31 Wicked Days of Xmas With Monica Burns

  • What is next for you book wise in 2013?

I’ve got a couple things planned, which I’m really excited about.  Beginning with the second week of December I’ll be writing full-time, which means my productivity will go up, and that means more books. Currently I’m working on revisions to a backlist book called Love’s Revenge, which I hope to have ready shortly after the first of the year.

Once Love’s Revenge is finished, I’ll be working to finish my first BDSM book with a male submissive, which is the first in a series, thanks to my friend Joey Hills’s subliminal suggestion. The title in tentatively set as His Mistress, no cover yet, but I’ve got something special in mind. After that, I plan to revise a story that I love, yet never crossed an editor’s desk. I now understand why, and I want to make sure Nicholas and Victoria have their day in the sun.

  • Do you have a favorite book of 2012?

I’ve had three releases this year, Kismet, Obsession and A Bluestocking Christmas. I love all three of them, but I think I love A Bluestocking Christmas best because of the battle of words Simon and Ivy have in the dance they do around each other. One of them (it’s usually Simon who initiates the duel of words) will quote a famous person such as Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde or other giant of their time and their efforts to outwit the other is something I loved writing. Simon is so wickedly dangerous in his determination to seduce Ivy. The book has a ghost who shows Ivy her past, present and future, in a Dickens fashion, and the ghost is a new character, and I love the twist at the end.

  • What is your favorite holiday food?

Oh lord, I have so many. We bake and cook like crazy over the holidays, so I’m not sure I can pick one over the other. If my life were hanging on the answer, I suppose I’d have to say apple salad. It’s my mom’s recipe, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only time of year that I make it. It’s sooo delicious.

  • Least favorite holiday song?

White Christmas. Yes, I know, it’s a classic, and I don’t despise it, but it’s just not my cup of tea, unless it’s the Neil Diamond version, which is cheery and has a good beat.

  • Do you have any holiday family traditions?

Well, we have a lot of traditions. And I do mean a lot.

We host an advent service in the home each of the four Sundays before Christmas. This small service started with my parents more than forty-five years ago. After the service, everyone picks their favorite song and we sing it. We start with the youngest and work backward. Afterwards, we have homemade cookies, eggnog and cocoa. I don’t know what the kids look forward to the most, the singing of the Christmas carols or treats.

Christmas cookie baking usually starts around the end of October. My youngest and I bake like mad, freezing the cookies for giveaway to friends, co-workers and for eating at all of advent services.

When I was a girl, my mom made this cool felt Christmas Advent calendar to hang on the wall. There were 24 pockets at the bottom, and each pocket held a small ornament to hang on the green Christmas tree directly above. Along with the ornament, there was a small piece of candy. I made that special memory mine as I made my own advent calendar, and my girls love the tradition. Our dogs do to, because they’re always sitting below the calendar hanging on the wall every morning to get the treat I stick inside for them.

I do the annual Christmas letter, although unfortunately our list keeps shrinking as we get older. Letter writing is a lost art in our technology era, but I had a strict teacher in the art. My maternal grandmother was an English teacher for 33 years. Every year, I’d send my annual Christmas letter to friends and family, and my grandmother would always send mine back with errors circled and a grade at the top. Receiving my grade from her was a treat every January. I started out with C’s but the January before she died, I earned my first and only A+ from her. I’ll treasure that letter and memory until the day I die.

Cheeseballs are another tradition that my husband and I do together. We make a couple of different recipes and hand them out over the holidays to friends, teachers, and coworkers. People always ask when they can expect cookies and cheeseballs at work.

  • Worst gift you ever received?

Most of my terrible gifts came from my mother-in-law. I think she deliberately went out of her way to find hideous clothing items for me. One year she got me this wool sweater in this horrible brownish maroon color. The shirt was incredibly itching (my skin doesn’t like wool) and the color looked horrible on me. The MIL would ask me throughout winter why she didn’t see me wearing the sweater. I was too polite to say I hated it. LOL

  • Worst gift you ever gave?

I don’t know that I’ve ever given a bad present. When I buy a present for someone, I buy based on their personal tastes. I knew my MIL loved Johnny Mathias, and I bought her an album of his. She loved it. My husband is a huge Disney fan, so I look for difficult to find Disney items to give him.

