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Friday, December 23, 2011

Visit a tiny Christmas Village with my friend, Joyce Lynn

Come along on a Christmas adventure to a tiny village that lives on 77th Street in a Manhattan apartment only at Christmas time.

My friend and neighbor, Joyce Lynn, built this little rural town, Bethlehem, located somewhere in your imagination. Over the years, Joyce has added scenes and built buildings. She collected people and tiny objects to give life and detail to her village. Some of the figures are over 100 years old.   Come tour this town with us and write your own story about life here. We start at the train station.

Joyce built most of the buildings & painted the background. 

Let's get our shoes shined while we're still at the train station. Tip little Johnny well because he works hard. And the police are watching you!

Uh, Oh, traffic jam! Two stubborn men are each claiming to be first across the bridge. Typical of guys, isn't it?  Might have to take a cable car! Let's take a stroll through town first.                                                                                           

Christmas is coming! Kids are building snow Santas and the farmers are bringing their vegetables to market. Bobby gives Jenny free veges, hoping she'll give him something on their next date!

Some people haven't bought their Christmas trees yet!
Ella waited until the last minute, hoping Titus would lower his prices. She's a stingy bitch! Titus raised his price when he saw her coming.

No cell phones needed here, there is an antique phone booth. Just hope Superman is finished changing in there. Drop your Christmas cards in the mailbox and a dollar in Santa's kettle. Then we'll hop in the taxi and visit the school.

Shhh! There's a puppet show going on in front of the school. Carl, the gym teacher makes puppets as a hobby. He and Mike the librarian are keeping company but nobody is supposed to know!

Let's drive past some of the nicer houses in town. I think the mayor lives in this grand place.
He's busy shaking hands and kissing babies, running for re-election! Just don't kiss any babies over six months old, Mayor!

There's a church and horses still pull vehicles down Main Street. Matt the pastor is thinking about having gay marriages in his church. His wife Ethel agrees and his brother Mike, the librarian urges him to do so. (Joyce wired all the lights herself. I couldn't do that!)

  I think this is Joyce's house. I believe she built it to be a showplace and it certainly is! Her little Christmas village is a legend in our building and with my sons.

Carolers are out already. They are drawing quite a crowd. Of course they are in front of one of the finer houses in town. The hot chocolate is probably better there. Ben the drummer has the hots for Sally, the soprano, but she only has eyes for Gus, the tuba player. Such drama for a small town.

This is the only town where the public library is bigger than the bank! Joyce knows what's important. Will you donate a book to the library? Mike is ready to take your books and he welcomes erotic romance! (Joyce painted this backgroun herself, it's stunning!)

After shopping at the Village Store, the guys stop at the Barber Shop. They want to look their best for the holidays and catch up on all the local gossip,hanging out front with their pals.

Fill stockings with candy and other confections from The Sweet Shop. Say, do I see the Coca Cola truck, making a delivery here? Hmmm. He's here to see Ada again, isn't he?

I was right, Ralph is making a delivery. The rumor from the guys at the Barber Shop is that Ralph is delivering more than just soft drinks to Ada who owns and runs the Sweet Shop. Carla,  school principal, scolds them for gossiping. Ada is a widow, so it's none of their business.

Carla's husband is the mayor. He owns the fanciest car in town. Carla has always had a crush on the fire chief, but he's a happily married man. OMG, I'm already writing a romance here!

 Jeb, the fire chief pulls up in front of the Sweet Shop to pick up a gift for Maidy, his pretty wife. (The Coca Cola truck, red car, taxis and this little truck are antiques.)

The pond between the farm and the school is frozen, making the perfect skating rink for the kids on Christmas vacation. Alice asks Jake to put on her skates. They are shy but have crushes on each other. 

Kids who don't own skates come to the sledding hill. I think a snowball fight is about to break out. There's Jack, that troublemaker. DUCK! Hey, you! Grab some snow, this is war!

Our taxi stops at the gas station before taking us to the farm. Tom the station owner, is the most eligible bachelor in town. He has his eye on the best girl around, too. He's smart! We grab a newspaper next door.

This is a farming community and this is the largest dairy farm in town. The farmer puts a wreath up over the barn. He's grateful to have healthy livestock. Notice the little lantern and milk cans.(Joyce is a stickler for detail.)

The mill creates jobs. Old Barnaby owns the mill. Mary, his daughter, is secretly dating Tom because her dad doesn't approve of the "grease monkey". Mary is the prettiest, richest girl in town. Tom's no dope!

The snow has stopped so Barbara and Hank take a ride through town. Are Barbara and Hank married to each other? I don't think so. What do you think?

Joe is the Chief of Police and Barbara's husband. Hank better watch out! (Did you notice the street signs? This one says "St. Nicholas Avenue")

We like it here in Bethlehem and have decided to stay. So we are dropping you at the bus station for your journey home. You'll have company. Nancy, our nurse is running away with Joy's husband,  Frank, who owns the Christmas tree farm! Another plot develops. Thanks for coming with us today.

Is this village amazing? If you agree, please leave a comment, Joyce would be so pleased. May you have a joyous holiday filled with love and laughter!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Be an Elf to Yourself! Buy a Novella for $.99!



Looking for a treat for yourself or an unusual, inexpensive gift? Here are two contemporary romance novellas sure to give you a lift through the holidays and provide a unique, low-cost gift for a friend or a last-minute, quickie gift for someone new to your list. 

Both books are available on Smashwords, so you can buy them in pdf format for friends and family who don't have ereaders.


