It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: Hilltop Christmas

Posted December 6, 2023 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, Christmas, contemporary, giveaway, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Reads) 2023, Kathleen D. Bailey, romance / 39 Comments


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Reads 2023

today’s 1st book: Hilltop Christmas

We are continuing this year’s blog series spotlighting (over 70 this year) new and recently-released Christmas reads! This is the 7th year for the Christmas Reads Giveaway series, and I think I get more excited about it every year 🙂 Christmas is only 19 days away, according to Google! So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage (wassail anyone?) and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! And no doubt you know the drill by now – there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)

Hilltop Christmas by Kathleen D. BaileyHILLTOP CHRISTMAS by Kathleen D. Bailey
SERIES:
Hilltop Series #1

GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.
RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2023
PAGES: 271

Jane Archer isn’t sure there’s a Heaven,
and the Rev. Noah Hastings can’t imagine Heaven without her.

When Jane Archer comes home to tiny Hilltop, New Hampshire, her goal is to take care of her convalescing grandmother and get back to Boston as soon as possible. She doesn’t expect to be saddled with the direction of the Hilltop Christmas Festival, three days of activities exalting the birth of a God she no longer serves. But Gram asks her to take over the Festival this year, and she can’t say no to the woman who saved her life.

The Rev. Noah Hastings didn’t want to come to Hilltop in the first place. Too small, too cold for this California boy. And he has trouble figuring out these Yankees, with their “thin sharp faces and sharper wits.” It’s his first church, and his goal is to amass some “ministerial brownie points” and be out of there. But his early life with his father has left Noah with damaged confidence, and despite his call, he’s not sure he can handle a pastorate, let alone Jane Archer.

Though the people of Hilltop have never stopped loving her, coming home reawakens memories for Jane of a childhood no child should have to live through. She feels her carefully constructed world crumbling, even as she resists the pull of Christ on her life. But when the integrity of the Festival is threatened, Noah must call on his Lord, and Jane on the God from whom she’s drifted, to find justice and restore Hilltop to what it is.

 

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letting go, what if & why not

by Kathleen D. Bailey, author of Hilltop Christmas

This has been a year, and a decade, of letting go. Of things like bank drive-ups (what if I don’t WANT to use the automated teller?), of beloved celebrities (Tony Bennett, if I could have heard one more song), of my own physical capacities (cancer scare in March, okay now). Of NETFLIX, for Pete’s sake. Of seeing small businesses close that I’ve come to depend on, some because it’s time to retire, some because they never recouped after COVID. Of seeing the world I know shift in subtle ways, and knowing there’s nothing I can do about it.

The loss extends to holiday traditions. For years my family and I went to a sweet little Christmas festival sponsored by a church one town over. “Lights on the Hill” was unabashedly “Christmas,” not “The Holidays,” and not “Winter Festival.” Everything except the food was free. They had a Santa, but he didn’t take gift requests. On the mainstage, traditional hymns melded with ditties about Rudolph and Frosty. There was a cookie walk, kids’ cookie decorating, kids’ crafts, and a coffee house with acoustic entertainment. The elementary school chorus sang on the mainstage, and the town provided police protection. All the profits went into a separate Festival account, with no financial gain for the church itself. And it worked. Even in this age of church and state, it worked.

The other festival was held at a monastery in the far north, the Shrine to Our Lady of La Salette. Every year the Brothers, and an array of volunteers, strung the hillside around the shrine with 10,000 lights. The lights spelled out the good news, that the Prince of Peace had come in a manger. There were angels and stars, poinsettias drawn in lights, bells and baubles. It was a long, cold ride from our home in the south, with darkness shrouding the villages and countryside, until we turned on to the road where the shrine was and we saw the hillside ablaze with light. The Festival of Lights was a metaphor in itself.

We lost them both. Lights on the Hill fell victim to a lack of volunteers. The Festival of Lights fell victim to a lack of vocations. With only two or three aging Brothers left, the decision was made to close the shrine.

And I was devastated.

But the spirit of both lives on. Both proclaimed that Jesus is the “Light of the World.” Christmas isn’t about gifts, parties and food, and in the long run, which is what we’re in, it’s not about festivals, even those that exalt Him. It’s about the Light Himself. He’s not called the Ancient of Days for nothing.

This Christmas I’ll page through my scrapbook, both mental and digital, and relive those events.

But nothing is lost to a writer, and the two festivals had been fueling my imagination for a long time. Two of an author’s best tools are “What if?” and “Why not?” I worked with these.

WHAT IF…a small New Hampshire town held an annual Christmas festival exalting Jesus as the Messiah?
WHAT IF…I expanded the festival to three days and added a few more events?

WHAT IF…the festival was more than the sum of its parts, not just a place to take a sleigh ride and drink hot chocolate? Suppose it was a time of healing, for townspeople and visitors? Suppose wayward children came home, suppose marriages were healed over a steaming bowl of soup? Suppose, in a festival that exalted Christ, people actually found their way home to Him?

WHY NOT…write it?
So I did. I took the mountain setting of the monastery, the small-town setting of Lights on the Hill, melded the two events into one three-day festival, created two troubled young protagonists, and peopled the town with New England characters.

