Wednesday 8 December 2021

Christmas Guests - Part One


This is Timmy, helping me drink
 the Christmas tea selection.

As I explained last week, a few of my fellow Choc-lit and Ruby authors have got together to convince me that I don't really hate Christmas.  I've settled down with today's tea from the advent calendar - its a Rooibos - Movie Night Popcorn - very smooth with a toffee flavour. With another minature Santa from the chocolate calendar I'm looking forward to hearing what Ella and Helen have to say. 

Welcoming Helen Bridgett first - talking about Christmassy things featured in her new book from Ruby Fiction  Christmas at Serenity Bay.

Oh Evonne, how can you not love Christmas!  Here are 3 of my favourite things.

1.      The coast at Christmas

My latest novel – Christmas at Serenity Bay – is set on the glorious Northumberland coast. It is a beautiful place to go for a walk and one of our traditions is to take a long walk before we settle down for Christmas lunch. The sky is always stunning steely blue colour with wispy clouds and the sea is often wild but although you have to wrap up well, it’s simply wonderful. One year, we even had snow on the sand!


2.      Christmas Markets

My main character has no idea what to get her boyfriend for Christmas so sets off on a trip into town where the Christmas lights are sparkling and the market is in full swing. I love the atmosphere when there’s a Christmas market in town and I think we’ll enjoy them all the more this year. Getting together with friends over a glass of mulled wine really does mark the start of festivities for me. In Newcastle, one particular highlight is always Fenwick’s window which every year features a fabulous animation of a famous Christmas story or pantomime.

3.      Feel-good films

In my novel, Serenity Bay is playing host to a production crew who are filming an episode of the cosy crime – Montgomery Murders. I had an absolute blast writing this as it’s exactly the sort of movie I
love to curl up to at Christmas – the cheesier the better! There’s usually a murder mystery or a musical on TV and as soon as the dishes are cleared – I head for the sofa with the dog snuggled on my lap. He’s a chocolate Labrador – like the one featured in Christmas at Serenity Bay and together, we’re as happy as anyone can be!


Hmm. Well I know about the coast at Christmas as I live about five minutes from the beach, so Helen may have a point there, and I do love shopping ... 

Shall we find out what Ella Cook has to say to try to convince me? She actually celebrated Christmas way back in  August in Summer's Christmas. 

So, why do I love Christmas?


It’s definitely something I’ve inherited from my Mum and Grandmothers who adored the season. And as much as I love the parties and food, it’s more the sentiment behind Christmas that I love.

As a child, I remember big Christmas fetes that Mum, Nan and Grandma would help to arrange – selling beautiful crafts and delicious cakes to raise money. And I remember putting together charity boxes and gifts to share with others. And, as cheesy as it sounds, that’s one of the things I love most about this time of year: goodwill to all mankind. 

Being totally honest, the last few weeks have had a lot of stress in them, and it’s been a little harder to find that Christmas sparkle than most years – something I’m sure a lot of people can understand.  

 But… the tree is now up, the wreath is hung, and the lights are twinkling in time to Christmas music. And despite everything, the magic is starting to creep in.

Christmas triggers something in a lot of people – a sense of wonder that transports us back to childhood, and makes it so much easier to believe in magic. It doesn’t matter how busy I’ve been, or what’s going on in life, there’s something about Christmas lights that just makes me smile, and feel a bit better about everything.

People think of others, and are just a little bit kinder when trees are filled with lights and tinsel – and it’s just a little bit easier to believe in magic. I’m always a bit sad come January when we pack away the decorations, and the lovely sentiments of goodwill to mankind seems to melt as fast a snow. So, I try to keep that spark of magic alive within us long after the tree comes down. And that’s what inspired me to write Summer’s Christmas – a story which brings all the magic, hope and love of the festive season firmly into the rest of the year.

 One of the things I do love about Christmas are the lights. I have been known to take a walk after dark just to admire all the decorations my neighbours have put in their windows. It is not to scout out places that I can dispose of the bodies, despite what my 'friends' will tell you! And Ella is right about the spirit of Christmas - it's not just about food and presents. 

Well I think maybe I'm beginning to mellow a bit about this Christmas thing. We'll have to see what Angela and Berni have to say next week.

If you are looking for a festive read - the details of Ella and Helen's books are below. 

A peaceful Christmas in Serenity Bay? Think again!

Chloe Walsh’s skills as location manager for the beautiful seaside village she calls home have come up trumps again, and Serenity Bay is now the setting for cosy crime drama The Montgomery Mysteries, starring amateur sleuth Dominic Montgomery and his crime-solving dog, Agatha.

But Chloe is in a race against time. Filming has to finish before the village Midwinter Festival but schedules are tight – and a mystery saboteur is intent on slowing things down even further. Not only is Chloe facing problems with the shoot, she also has some personal conundrums to solve – a diva actor has commandeered her flat, her mum is having a late mid-life crisis, plus she has no idea what to buy for her Christmas-obsessed boyfriend!

Can Chloe sort out her life and save Christmas for an entire village?

You can find the book to buy HERE

Helen can be found on Twitter at @Helen_Bridgett

Summer’s Christmas is a Christmas/Summer crossover and mash-up where a village must come together to not only raise a child – but maybe save a little girl’s life. Here’s the blurb: 

Summer by name and summer by nature – that’s how people describe Evelyn’s happy, outgoing daughter. Even if her favourite time of year is actually Christmas!

But Summer has gone through more than any eight-year-old ever should, and that’s part of the reason Evelyn is leaving everything behind to return to her childhood home in the village of Broclington; just her, Summer and Summer’s best friend – a Shiba Inu dog called Tilly. 

Unsurprisingly, Evelyn is hesitant to let anyone else in, although local vet Jake Macpearson seems intent on winning her trust.

When Evelyn receives the news that every mother dreads, it’s Jake who comes to the rescue. With the help of the Broclington community, could he be the man to bring festive magic to August, and make all of Evelyn and Summer’s Christmases come at once?

You can find the book to buy HERE

Ella can be found on Twitter at @ellacookwrites



  1. They both made some pretty good arguments for loving Christmas and I think they might be nibbling at your resolve,Evonne!

  2. They certainly tried! Over to you and Berni next week!