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Why She Wrote Up on the House Top

If you've ever hoped for a ho, ho, ho Christmas and gotten something else...


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I love reading about why authors write the books they write and I love thinking/writing about why I wrote a book. Maybe it’s an author thing. I don’t know, but the process of a germ of an idea growing into a full-fledged story fascinates me.

So as Genie wrote last week, we were at lunch and got to wondering why we hadn’t done a project together. We’ve been friends for longer than we want to do the math to figure out. But long story short, we met online in a screenwriting forum but didn’t meet for reals until hubs and I had moved to Houston. I can remember loving her script writing and when she started writing novels, loving them, too. While I was sad when our son moved his family (with our grandkids) to California, it did put Genie and me within comfortable reach of each other. Hence the lunch.

Honestly? I think we picked Christmas because this was back in March and it seemed far enough away to sound fun and not stressful. But we were both intrigued by the idea of doing a holiday project. We kicked around some ideas. I went home. She went home. Then we kicked some more ideas around through Facebook messaging and email. Somehow in all that kicking, the idea of setting the stories in Wyoming and having a present as a central theme emerged.

We sort of let the basics sit while we both dealt with other urgencies. I’d think about mine when I didn’t want to work on what I was currently working on. I wanted to do science fiction romance. Genie liked that idea, too (read her “why I wrote” from last week). I pondered the present and somehow the idea of a present collided with the Star Trek Next Generation episode, “Little Rascals.”

When ideas collide in my head, well, quirky often happens, and Up on the House Top was no exception. The aliens came from a party I attended at the RT Book Reviews annual convention last May. If you haven’t been to the Intergalactic Bar & Grill party at RT, well, you haven’t lived. I won’t say more, because that would be a “spoilers, sweetie,” but yeah, quirky happened.

But it wasn’t just quirky. As I wrote about Virginia coming home for Christmas, well, memories began to flood into my head of Christmases past, present and to come. That hope, or perhaps it is the longing for the “perfect” Christmas and what happens when it collides with our very real, very human flaws. That moment when the “ho, ho, ho’s” turn into “oh, no!”

So while most of us will never have aliens for Christmas, we all will, at some time or other, run our expectations very painfully into reality. And that’s when we realize that Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect or “the best.” It can be filled with flaws or the flu (yes, been there done that one multiple times) and still be Christmas if we’re sharing it with family and/or friends. And if we remember that the holiday is not about what we get, but what we give.

If you’ve ever hoped for a ho, ho, ho Christmas and gotten something else, well, Open With Care will make you feel better about it. Unless you’ve had aliens for Christmas, too and if you have, I so want to hear about it!

What’s your best and worst Christmas or holiday ever? Come on, you know you have both. Unless you’re incredibly lucky.

Perilously yours,


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