Debra – Reading Day

I love my work. Well, sometimes I love my work. Today is going to be one of those days.

Why? I have to read today. And finish an edit. But mostly read.

Imagine. Seriously. My goal is two submissions (full books) and 20 queries. Plus my edit to finish. If I’m really lucky I’ll get my edit and a submission. Why? Because that means the submission is so good that I can’t stop reading long enough to type a rejection letter. Much too often, it’s easy to stop reading the submissions.

Why? Because the story has gone so wrong that the logic police and Humpty Dumpty’s men can’t find all the pieces and wrestle them into any shape that makes sense. Or I simply can’t take the melodrama for One! More! Sentence!!

Lord love a duck! (a quaint little saying of disbelief or dismay. Just go with it.) Why is everything a production for some characters/authors? What happened to the quiet tension of a scene? Why is everyone snippy and arguing over nothing? Why is chapter four a rehash of chapter one, just with a new supporting character? Why can’t more aspiring authors marry character, plot and concept? Okay, that’s technically a menage, but I’m an open-minded editor.

Sometimes you find a gem. The voice sparkles and the plot is logically unfolding even if I’m not quite sure where it’s going. And, then, the magic happens. I care about the characters and before I know it Reading Day is over all too soon.

What does any of this have to do with Deborah Grace Staley’s book? Nothing. She’s guesting in December, but I thought some of you might like to get a jump on your holiday reading. I LOVE a good Christmas/holiday romance and I’m looking for recommendations. (Since we’re talking about reading.) Best holiday anthology? Favorite Christmas book ever? What’s coming out this year I should get?

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36 Responses to Debra – Reading Day

  1. Virginia C says:

    Happy Holidays : )Anthologies:Yule Be MineThe Heart of ChristmasCowboy ChristmasThe Night Before ChristmasA Regency ChristmasThat Holiday Feeling Singles:Christmas DogIrish ChristmasOne Perfect GiftThe Perfect ChristmasIt Happened One NightLots of great holiday reads! I don't really have a favorite–I love holiday stories all year long. gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  2. My all time favorite novel set among the holidays is The Last Noel by Michael Malone. I have gotten The Christmas Ball Anthology to read in December but would love to see what everyone else suggests.Love & Hugs,Pam

  3. Kathleen O says:

    Hard to pick favs.I am reading That Holiday Feeling by Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, and Robyn Carr. So far I love the stories. as to fav Christmas books I would have to say A Virgin River Christmas.

  4. KylieBrant says:

    Oh dear, I have nothing to offer. I'm not much for holiday reading. Favorite Christmas movie, would have to be A Christmas Story. My kids repeat lines all day on Christmas!

  5. Debra Dixon says:

    Virginia–I have THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS on my Kindle. Haven't read it yet. I just ordered two more on your list!I love Christmas stories. 🙂

  6. Debra Dixon says:

    Pamela- I don'e know author Gayle Eden. Contemp or historical or both?

  7. Debra Dixon says:

    Kathleen-I know I should read Robyn Carr. She's a favorite of a couple of friends of mine.

  8. Debra Dixon says:

    Kylie– If you're not a big holiday reader, them I'm guessing you're a big holiday "do-er."We don't get much snow here in the South and I love curling up on a sort-of cold day and reading about a group of folks stranded far from home or about the prodigal returning or a governess making a cold house a home, etc.

  9. Keri Ford says:

    ack! was going to recommend THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS, but it's already here.There's A HIGHLANDER CHRISTMAS antho. it has Dawn Halliday in it (who also writes as Jennifer Haymore and I love her regency that came out)Enjoy reading day!

