I might be a California girl—born there, and lived there for the first 38+ years of my life, but it doesn’t mean I don’t associate the Christmas season with snow. The proverbial White Christmas—or even better yet, the Normal Rockwell Christmas in small town America, that was my dream.
We didn’t get much (or any) snow growing up in sunny Covina California. Even less when we moved out to sunny Lake Havasu (on the California side.) Yet it didn’t stop me from longing for that Norman Rockwell White Christmas.
I obtained the dream was when my husband Don and our two young children moved to the mountain village of Wrightwood California, in 1982. I suspect part of allure in moving there was that Wrightwood is the type of small community depicted by Normal Rockwell.
In Wrightwood, there was the village tree lighting, the annual shop at home event, and let’s not forget the annual Christmas parade, which, by the way, one year I helped the Wrightwood Nursery School win first place, when I decorated my dad’s truck as Santa’s workshop, and the nursery school students rode on the float dressed as elves and toys. It was darn cute.
We dreamt of a white Christmas—and actually got it. It was just like one of those cheesy Christmas movies. That was, until reality set in.
The first reality: snow on Christmas Eve might prevent some family from coming for Christmas dinner—those who lived off the mountain, like in Claremont, West Covina or El Monte. Instead of snow being a Christmas draw, it kept some family members away.
The second reality: the family members who did make it—those in the older generation—had a hard time breathing on the mountain—at six thousand feet elevation. Stressing that my sister’s father-in-law might be having a heart attack brought on by the elevation is a real ho hum at Christmas.
So this Christmas, we’re staying home in Havasu—no snow. I hear it is going to be nippy due to expected winds, which is a bit of a bummer, considering Don and I love sitting out by the fire pit in the evening. Yet, it shouldn’t prevent our family from arriving—which is really what Christmas is all about.
This year will be having our own style Normal Rockwell Desert Christmas, with my 89-year-old mother, our visiting daughter and her hubby, along with our two young grandchildren. If we want a white Christmas, we’ll turn on an old Christmas movie.
We’ve bundled the first four books in the Haunting Danielle series into one eBook. For this week only, the bundle price is being dropped from its regular price of $9.99 to just 99 cents! But you have to act fast, because the price returns to normal on Monday, December 18, 2017.
Included in the bundle:
The Ghost of Marlow House
The Ghost Who Loved Diamonds
The Ghost Who Wasn’t
The Ghost Who Wanted Revenge
You can get the bundle at the following eBook vendors:
Today The Ghost Who Came for Christmas was released in audiobook format by Tantor Audio. Just in time for Christmas!
For those readers who are members of Audible, if you purchase the eBook at Amazon, you can get a great deal on the audiobook at Amazon.
Find the audiobook here:
Last night my daughter sent me this text: Have you seen The Spirit of Christmas on Netflix??? It’s awfully similar to Haunting Danielle.
The first thing I did—I went online and looked it up and discovered it was a Lifetime movie, released in 2015. The Ghost of Marlow House—the first book in the Haunting Danielle series—was published in 2014.
The second thing I did, I watched the movie. Wow, my daughter was right. The similarities were startling. What were they? That’s where the drinking game comes into play. I think The Spirit of Christmas would be a great movie to watch for a drinking game—every time a Haunting Danielle fan sees a similarity to the book, take a shot!
So you’ll know just how drunk you might get, I’ve decided to list some of the eerie similarities I found.
In the movie, a woman lawyer goes to a B&B to prepare it for an estate sale and finds a ghost in residence. The ghost is not happy with what she is trying to do.
In The Ghost of Marlow House, a woman inherits an estate and intends to turn it into a B&B. The ghost is not happy with what she is trying to do.
In both stories, the woman is a professional with a degree, an attractive brunette, not too tall, with a poor track record in the romance relationship department. In both stories, the woman and ghost are drawn to each other.
In both the book and the movie, the ghost does not know how he died. As it happens, both ghosts were murdered. In both stories, the woman helps him discover what happened to him so he can move on, and in both cases he slowly regains his memory. At the end of both stories, after the ghost understands why and how he died, he decides to stick around. In The Ghost of Marlow House, he sticks around as a ghost—in the movie, he stays as a man. (Don’t ask me how he did that, it was sorta confusing but it had something to do with a curse and a kiss.)
My ghost is named Walt, and the lead woman is Danielle.
In the movie, the ghost is named Daniel and the caretaker is named Walter.
My ghost is from the 1920s and was involved in moonshining—so was the ghost in the movie.
When my Walt is first getting to know Danielle, he asks her about her marital status, and then he calls her an old maid, and she reminds him how the world is different now—In the movie, when the ghosts asks the woman about her marital status, she quickly tells him not to call her an old maid and reminds him how the world is different now.
In my book, Danielle’s best friend is Lily—in the movie, the ghost’s fiancé was named Lilly. In both stories, the love interest of the ghost did not live out her life. In the book, the wife died shortly before Walt, and in the movie, the fiancé died months after Daniel.
There were also some stark differences between the book and movie. In the movie, Christmas magic comes into play, which explains things like how the movie ghost appears as a man everyone can see—one who eats food. Of course, he can only do this for 12 days around Christmas.