  • Favorite holiday memory?

As a kid, my parent always had a fresh cut tree with these big blue lights on it. I loved those Christmas trees. There was something magical about them. Still is. When my Mom died on December 19th in 1998, I had spent a long night in the hospital and then an even longer day dealing with all the funeral arrangements. I was three hours away from my home, and my life was in chaos. My dad had died in ’88, so my mom’s death hit me hard. I wanted to go back twenty years to when I was a little girl again, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

So I made the three-hour trip back to Richmond to collect my own family so we could return to my mother’s hometown for her funeral the following day. I don’t remember much of that drive home, other than I knew there was so much to be done still when it came to getting ready for Santa’s arrival in a few days. Santa hadn’t finalized presents, the house wasn’t completely decorated, there were cookies still to be made, and I was feeling lost, alone and grief-stricken.

When I opened the front door of our house, the first thing I noticed was the scent of fresh pine. Due to my mom’s illness we’d put off the traditional family outing to select the perfect tree. Now, as I opened the front door I was greeted with the crisp, fresh aroma of an evergreen tree. As I entered the living room, I saw a beautiful Frasier fir adorned with those big fat blue lights, just like I remembered as a kid. All our special family ornaments were on the tree. The rocking horse baby ornaments with our daughters’ names on them, the glass pipe that had belonged to my great grandfather, the special ornaments we bought at different vacation spots, and our Lenox ornaments.

The hubby and our friends had gone into overdrive while I was with my mom for her last moments. They had just finished decorating the tree when I walked through that door. Everyone had come to the house to greet me and to show me how much I was loved. I remember sobbing as first my husband and then one friend after another gave me hugs of love and sympathy. As bittersweet as that memory is, it’s one I shall cherish as long as I live.

  • If you could share one lesser known fact about yourself to our readers, what will it be?

My husband and I have bought three houses based solely on my intuitive capabilities. I’ve had dreams about who will buy our house and dreamed about what our next house will look like. I’m on the money each time. Just wish I could do that with the lottery.

  • Weirdest thing you collect?

I collect swords (life-size replicas), Star Trek Christmas ornaments and other items, Egyptian items. They’re not weird to me, but I’m sure they are to other people. LOL

Giveaway Details: Two winners – their choice of either Obsession or A Bluestocking Christmas eBook Only. Just tell Monica what weird thing you collect!

**Monica has a a FREE full-length book available on Amazon http://amzn.to/Ux0OMH and NOOK/other eReaders can download the ePub file on my site. http://ow.ly/ffNMT**

  • Arianne Jakstas December 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

    It’s funny how the smell of a fresh tree can make a happy memory push away the sad, isn’t it? I collect Whedon-esque items. And I love finding random pieces of bellydance costumes from shows I perform at…you know, those little sparklies that just fall off? I have glass vase full of them…

  • JenM December 6, 2012 at 11:09 am

    What a lovely, but bittersweet holiday memory. I don’t really collect anything other than books. These days, I love the fact that I can keep them in ebook format. That way, I know they are there, but they don’t take up any physical space (I have a very small house).

  • erinf1 December 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post. I don’t really collect anything but books 🙂

  • PJ Schnyder December 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Collecting swords is not weird to me. I kind of <3 you even more. 😉

  • Janie McGaugh December 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Star Wars action figures!

  • Brenda H. December 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    It’s not really weird, at least I don’t think it is, but I collect sun and moon items–I even had one of my son’s friends paint me a picture of a moon through a group of trees. I love anything celestial:)

  • Texas Book Lover December 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    I collect cobalt blue glass in all shapes and sizes…my favorites are the bottles. I don’t think it is weird though.

    Thanks so much for the free download!

  • Lily B December 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    not sure if it’s weird, I collect beads 😀

  • Little Lamb Lost December 9, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I collect other friends’ family recipes.

  • Little Lamb Lost December 9, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I collect other friends’ family recipes.

  • Denise Z December 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing this lovely post with us today. I do not think swords are weird at all – in my dreams they are all over my office walls 😉 I love odd kitchen gadgets and the weirder the better; they just make me smile.

  • bn100 December 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I don’t collect weird things.

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