  10. Janga says:

    I'm nutty about Christmas books. I spend about eight weeks every year rereading favorites from Kate Douglass Wiggins'The Birds' Christmas Carol, which my mother read to me from the time I was very young, to the newest anthologies, single-titles, and categories.One favorite is an old (1989) Harlequin American Romance by Muriel Jensen that offers a wounded hero and heroine, an assortment of orphans,nuns,and a curmudgeonly handyman AND a perfect HEA. Any other time I'd find it OTT, but at Christmas the sweetness is endearing. This year will mark my fifteenth reread.I echo the recommendation of the new anthology The Heart of Christmas. It has two terrific reissued stories by two authors experienced in crafting great Christmas stories–Mary Belogh, who may hold the record for number of Christmas novellas, and Nicola Cornick; it also offers the debut novella of Courtney Milan. "This Wicked Gift" is a delight–sweet and sexy and fresh.

  11. Debra Dixon says:

    Keri– That Highlander anthology sounds like the perfect early Christmas gift for my friend who loves Scottish historicals.I haven't read Jennifer Haymore, but I love Regency too. I'll have to go look her up.

  12. Debra Dixon says:

    Janga–Reissured stories? Aaack! I hate it when they do that. At least without making it very obvious.Is that Jensen romance A CAROL CHRISTMAS? I'm thinking it is based on a review on Amazon. Haven't looked it up on Half.com yet.

  13. Keri Ford says:

    Haymore's regency is a lot of fun with turns your thoughts and emtions go through as you read. Very exciting. one woman torn b/t two men. throughout the whole book you identify with her on her feelings for BOTH men. As I was reading, I was thinking, I am so glad I am not this woman torn between these two like this. It is a page turning read trying to figure out who she loves while the men are…well, I'll just let you read it. *g*the title is A HINT OF WICKED*It does NOT feature a 3-way or anything like that. Most of the book is like a tragic love story with the way the 3 main characters are torn all over the place. After finishing, it took me several hours before I could decide if I absolutely loved it or hated. It was THAT gripping. (and if you can't tell, I decided I LOVED IT and can't wait for the sequal coming in the spring)

  14. Debra Dixon says:

    A HINT OF WICKED doesn't sound like the garden-variety historical romance at all. I'm off to look it up right now.I'm guessing the sequel is the "rejected man's" journey to love?

  15. Keri Ford says:

    You'd be guessing right. A TOUCH OF SCANDAL, I believe is the title of it. Very twisty, the whole book is somewhat sad and a lot twisty. don't be a butt reader and go flipping to the end either. The fun is in the discovery.

  16. Loralee says:

    Lord love a duck? Gosh, Deb, I haven't heard that one since I left home. Thanks for the memory jog.As for Christmas books, I have to say Robyn Carr's A Virgin River Christmas is a favorite that I've set aside to read again this year. And I'm definitely looking forward to reading the new Deborah Grace Staley's A Home For Christmas.

  17. What a wonderful cover!Whenever the editor tells me they want me to do a Christmas story, I rejoice. I'm a Christmas softy. My favorite is still Dickens Christmas Carol. We watch A Christmas Story every year. The first scene in my December book, ONE COWBOY, ONE CHRISTMAS was inspired by a TV version of "The Little Match Girl" that I remember bawling over when I was about 6. Anyone know that story?

  18. Janga says:

    Deb, the Jensen book is A Carol Christmas. I'm sorry I forgot to include the title. Other Christmas favorites are collections by Mary Balogh (Under the Mistletoe) and Mary Jo Putney (Christmas Revels) and all the Signet Regency Christmas anthologies, especially Carla Kelly's novellas. And I'd feel Christmas was incomplete if I didn't read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at least once.And Jennifer Haymore's A Hint of Wicked is a book I'm still not sure I would say I "liked," but I found it compelling, I'm glad I read it, I think writing it was brave, and I'll be reading the next one.

  19. Cindy Gerard says:

    Hey DebLots of good books listed here. Nothing for me to add but you're sure getting me in the mood.and YES, Kathy, I remember the Little Match Girl! vividly. I thought maybe I was the only one. My fingers and toes get cold just thinking about that scene where she's outside in the snow and cold, looking through the window to the warm fire inside. Big sigh. That story will stay with me forever.