Ironically, Haunting Danielle’s The Ghost Who Came for Christmas has a spirit who employed Christmas magic, enabling the ghost to be seen by all as a live person for a few days around Christmas. Of course, that ghost wasn’t able to stick around like the movie ghost. The Ghost Who Came for Christmas was released around the same time as The Spirit of Christmas.
Is it all just a coincidence? Who am I to ask? After all, I am the clueless author who named one of my Haunting Danielle characters Joe Morelli, not realizing it was the same character name from the popular Stephany Plumb series. And like the Stephany Plumb character, mine is also a cop.
In any case, it might be a fun movie for Haunting Danielle fans to watch. But if you turn it into a drinking game, please have a designated driver!
I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving. My birthday fell the day before Thanksgiving this year. I spent most of the day wrapping up The Ghost and Little Marie, so I could send it off to my second round of Beta readers by Thanksgiving. It goes to the editor the first of December.
Instead of joining Black Friday shoppers, my husband Don and I spent Friday on the lake. We’ve a little pontoon boat—nothing fancy, but it does the trick. The weather was amazing. There were some folks on the lake in bathing suits. I kept thinking of my friends back in colder climates, bundling up in winter wear.
Saturday, we hauled out the Christmas decorations and put up our tree. It was exhausting! I remembered when my grandma Hilda told me she wasn’t going to put up a tree anymore, because it was just too much work. At the time, I couldn’t imagine such a thing. Now, I understand.
Today we finished decorating the tree, but I still have the Nativity set to put out and my Dicken’s Village—both of which once belonged to my mother. Mom lives with us, and will be ninety in April. As much as she loved setting up both the Nativity set and Dicken’s Village each year, it’s a tradition that has since been passed to me.
Another thing I brought out today—the Holmes Christmas book. It’s a tradition my husband started over 25 years ago, when our son and daughter were children. It’s a diary of sorts, that we each write in every year, traditionally on Christmas night—yet sometimes before the New Year.
When our children married, I gave them their own Christmas book—yet I’m not sure they’ve been as faithful as Don and I have been, writing in our book each year. It’s a tradition I encourage every family to consider.
Wishing you all a blessed holiday season.
Each year on Halloween I drag out Jack. Let me tell you a little something about Jack. He’s actually a photograph I took in 1974, for one of my photography classes when I attended Cal State University of Fullerton. Back in those days we didn’t have digital cameras, and we certainly didn’t have Photoshop. That meant when we put a pumpkin on a guy’s head, we REALLY put a pumpkin on the guy’s head!
The good natured college student behind the pumpkin (actually half a pumpkin because after I carved it, I had to remove the back half of the pumpkin to fit on his head) was one of my neighbors at the apartment I lived in at Fullerton.
After carving the pumpkin, conning my neighbor to wear it, taking the picture, I had to personally develop the film and then make the prints in a dark room. This project took hours to complete.
These days, I could make a similar photograph in a matter of minutes–with the miracle of my iPhone camera app and Photoshop.
But really, would the picture have the same character as Jack?
Happy Halloween! Stay safe!
The Ghost and the Bride is the last Haunting Danielle release–yet it is not the final book in the series. The 15th Haunting Danielle Book, The Ghost and Little Marie will be released before Christmas.
As for this book…
Family and friends gather at Marlow House for Ian and Lily’s wedding.
When an unexpected guest shows up Danielle tries to figure out who he arrived with and why.
Did I mention the unexpected guest is a ghost?
Back when our kids were growing up, off the rack Halloween costumes always seemed tacky to me. I believed Halloween costumes should be homemade, which usually meant something thrown together at the last minute.
If you ask my daughter Elizabeth, she will tell you that didn’t always work out so well. She’s still annoyed about the Halloween we spent in Bishop, California, with my sister’s family. I made her a Jasmine costume that year.
She looked adorable, until it started to fall apart—while she was trick or treating.
Yeah, she wasn’t happy about that. Basically, when it came to Halloween, I rather sucked as a parent.
My grandkids always look adorable on Halloween. Elizabeth does it much better than I did. It’s probably because I traumatized her that year in Bishop.
As for my childhood Halloweens, I remember getting sick a lot on Halloween, which meant no trick or treating for me. And when I wasn’t sick, the only costume I recall wearing was a gypsy costume. Seems like my mother dressed me as a gypsy each year. Now we know why I sucked at Halloween.
(My older sister and me, one Halloween.)
Locals call the priceless antique necklace the Missing Thorndike. Could it really be cursed? According to Danielle’s stalker it is.
Reluctantly, Danielle agrees to celebrate the First Anniversary of Marlow House’s Grand Opening. Her friends insist it is a way to move past the tragic events that occurred the past year. She even agrees to wear the Missing Thorndike for a second time.
But when one of the guests is murdered at the party—surrounded by more than a half dozen possible suspects—Danielle begins to wonder if there is something to the curse.
She understands that the ghost of a murder victim doesn’t always know the identity of his or her killer. But this ghost knows, and she isn’t telling. And she isn’t leaving Marlow House.