“Hilltop Christmas” debuted Nov. 15 from Elk Lake Publishing. It’s my first full-length Christmas novel, my first contemporary, my first book with Elk Lake, and my first book set in my home state of New Hampshire. Here’s the tag line:

“Jane Archer isn’t sure there’s a Heaven, and the Rev. Noah Hastings doesn’t want to imagine Heaven without her.”

I’d love to chat with you about YOUR Christmas traditions, long-gone or still active.


Kathleen D. Bailey

Kathleen Bailey is a journalist and novelist with 40 years’ experience in the nonfiction, newspaper and inspirational fields. Born in 1951, she was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and she’s enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it. Bailey’s work includes both historical and contemporary fiction, with an underlying thread of men and women finding their way home, to Christ and each other. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband David. They have two grown daughters. Connect with Kathleen at her website.


Hilltop Christmas giveaway

Kathleen D. Bailey is offering an ebook copy of Hilltop Christmas plus a New England gift pack to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read Hilltop Christmas by Kathleen D. Bailey? What are some Christmas traditions you’ve had – either long gone or still active?

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39 responses to “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas (Reads) GIVEAWAY: Hilltop Christmas

  1. Nancy

    I would like to read Hilltop Christmas by Kathleen D. Bailey because I liked hearing the author’s experiences that lead to the creation of this book.

    • Kathy Bailey

      Thank you, Linda. It was interesting to see how it all came together, and how my characters surprised me.

  2. kim hansen

    We use to drive around and look at the lights. I no longer drive but still walk around to see the different decorations.

  3. Anne

    This book sounds captivating, memorable and a real treasure to enjoy. A tradition that has been continued for many years is storytelling when we celebrate. I grew up during the 1950’s and enjoyed that era the most. I am older than Kathleen and my birthday is next week.

  4. Bea LaRocca

    I enjoy reading stories where someone rediscovers their faith and receives a second chance at love and happiness. Hilltop Christmas sounds like a wonderful holiday story and that is why I want to read it. When I was growing up we had the tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve, I tried that myself when my children reached a certain age but I don’t know if they have carried on that tradition with their own families

    • Kathy Bailey

      Bea, put your name in the Rafflecopter and you may win the e-book. Or if your taste runs to paper, check out “Hilltop” on Amazon or from Elk Lake Publishing. Love to know what you think.

  5. We have Chinese food for dinner on Christmas Eve and Santa always puts TicTacs in our stockings to remember my grandpa who always had them in his pocket for the grandkids.

    • Kathy Bailey

      The Tic Tacs are a wonderful tradition and a great way to remember Grandpa. Hmm, Chinese on Christmas Eve? I’ll have to remember that. Much easier than killing the fatted calf etc.

  6. Janice Moore

    I’d like to read how the two main characters resolve their differing ways of seeing things.
    This will be the first year without my mother here, so I’m not sure about what Christmas traditions will stay or change.

  7. Kathy Bailey

    Janice, put your name in the Rafflecopter and we’ll see what happens. Or check me out on Amazon or Elk Lake Publishing.
    Jane and Noah resolve their differences in the only possible place, at the foot of their Lord. Both feel inadequate, but for completely different reasons.
    It is so hard to lose a loved one. The first holidays are always the worst. We lose people a little bit at a time…Thanks for sharing.

  8. Roxanne C.

    Family members who live nearby all gather at our family home to celebrate together, but as members have been added by marriage, birth or adoption and others have passed away or moved far away, various parts of the celebration have changed such as the menu and the manner of the exchanging of gifts.

  9. Sue Parrish

    This story sounds like a good read. We used to drive around town and look at Christmas lights. I don’t get out at night now so this is a tradition that has gone away for me.

  10. Stephanie Liske

    We have a christmas tradition that santa comes and checks in at all the kids before they go and open their presents.

  11. Leslie Price

    I grew up in Enfield, New Hampshire, home of the La Salette shrine. Going to see the lights every year was our #1 holiday tradition and something we looked forward to as a family all year. I moved away years ago and I had no idea the shrine was closed and the lights were no more until I read this blog post (and now I’m absolutely gutted over it!) Suffice to say, I now HAVE to read this story for nostalgic purposes.

  12. Stephanie

    Our family Christmas traditions over the years have included seeing the lights through nearby neighborhoods, counting down the days until Santa comes, baking candy & cookies, and celebrating Jesus’ birth with a cake. This story sounds like a wonderful addition to any book reader!

  13. Susan Smith

    My favorite holiday tradition is putting up the Christmas tree and driving around looking at Christmas lights.

  14. Anita Collins

    I love the way the book sounds and our holiday tradition is that on Christmas Eve right when it is getting dark out we all get around the tree and hand out each others gifts and open one at a time for everyone to watch and we eat and have a jolly time

  15. Emily K. B.

    I love to read anything Christmas themed! One of my favorite traditions that my family still does is make homemade eggnog on Christmas Eve.

  16. Betty Curran

    I enjoy Christmas themed stories especially those that bring people back to their faith. One of my favorite traditions was the church Christmas program with all the children taking part.

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