Today Caroline Clemmons is going us with her holiday secrets and a Sweet Potato recipe. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card from Caroline and $25 Barnes and Noble gift card from Anna Kathryn.
Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate with marshmallows and maybe a touch of cinnamon and vanilla extract.
Share one of your favorite holiday memories. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? When our youngest daughter was about nine and learned who was filling the Christmas stockings, she said that was unfair because I always knew what I was getting in mine. That year when I opened my stocking, I was surprised to find a small, wrapped gift. Of course it was inexpensive, since we didn’t give her much allowance. ☺She continued that tradition. When my mom started spending Christmas with us, Mom started doing the same thing. Now, this has become a tradition. Although my mom has passed away, the rest of us put small gifts in one another’s stocking Christmas Eve. Lots of stealthy sneaking back and forth at our house on Christmas Eve. LOL
What is your favorite holiday song? Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” for secular; “O Come, O Come Emanuel” by Neal Diamond and his back up singers for religious. Actually, I love any version of “O Come, O Come Emanuel,” but–even if it’s dated now–no one sings “Santa Baby” like Eartha Kitt.
What is your favorite holiday movie? A tie between “The Muppets Christmas Carol” and “Christmas Story” with the Red Ryder B-B-Gun. We are suckers for holiday movies and love that we get the Hallmark channel now that we’ve moved into town.
What is something on your gift wish list? How I’d love a Swedish massage!
What is the most important thing about the holidays for you?The anticipation of pleasing people with gifts I give, and in remembering that we give gifts to remind us of God’s gift of his only Son.
Actually, for my gift giving, the anticipation is the pleasure. Once the gifts are opened and there’s no more looking forward to them, I feel deflated the holiday is over.
What do you do on Christmas Eve? My husband reads the story of Mary and Joseph and birth of the Christ child from Luke, he leads a prayer, and then we open gifts. Depending on the weather and who’s ill or not (in our puny family, someone is usually ill at this time of year and it’s usually me), we may also go to a Christmas Eve church service.
Do you have a Christmas morning tradition? We open our stockings on Christmas morning. Yes, although we are all adults, we still have stockings.
Do you have a real or artificial tree? Artificial. Each of us is allergic to pine and fir.
What tops your tree? An angel that includes tiny lights
What’s your favorite holiday quote? My husband goes around saying “Bah, humbug” and makes me laugh. He’s a very sweet and generous man.
What color lights do you put on your tree? We use multicolored lights on the tree and white lights on the outdoor hedges and decorations.
Do you wrap as you go or do you do a marathon wrapping ‘party?’ Both. I wrap some gifts as I go, then my husband and I have a wrapping party to finish.
Where would you spend the holiday if you could go anywhere in the world? I’d probably still stay home because Christmas is a family time. If I could take my family, we’d go to Ireland.
What is your favorite holiday book? Don’t have a single favorite, but love those Christmas stories of several friends like A GIFT BEYOND ALL MEASURE by Anna Kathryn Lanier, A SANTA FOR CHRISTMAS by Carra Copelin, and the WISHING FOR A COWBOY anthology edited by Cheryl Pierson and Livia J. Washburn that includes wonderful stories. I always like romance and happy endings, but at this time of year especially, I like stories full of hope and cheer. And I confess I read Christmas books year around. I’ll leave reading the angsty drama or fright books to someone else.
Do you have a favorite holiday decoration? I collect nativity sets, crosses, and angels. My husband brought me a nativity set from Israel that is very special. Another is from when I was a child back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. My eldest daughter made some wonderful crosses that I leave out year around.
If I’m allowed two, then it’s the tiny village my youngest daughter started for me about twenty years ago. She gave me new village buildings for several years and I bought more and a little N-gauge electric train to go with them. (I’d always wanted an electric train.) Now I have about four dozen homes and stores. The company that made them apparently went out of business or switched to something else, but I have a large enough village anyway.
If I’m allowed three, then there are some unique wooden ornaments my eldest daughter made using a scroll saw. She’s quite skilled and these are lovely. Most are angels, since I collect those.
What is your favorite holiday dish? My husband’s sweet potato casserole (recipe below). Actually, the recipe was given to him by an elderly friend who has long since passed away. I made it also, but he made it for so many fall church parties that people at our church called it “his” recipe and requested he bring it.
What is your favorite holiday treat (pie, cake, cookies, etc)? Millionaire Fudge, yum!
SWEET POTATO SOUFFLE
2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked (we use a large can)
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
¼ stick butter or margarine
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon (I don’t like nutmeg, so I omit it and double the cinnamon)
Mix all together and pour into buttered casserole and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with the topping:
¾ cups crushed corn flakes
½ cups chopped nuts
½ cup brown sugar
¾ stick butter or margarine, melted
Combine the topping ingredients and spread over sweet potatoes. Return to oven for ten minutes.
