Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ho Ho Ho Harlequin Holiday Extravaganza - Nancy Robards Thompson - His Texas Christmas Bride **Giveaway**

Welcome to Nancy Robards Thompson's day on The Reading Frenzy. She's going down memory lane to share a very special trip home for Christmas. Enjoy the post and don't forget to enter her giveaway. I've also included my review of her Christmas Story His Texas Christmas Bride courtesy RT Magazine.

In My Mind I'm Going To Carolina

By Nancy Robards Thompson

One of my best memories is when we packed up the family and drove to North Carolina to spend the holiday with my parents. Sounds normal, right? A lot of families travel so the clan can be together for Christmas.

However, my husband, daughter and I are a trio of homebodies by nature and necessity. Between my daughter's schoolwork and my husband's busy schedule, it was difficult for us to get away. Of course, I'm perpetually on deadline, which is a blessing. I'm not complaining, but as much as I wish I were one of those authors who could write anywhere, my muse doesn't travel well. She's a homebody, too.

It was tempting to say, "No, not this year. Maybe another time."

Still, after years of my parents asking the kids to come to them, my brothers - one from California, the other from Georgia -- and our family (including the dog) from Florida coordinated and converged on North Carolina that December five years ago.  
Christmas Eve was a scene grabbed from a Norman Rockwell print: fire in the fireplace, presents under the tree, the whole family gathered round a table laden with delicious food. My mom, Lynn, had printed the lyrics to favorite carols and we had a sing along. Each person had a part in The Twelve Days of Christmas and we had to sing it loud and proud and solo. Hahaha! It might have been excruciating if it hadn't so hilarious.
As if that weren't enough, when we woke up on Christmas morning, it was snowing. By midday, the ground was blanketed in pure white. It was the first time my daughter had seen snow. After we opened our gifts, sledding and snowball fights ensued. Talk about a snow globe perfect Christmas. It was one of those moments in time of which you can't grasp the magnitude until it's already a memory.

I'm going to digress for a moment. Lynn was actually my step-mom. My natural mom died (of breast cancer) when I was in my early twenties. My dad remarried. I've always maintained, I couldn't have hand-picked a more perfect person than Lynn for him and our family. She was such a lovely person inside and out. She saw me through my college graduation, my wedding, the birth of our daughter. She loved us all unconditionally and taught us a lot about kindness and acceptance. While she could never replace my natural mom (she never tried), she made us a family ( albeit, a family who grumbled about singing The Twelve Days of Christmas in its entirety, but had so much fun with every sharp, off-tempo squawk of the never-ending song). In so many ways, she made us whole again.

A few short weeks after our perfect Christmas, we learned that Lynn's cancer had returned. She had been diagnosed several years earlier, but she'd gone into remission and in true fashion seemed to be kicking cancer's butt. She was a multiple-decade breast cancer survivor, who was as fierce and strong as she was loving and kind. She seemed to be handling this newer cancer with the same resolute determination. It didn't slow her down. She didn't have time for such nonsense. So, it's no wonder that we believed it would never get the best of her. However, shortly after the first of the year (mere weeks after our snow globe Christmas) tests revealed that the cancer was back.  She died six months later, on a warm June day.

Let me be clear about something. She would have no part of anyone being sad over her death. She would want me to share this memory because it's a reminder of what's truly important - and not just during the holidays, but every single day of the year. While presents and snow and huge feasts may be symbols of the season, what really matters is how we spend these days with those we love. More than once I've thought about how I would've regretted it if we hadn't put life's unrelenting responsibilities on hold and gone to Carolina. But we did. That last perfect Christmas we had with Lynn is not only one of my fondest memories, but one of the greatest gifts I've ever received.   

Award winning author Nancy Robards Thompson lives and writes in Florida,
but her imagination transports her all over the world. She’s worked a myriad
of jobs including television show stand-in; production and extras casting for
movies; and several mind-numbing jobs in the fashion industry and public relations. She earned a degree in journalism only to realize reporting “just the facts” bored her silly. Much more content to report to her muse, Nancy has found Nirvana doing what she loves most – writing contemporary and historical womens fiction full-time. After hanging up her press pass, this two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart struck gold in July 2002 when she won the award. Since then, she’s gone on to sell 30 books, which critics have deemed, “…funny, smart and observant.”

Nancy is giving away a special Christmas package to one
lucky entrant US ONLY!
Good Luck!

Don't forget to visit Gonereading this holiday season
They have everything you need for under the tree