SIX DAYS until Christmas!! It’s getting real 🙂
‘Tis the season when I start craving cozy Christmas reads. (Okay – I crave them all year round but now’s when I can get away with talking about them LOL) I had so much fun with this series last year, so I decided to make it an annual thing 🙂 Continuing through the end of the year, I’m going to spotlight several new/recent Christmasy releases. So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)
Today’s book is a cute Christmas novella about a friends-to-more romance – plus a bonus guest post from Jaycee Weaver on why she loves Christmas in New Mexico!
He has his books. She has her fandoms. They’ve always had their friendship. Could Christmas projects, snowball fights, and local traditions spark feelings neither knew were there?
Surprisingly successful action-suspense author Garrett Wilson is struggling to write a summer novel in December. That is, until he witnesses his best friend, Nina, chase down a shoplifter and realizes that maybe his tough, attractive heroine might not be based solely in fiction.
Geeky-chic Nina Trujillo finds herself contemplating a God she’s never believed in after her brush with danger taking down a thief. That one decision could change the whole course of her life, and quite possibly, her feelings for the one guy she’s never considered more than a friend.
When Nina dives head-first into a series of Christmas projects and ideas for new traditions, she drags Garrett along for the ride. Will her newfound courage and all the extra time together bring their feelings out into the open, or will Nina escape back into the comfort of her fandoms and lose him forever?
Jaycee Weaver lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her amazing husband, three daughters, a crazy shih-tzu, and a dwarf rabbit. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in hot pursuit of her 90 million other hobbies or shuttling the kids around. Jaycee loves to read books in multiple genres, drink too much coffee (honestly, when are they going to make the coffee IV a real thing?!), sing, take landscape and floral photos, sew, cook, bake, and craft nearly anything. She considers herself a recovering perfectionist and sometimes hot mess. She does her best to live her faith in action, being open, honest, and real; letting God be Lord over the good, the bad, and the ugly even when it’s hard.
Love, Laughter, & Luminarias (and other things I love about Christmas)
When you think Christmas, you probably don’t think New Mexico, but that’s okay. You’d be surprised how many people don’t even realize we’re one of the 50 states! Upon learning I was moving to NM, the kids at school wanted to know if people rode donkeys, had indoor plumbing, if I’d need a passport, or would have to learn Spanish. We get that a lot, but New Mexico is a state; one rich with culture and tradition.
Having lived in Albuquerque nearly 25 years, my heart has firmly rooted itself in the wonder I find around every corner. The books I write will always reflect the beauty of the southwest (you won’t find a lovelier sunset), and I hope a bit of local flavor that showcases the quirky heart of my home. I could wax poetic about the Sandia mountains and how they change color every day from gray to blue to pink (I mean, look at them!). I could sing about our weather with over 300 days of sunshine a year, yet enough snow to have renowned resorts (um, heard of Taos? Angel Fire?). And don’t get me started on all the things to do, from outdoor activities aplenty to museums, cultural celebrations, galleries, quaint shops, historical monuments, living museums, and even a growing number of wineries, microbreweries, and restaurants galore. *Pausing to catch my breath after re-reading that.*
An Albuquerque Christmas may not look like a snow-covered holiday card (though you’ll find that scene farther north), but it’s just as beautiful in its way.
All through the month of December, the ABQ BioPark Botanic Gardens (one of my favorite places in the city) hosts the River of Lights. This incredible stroll-through display is a magical experience after dark, with 550+ dramatic light displays of larger-than-life animals, floral designs, and other awe-inspiring animated sculptures. It’s definitely something locals take out-of-town holiday guests to see.
If lights are your thing, then another long-standing tradition are the Bugg Lights. When I was growing up, the visionary Buggs lived in Albuquerque, and every December their massive corner lot showcased an eclectic assortment of mostly handmade scenes, many of which were animated and hilarious. Eventually the traffic grew to be too much and the lights are now exhibited at the Belen Harvey House Museum, about 20 minutes away from Burque.
Another light display to note is the notorious “crazy house,” pictured here. This house is complete and utter blinking, twirling sensory overload. Clark Griswold could take lessons from these people. What I love most is that this house has inspired many of its neighbors to join the fun.
Albuquerque also hosts several Shop & Stroll events during the season. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center has one where you can purchase handmade Native American gifts and learn about the many pueblos and indigenous people of the area. Nob Hill has replaced its single-day Shop & Stroll with Deck the Hill to promote local small-businesses. There’s also the Old Town Holiday Stroll, where not only can we get great gifts and art with New Mexico flair, but see the tree lighting and luminarias!
Family is of utmost importance to the culture here, and we do a lot of our celebrating over food. You can be sure that we won’t be having Christmas turkey or ham, though. No, traditional New Mexican Christmas get togethers have tables abounding with at least some of these dishes: tamales, posole, enchiladas, red and green chile, chile relleños, biscochitos, and for the hardcore, menudo (I’m not that hardcore).
Finally, I have to mention my FAVORITE holiday tradition in all of Albuquerque, one that can only be fully experienced on Christmas Eve. My family has a few well-lit neighborhoods we can’t miss driving through. I describe a few in my Christmas novella, Love, Laughter, and Luminarias. But it’s the luminarias in the Dietz Farms, Lee Acres, Ridgecrest, and Country Club neighborhoods we really can’t skip. We stop for coffee and cocoa to sip while I track Santa on the NORAD website as we drive through town. Nothing feels as Christmas to me as the serenity of the valley, its towering trees and adobe architecture, and those humble sand-and-candle-filled paper sacks flickering through the night on every available surface in welcome to Christ. After a night of noisy commentary and joking around, even my three kids in the back seat are awed into silence. And wouldn’t you know, I have NO pictures of my own to share. Apparently, I’m too busy feeling to remember to take them!
Thank you for stopping by and learning a little about the hometown of my heart! I have a copy of my eBook, Love, Laughter, and Luminarias, to give away! I hope you will enjoy this story of a quirky, fandom-loving geek girl and her action-author best friend as they experience all this season has to offer. Stop by and say hi on social media, or learn more on my website! ¡Hasta la vista y feliz navidad!
Jaycee Weaver is giving away an ebook copy of Love, Laughter, and Luminarias to one of my readers! Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? Does your town or city do anything fun that you love at Christmas?