with a prayer.”

We folded our arms and bowed our heads while we listened to Brian, my husband, my children’s father and grandfather utter a prayer of thanks and gratitude. The things he said made me open my eyes to see if the Savior Himself was standing there. He thanked Heavenly Father for the gift of the Savior that by Him and through Him we can be saved. He thanked Him for His graciousness in preserving my life, and that we knew my survival was a miracle granted by His almighty hand.

It was not my time. I knew it. The Lord had spared me from an untimely death. And yet, if I had died, it would have been a wrong death, for His Spirit told me there were still things for me to do. I had been given a second chance—many chances, really, for this was not my first brush with death. Because I had been snatched from the jaws of death, yet again, everything was still possible.

After decades of me dreading the busyness of the Christmas season, believing I must conform to the ideology that I had to have at least two Christmas trees, decorated to the hilt, garland draped everywhere, a ton of beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, lights everywhere, not to mention making sure my house smelled liked Christmas, I witnessed that no matter what I did or didn’t do, Christmas is a sacred day, even without a tree.

What is a blog?


What in the world is a blog?

Big Lazy Old Guy.

No, no that’s just my own personal definition as I look at my reflection in the screen of my laptop as I write this.

You’ve heard of them, Blogs that is, you might even have one, still Blogs or maybe that other blog definition, but you have no idea what that really means. Well, let’s give it a shot, shall we?

You have two creatures out there called web sites and weB LOGS. See what I did there? Yes, I know you did.

Keep It Simple Simpleton

A site is one of those places that you go to and is somewhat static in nature with some background content updates. For the most part it’s a place where you will most likely see the same thing each time you visit. For you writers out there, ever notice when…

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Offline Book Marketing


Juror 1389


A new indie author’s best asset may be offline marketing.

Many new indie authors either (A) don’t market at all or (B) only market online because that seems easier. With many thousands of authors marketing online, it’s hard to stand out, and the top online marketers have already built up huge followings.

There are great opportunities offline. There is less competition for discovery offline, which gives you greater chances of success.

Plus, there is a huge benefit that’s on your side when you market offline.

It’s more personal.

Personal interactions, especially where the prospective readers enjoy that interaction, are more likely to:

  • Check out your book.
  • Review your book.
  • Recommend your book to others (if they enjoy it).
  • Ignore critical reviews on your Amazon product page (so if you run into bad luck with your first few reviews, this is your best chance of stimulating sales despite those…

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You Want Followers, but you NEED Fans.

DeAnna Ross

Quality Over Quantity in Social Media Not all social media followers are created equal. You want FANS not just followers.

Facebook is changing again! Facebook is cruel to the small business / Authors!


Before you pick up your pitch forks or WORSE throw up your hands and start throwing money at Facebook’s “boost” and other moneymaking gimmicks… let’s all take a deep breath and talk about what Social Media really means.

Now, I’ve chatted about this before in a previous blog: Keeping Social Media Social. There’s a lot of good stuff there so take a minute and go check it out. I’ll wait.



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My Platinum Rules of Writing

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksExciting stuff! The prestigious Indies Unlimited published a guest post by me a couple of weeks ago, titled “My Golden Rules of Writing.” I’m republishing here under a new name, to separate it from my previous Golden rules post. It’s nothing you haven’t read before in this blog, but it’s a fresh spin on things.

I was particularly intrigued by a comment made: “different people will get different things [from the post] … some folks may see it as satire, while others may be appalled.”

As such an interpretation hadn’t occurred to me, I wonder what you make of it.

Anyway, here it is: my Indies Unlimited guest post, in all its glory! 🙂

My Golden Rules of Writing

Writers seem to fall into one of two camps: Those who love following the rules and those who love to break them. My view? The rules taught in workshops and classrooms only matter to…

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