Merry Christmas (blog hopping)!!!

I haven’t posted in a while, not for lack of meaningful observations, but rather a lack of hours in the day. I recently participated in (but did not win) the 2012 NaNoWriMo challenge. An annual event in which you “win” by creating a minimum 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I ended at around 45,000 and wasn’t thrilled about it, but  I reminded myself that the story didn’t disappear, I just couldn’t articulate it in thirty days.

I’ve narrowed it down to two reasons for coming up short. First, was a five-day trip to my home state of Nebraska. I just didn’t feel like turning on the computer while I was on vacation and I wouldn’t trade the experience of that trip for an extra hundred days of writing.

The second reason; I was in the editing process for my first novel, The Greatest Gift. I constantly wrestled with editing to finish it sooner vs. continuing toward the aforementioned 50,000 word goal. My pride was the only thing that won. I completed neither task.

At the invitation of my editor, Steph Dagg, I am writing today about said first novel. She is conducting a Christmas Blog Hop (please see all links below) and was kind enough to invite me along. We first connected via Twitter and have been able to conduct the editing process via email (mostly – I may have some unresolved file size limitations on my side – sorry, Steph).

The Story

The Greatest Gift…some journeys are priceless, is a fictional tale involving three characters, each on their own separate journey to answer something for themselves. Their lives become intertwined in ways predictable and in one way none of them could have imagined.

Its rooted in the familiar concepts of faith, hope, and love, but told with what I believe is more of a soft brush than a message-heavy hammer.  If you’re interested in relationships, coffee, soccer, some mildly nefarious plot hurdles, and/or finding things where you’re least likely to look, then you might enjoy The Greatest Gift.

The cover design is currently undergoing a slight revision, but the photo within the design, taken in my hometown by my father, remains. I asked if he could capture some nature shots for me and the bridge was among several he took. I liked it immediately as all three of my characters were pondering some sort of metaphorical bridge crossing.

The Journey

My original hope for this blog was to encourage others to join a conversation to recognize moments that matter. I read other blogs myself, so I realize now it might have been a bit ambitious to hope people would have time to comment on my posts. That said, I see another route to the same destination. The journey to writing, editing, and publishing has already brought me in contact with individuals I might not have otherwise encountered; a high-school classmate and fellow writer, a book editor living in France on a llama farm, a gentleman from the East Coast of the United States, who operates an online Christian gift store, and the countless others I hope to meet as the ride continues. There’s no way of knowing if people will enjoy reading what you’ve written, but so far, my journey has been priceless. I’ll keep writing.

Merry Christmas!

Now, since this is a Christmas Blog Hop, in the spirit of the forthcoming holiday, I’m giving away two books: One to the first US reader who emails me the character name of the father from the 1983 Christmas classic, A Christmas Story.

And one more to the first UK (or non-US) friend who emails the fictional character cited by Hugh Grant during his press conference scene as Prime Minister in another holiday classic, Love Actually.

Note:Winners, please be patient as the paperbacks won’t be available until after the e-book release. In exchange for your patience, I’ll send your copy of the novel in a cigar box of my choosing (one of the novel’s characters enjoys cigars).

Please send your answer along with your full mailing address to me at:

I’ve lined up some guest-posters for this blog, including Steph Dagg, so look for her adventures from France soon. Please feel free to scroll down to see who else participated in the hop. Merry Christmas!

Blog in France Bloghop

A Flamingo in Utrecht
Expat Christmas
Word By Word
Vive Trianon
Fifty Shades of Greg
Books Are Cool
Perpignan Post
Jive Turkish
Very Bored in Catalunya
Life on La Lune
Scribbler in Seville
Blog in France Christmas
Les Fragnes Christmas
ReadEng. Didi’s Press
Steve Bichard .com
Edit My Book
Zombie Christmas
Christmas in Cordoba
The best Christmas blog ever
The Christmas Surprise.
Sci-fi Writer Jeno Marz
The best Christmas quilting blog ever
Painting in Tuscany
The Business of Life…
Funny tweets
we’ve got a new house but no stuff and it’s Christmas
Paris Cheapskate
What about your saucepans?
When I Wasn’t Home for Christmas or Celebrating
ShockWaves Launch Party
The French Village Diaries
Melanged Magic
Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France – An English Girl in Granada
Bordeaux Bumpkin
French immersion
Callaloo Soup
Grigory Ryzhakov
Piglet in Portugal
Beyond MÃnana
Chronicles of M Blog

19 thoughts on “Merry Christmas (blog hopping)!!!