Storm Kincaid wants justice; Rena Dmitriev wants vengeance.
When Storm’s best friend and the friend’s wife are murdered, Storm secures a temporary appointment as Federal Marshal so he can capture the killers. He follows them to twenty one year old Rena’s home, which is in flames when he arrives. She has survived by following her elderly husband’s strict instructions and watched in hiding while the men murdered him. Storm intends to take her to the nearest town where she will be safe. She can identify the men who killed the person who had been her husband in name only and like a grandfather to her, and she vows to kill at least one of them. Whether or not Storm allows her to accompany him, she assures him she will go after the murderers. She is the only person alive who can identify the evil foursome whose policy has been to leave no witnesses. Storm agrees to take her with him. She’ll be safer with him to protect her than she would riding alone.
As a powerful and passionate love blossoms, they unite to rescue three orphaned children, fight the elements, and encounter the killers. Will their love be enough to protect them?
She emerged from the brush straightening her trousers and shoving her pistol back into her waistband. “Where do you think those men are going?”
“Indian Territory. They’ll steal all they can before they reach the Red River and leave no survivors to identify them. They’re selling off the stolen stock along the way, so that will slow them some.” He wondered if she knew how to use the gun.
“But I saw their faces.”
He sent her what he hoped was a frightening stare. “If they knew that, you’d be dead for sure.”
She shivered, but glared at him. “Do not think to frighten me. I will do everything I can to kill these men and reclaim my gold and my mother’s locket. It is not that I care about the jewelry that once belonged to Abram’s wife. But to him, it meant a great deal, and I want it because he gave it to me.”
Storm wanted to shake her. Not that he hadn’t lived all his life with stubborn women. At least his oldest sister Pearl made sense. He’d worried about shy Sarah, especially when she’d appeared head over heels with a con man. Now that Sarah and Nate were married, she had life figured out. Nate had surprised everyone, even himself. Storm suppressed a smile and worked up his anger again at his traveling companion.
“We can be in Llano by nightfall. We’ll get a couple of rooms there and you can rest.”
She shot him a suspicious glare. “You think to abandon me in that town. If we stay somewhere, we will be in the same room so I can watch you.”
Shocked, Storm wondered what he could do with this woman. “We wouldn’t be allowed to stay in a decent hotel. You want to sleep over a saloon? Besides that, folks will be shocked when they see you in those trousers. You want people to think you’re a fallen woman?”
With her chin raised, she placed her hands on her hips. “I am a good woman. You can tell them we are married and I wear britches to ride more easily.” She held up her hand and wiggled her fingers. “I have a wedding band, see?”
He raised his hands and backed up a step. “Oh, no. I’m not even pretending to be married. If I were ready to marry, which I’m not, I’d pick a woman who knew when to let a man do his job.”
“Ha, and when I recover my dowry, I will marry a man who knows a woman can do as much as a man.”
He swept a formal bow. “And when you marry, will you be wearing the lovely gown you now wear?”
She appeared angry enough to use that Colt on him. “You are wrong to…to talk so. I do not have the English words to tell you what I think, but do not try to leave me behind. If you do, I will go after the men alone.”
Disgusted, Storm stomped over and retrieved the horses. “Then let’s go.”
They rode into Llano in late afternoon. Since they arrived mid week, the town appeared peaceful and quiet. Storm spotted a hotel by the livery he remembered.
“If you’re determined to stick to me like glue, let’s stable the horses.”
At the stable, she staggered when she dismounted and he thought she might fall. He grabbed her arms. “Steady. You’re not used to riding so long.”
“Ja, my legs do not work so well. Do not worry, I will be fine in a minute.”
She remained quiet while he dealt with the hostler and insured his rifle and saddle would be safe. He threw his saddlebags over his shoulder and retrieved the two pillowcases and box he’d tied to the saddle pommel. They ambled the block toward the hotel.
He indicated a mercantile. “Just what we need. After we get our room, let’s head for that store before it closes. You probably need to replace a few things that burned.” When she glared at him. “I’ll give you the money, all right? I don’t want folks thinking my wife runs around in men’s clothes. If anyone gets nosy, tell them you lost your bag crossing a river.”
She sniffed and sashayed as if she wore a ball gown instead of ill-fitting men’s trousers. “I will keep track and repay you when I kill those men.”
Buy links for THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP are:
Smashwords for e-book https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/361261?ref=CarolineClemmons
Amazon for print or e-book