  20. Debra Dixon says:

    Keri– Never a butt reader! I'm firmly in the category of start to finish. (g) Unless I'm not going to finish the book and then I will read the last few pages if there is a plot question I want resolved. The reviews on the book talk a great deal about how sad the book can be. And a lot of talk about the emotional roller coaster.

  21. Debra Dixon says:

    Loralee! Yep. You're one of the few people I wouldn't have had to explain that to.There's that Robyn Carr recommendation again. I'm going to have to read her but my non-acquisition TBR pile is so limited these days and it already has so many books by fav authors or intriguing books that grabbed me. Arrgh. Will you people stop recommending her? LOL!

  22. Debra Dixon says:

    Kathy– ONE COWBOY ONE CHRISTMAS is on the list. 🙂 I love Christmas books.I got to write one (DOC HOLIDAY). But I never did a novella. I almost think my preferred form of Christmas literature is novella length.I remember watching THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL on TV but for the life of me I can't remember the actors so that it will "come into focus" for me.

  23. Debra Dixon says:

    Janga– I have those collections. 🙂 I do love the Regency anthologies.You're in the crowd of readers who universally agree that Haymore "has something special" even if the reader isn't really sure they were satisfied with the book.I'm wondering if the readers could have read 1 & 2 together, if they'd still be split over their reaction. If everyone gets a happy ending does is soften the blow of the heroine's choice being the "wrong one" for a lot of readers?

  24. Helen Brenna says:

    Deb, my mind is a blank for xmas stories. Sorry, dear.I can't help but think … I want your job, babe. Reading. Hmmm. I can do that.

  25. Helen Brenna says:

    Okay, okay. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. I know.

  26. Debra Dixon says:

    Helen– The reading is lovely but it's still not like reading books for which you aren't "responsible."

  27. Anonymous says:

    I'm looking forward to reading Cindy Woodsmall's 'the sound of sleigh bells."karen kkmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

  28. Kathleen O says:

    Kathleen E.. I know the little match girl story.. OMG I will have to have the kleenex box ready when I read your book.Virgina, can you tell me who wrote "Irish CHristmas"… I would like to see if I can find this book.. I am half Irish…would love to read this book. Thanks

  29. MarthaE says:

    I can't think of any anthologies right now. But a new book is "The Christmas Clock" by Kat Martin – it is very sweet story of redemption and second chances!I hope your reading day went well!

  30. Virginia C says:

    Melody Carlson wrote both books: Irish Christmas and The Christmas Dog. gcwhiskas at aol com

  31. ForestJane says:

    Hmmm… *thinks of what she knows about Debra*Your librarian recommends "A Quilter's Holiday" by Jennifer Chiaverini. Just out, and on our 7 day shelf, with the other popular hardbacks. 🙂 Not as much of a romance, but you'll enjoy the quilting, with a little suspense.

  32. Debra Dixon says:

    Gosh, you guys are awesome!I love the mix of brand new hot-off- the presses and the old favorites.I've bought…ahem…a number of books today.And you're all to blame. I hope you people are happy. How could I not go looking for something titled A CHRISTMAS DOG? Or something with quilts?

  33. Helen Brenna says:

    I know, Deb. The "reading" you're doing while you're working is different than reading for enjoyment. Honestly, though, aren't you always "working" when you're doing any kind of reading? I find I am unless I'm reading totally out of the romance genre.

  34. Susan says:

    I picked up a great book last Christmas called Doc Holiday. Wonderful, imaginative and emotional. I loved it.Also at the top of my Christmas book lists, Marilyn Pappano's Some Enchanted Season and Season for Miracles. Love them!Susan

  35. Debra Dixon says:

    Helen– Yes, on some level I'm always "working" when I'm reading these days. For really great books, the "working" comes after the reading as I analyze a book for market, etc.

  36. Debra Dixon says:

    Susan– LOL! Gee, maybe I should get DOC HOLIDAY out and read it this year. I think I have a copy around here somewhere. (g)

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