Can happily ever after start with a list? Grey Andrews thinks so. After ten years of working, saving and investing, Grey finally achieved a level of wealth that allows him to do what he wants with his life. He needs a woman to share it with, but not any woman, the perfect woman. A woman who has the three essential qualities on his marriage list. But after three years of searching he isn’t any closer to finding her than he was when he started out.
 Carrie Tucker, an aspiring mystery writer and divorcĂ©e struggling to make it in the world of advertising, turned her focus from men to her career after dating too many creeps and losers. She’s finally earned her big break, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the first female creative director in a hot New York ad agency. So what if it means working nights and weekends? It’s not like she has a social life anyway.
Is the marriage list a failure or will a chance meeting at a fiction-writing conference prove the list to be the key to Grey’s happiness after all? 
Chapter One
Envy burned in Grey's chest as he walked through the door at
Blondie‟s, the sports bar on West 79th Street. His three best buddies had it all, great jobs and great wives, while at 30 years old, Grey was still working night and day, saving every penny and sleeping alone…most nights. 

Tonight he faced the challenge of listening to them brag without letting the smile slip off his face.The bar was beginning to get noisy with baseball games on three TVs and rowdy laughter. Grey wondered when it'd be his turn for happiness. He got a table and downed a drink before his friends arrived, brushing a careless hand through his sandy hair.
His hazel eyes swept the room for eligible women. There were a
couple at the bar, talking to each other, looking pretty hot. Later, he'd try to drum up some action. One looked over at him, her gaze moving over his body slowly and her broadening smile indicated she approved of what she saw. Her blonde hair and ample chest made it hard for him to turn his gaze back to the door, where Will was entering, followed by Spence.
Grey raised his hand in greeting to his buddies as they made their
way to his table. This was their quarterly get-together for a couple of beers and dinner. Though they were eight years out of college, when they were together it was like old times hanging at the fraternity. Practically inseparable in college, they called themselves the “Four Horsemen”.
When Bobby arrived, they motioned to the waitress for another pitcher of beer. After placing their food orders, the Horsemen settled back in their chairs. Grey opened the conversation.
“So how's married life treating you guys?”
“Thinking about tying the knot, Grey?” Bobby asked.
“That would be news,” Will put in, before taking a swig of beer.
“Yeah, yeah, 'Grey Andrews, tired of screwing different women
every night sets the date'” Spence said, making quotation marks in the air with his hands.
“I‟ll drink to that,” Will said, raising his mug in a mock toast.
“You‟ll drink to anything!” Bobby piped up.
“So who is she?” Spence asked, narrowing his eyes and gazing at
“No one. There's no one,” Grey said, his shirt collar feeling
suddenly tight. He reached up and unbuttoned his shirt then took a deep breath.
“Sure, sure. You don't have to tell us, but we‟ll find out
eventually,” Will said.
“Come on, guys, I‟m serious,” Grey continued.
“So you‟ve stopped working sixty hour weeks and sleeping with
whatever you could pick up at a bar?” Bobby asked.
“Gonna kick out your roommate and squeeze a wife into that
overloaded place you live?” Will asked.
“I'm looking.”
“So the nest egg is fat enough now, got enough cash and you're
ready for the next step? Grey, you plan like a girl,” Spence chuckled and the other two laughed with him.
“So marriage isn't so great for you guys, huh? Is that what I‟m
hearing?” Grey said, smirking.



 Can a craving for mint chip ice cream and a passion for the theater turn a summer romance into everlasting love? Clint is a high school English teacher and a budding playwright. Nina is a former actress, now a beautiful and wealthy widow...who is more than a little lonely. A chance meeting over mint chip ice cream brings them together. Their love of the theater keeps them meeting while their love blossoms despitea gap in their ages. But ultimately, the theater may present the one hurdle they can’t clear. Take the journey with Nina and Clint through their discovery of each other, their joy and the ultimate compromise they must make to live their dream of footlights, fame and love.
The sultry August air felt heavy around Nina Wells, and it quickly melted the ice cream in her sundae. Gazing up at the clear night sky to look for the Big Dipper, Nina dribbled fudge sauce on her white tee shirt. She reached for a napkin, realized she’d forgotten to take one, and doubled back to the ice cream stand before the stain set.

She rushed up to the tiny counter with the napkin holder right as a tall, good looking man holding a double mint chip cone turned. They collided. His ice cream fell onto her chest, causing her to gasp at the shock of cold against her skin. She looked up into his light brown eyes as she reached for the melting ball of ice cream. He grunted and slipped one arm around her to keep her from losing her footing. She stood wobbling, mesmerized by him; he was almost a whole foot taller than she with light brown hair and shoulders a mile wide. Nina shifted the ice cream ball from hand to hand, not knowing what to do with it.

“I don’t think you can put that back on the cone. Maybe the garbage?” He suggested with a grin.

Nina jerked back to reality and stepped toward the garbage, tossing what was left of the melted ice cream ball in.

            “I’m so sorry. I’ll buy you another one,” she said, reaching for napkins to wipe her shirt and hands.

            “It was my fault…completely. You don’t have to buy me another. I still have one scoop here and I’ll just…” he said, approaching her with napkins in his hand, then stopped his hand in midair, color suffusing his face.

“It’s okay. I’ve got this. Get your other scoop,” she said, raising a hand to stop him from wiping her shirt.
The young woman behind the counter offered him a replacement scoop free. Nina sat down at the picnic table set up for people to eat outside. After a good look at her shirt she knew it was finished. The tall attractive man joined her.

“At least let me pay for a new shirt,” he offered, sitting down next to her on the bench.

“It’s okay. I had a spill on it already. That’s why I was coming back and got in your way,” she said, finishing the last of her sundae.

“What flavor?” He asked.

“Mint chip…is there any other?” She laughed.

“Not for me.”

Nina’s gaze was drawn to his mouth, then his tongue, as he licked the cold confection off the cone first, then off his lips. She ran her tongue over her bottom lip unconsciously in tandem with him.

Wonder what it would feel like to kiss him.