    1. Thanks for reading 🙂 I’ll stick with it. I’m slogging through final edits for The Greatest Gift tonight. One of my favorite quotes about writing: “There are no novels, only rewrites.” It’s not my quote, and it’s creator escapes me, but oh so true. 🙂

  1. Steven:
    Great blog! I always took pride in my trivia answer “Grover Dill” ( What is the name of the toadie in the Christmas Story), but the name of the Dad escapes me. Keep up the good work! Love, Dad

  2. I’ll be emailing you the answer to the ‘Love Actually’ question…one of my very favorite movies! I lived in Iowa for several years before moving to France last year. Sorry…I’m a Cyclone fan! Where in Nebraska do you call home??

    1. Hi Evelyn,Thanks for reading 🙂 I grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska in the Northeast corner of the state. I also grew up watching Nebraska compete against Iowa State. Football was a bit lopsided, but Johnny Orr always had great basketball programs at ISU (see: Jeff Hornacek). Congrats on your move to France and retirement, I’m envious – I’m following your blog, Melanged Magic now too and I look forward to reading more about your adventures.Have a great day!-Steve

  3. Uh oh, can’t answer either question. Luckily I’ve read your beautiful book already 🙂 Thanks for joining in the blog hop. And I think you were quite right to let NaNoWriMo slide for a few days while you were on holiday. Family time is so important. Hopefully you’ll make the 50,000 words in next year’s edition!

    1. Steph,
      Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words about the book 🙂 It’s been a treat to be part of the blog hop, so thanks again, for inviting me. I’ve already connected with several people I didn’t know existed yesterday. I appreciate you taking time to organize it and bring people together.
      So right about family time. An few extra hours or a few thousand extra words doesn’t amount to anything in the grand scheme, does it?
      Merry Christmas to you and your family!

      P.S. Will you edit this post? I don’t think I used “just” a single time. 🙂

  4. Oh goodness, I’ve not watched Love Actually for ages! Sounds like you did great with NaNo. I had a book finishing month to get ready for my launch. Glad to say I just about won with that one.
    You are so right that the literary journey has introduced us to so many kind, helpful people we might otherwise never have met.
    Wishing you a successful 2013.
    Suz x

    1. Thanks Suzanna 🙂
      Love Actually is a Christmas staple – it just tells so many neat stories in one film. The spot-on humour doesn’t hurt either!
      Good luck with the book launch – keep me posted.
      I wish you success in 2013 as well, Keep Writing!

      1. The trouble with writing ‘stream of consciousness’ style, is that I spend the next month deleting it all. I’m a slow, get it right as you’re going writer – and then I rewrite anyway lol. But I’m looking forward to getting back into writing – this launch business has taken up all my time 😦

  5. What a shame you did not complete NaNoWriMo…so near and yet so far.
    The only reason I completed it was I am pig headed and the more people said you can’t or give it up it’s making you ill (I had a chest infection and I went to France for 8 Days)the more I continued long in to the night writing. I wrote using the stream of conciousness technique and it worked! I’m not at 60,000 owrds and still going 🙂

    Boas Festas e Feliz Natal from sunny Portugal!

    1. Greetings, pigletinportugal

      Thanks for stopping by the blog and posting 🙂 Congrats on gritting out the 60k words. I’m envious on the “stream of consciousness” writing. Sometimes I can overthink a single sentence for far too long…

      Merry Christmas to you as well, from sunny San Diego, CA, USA!

    1. Hi Liese,

      An odd piece of trivia for sure. Darin McGavin is actually listed in the credits as “The Old Man”. I had another reader email with that response earlier, but I love Christmas, so would you settle for an e-copy once its available?

      Don’t get me started on lines from the movie! It was a staple at my house, growing up, and still part of the tradition today. “It’s a klinkerrrrr, &!#@$%!”

      Thanks for stopping by to read and post, I appreciate it. By the way, I’m still looking forward to finding a free evening to enjoy my prize from you, Reindeer Wars I promise to get to it soon 🙂
      Merry Christmas!

  6. Sounds like a very respectable effort at Nano to me, well done and bonne continuation. I didn’t do it, but decided to start writing a story into my blog as a kind of tribute to it – something very different for me as my blog is usually book reviews. Happy BlogHopping!

    1. Claire,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and post. Nano is a peculiar beast – the 50k words wouldn’t be the end of the story, but there’s just something about reaching it to say you did. It does provide a bit of traction for the rest of the story too. Best of luck with your story too. I’ll check out your blog as well. Merry Christmas 🙂

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