You Know Christmas is Coming When . . .

Christmas AnthologyMy newest release, WESTERN WINTER WONDERLAND, has hit the shelves! 

 You may already know this is a Christmas anthology with my long-time pal, Cheryl St. John, and Jenna Kernan.  Cheryl and I first met each other about 1990 or so before either of us was published.  I joined her critique group, and over the years, I learned tons with her–and from her.  She went on to sell, and while it took me a few years longer, I eventually sold, too.  When I learned I’d be joining her and Jenna in a Christmas anthology, well, it seemed fitting. 

You see, I’ve always wanted to do a Christmas anthology.  Right along with getting my first letter from prison, being invited to do a Christmas anthology made me feel like a real writer.  It’s an honorable thing being invited, and while this one wasn’t my first (I was part of the Spring Brides, June 2005, by Harlequin Historicals), the fact that it was Christmas made the opportunity extra special.

Besides, anthologies give authors lots of extra exposure. The three of us will split the royalties on this book, but our publisher increased the print run substantially to help offset the shared monies. Also, it’s a good opportunity for a newer author to be featured with bigger-name author(s) to help her build recognition.

Since Christmas has always been magical for me, I wanted a story that would affect my readers the same way. Our editors asked two things of us–each tale must include a child and a recipe. Easy enough. After all, what would Christmas be without children and our best recipes?  A little research, my Sicilian grandmother’s special rosette cookie, the fanciful legend surrounding it and voila!  ONE MAGIC EVE was born.

The past several years have shown the popularity of Christmas anthologies.  Readers love the quick novellas and the variety of stories in one book to flavor the mood of the holiday.  Some books are connected in some way; some have specific themes; some have each story stand alone, as WESTERN WINTER WONDERLAND does.  Authors love the novellas because they’re fast and relatively easy to write (25,000 – 30,000 words, roughly 1/3 of a manuscript), have fewer characters and a straightforward plot.  Of course, the books are chock-full of romance.

October signals the month when Christmas books start filling the shelves.  Last month, I noticed in my B & N that a dump (those cardboard, free-standing displays with pockets filled with books) had holiday-themed books, and the pockets were already looking skimpy.

Here’s a few of this year’s romantic holiday anthologies:

Stockingful of Joy–Mary Jo Putney, Jill Barnett, Susan King, Justine Dare 

The Morgue, the Merrier–Rosemary Laurey, Dianne Castell, Karen Kelley 

Christmas Spirit (re-issue)–Leigh Greenwood, Elaine Fox, Linda Windstead 

I’m Your Santa–Lori Foster, Karen Kelley, Dianne Castell

Santa Baby–Lisa Jackson, Elaine Coffman, Lisa Plumley, Kylie Adams 

A Very Merry Christmas–Lori Foster, Janice Maynard, Gemma Bruce 

And, oh, did I tell you WESTERN WINTER WONDERLAND, by Cheryl St. John, Jenna Kernan and Pam CChristmas Anthologyrooks was available, too?

Some authors who are really big names have Christmas anthologies featuring only *their* stories.  Now, wouldn’t that be nice?  Here’s a couple:

Christmas Wishes–Debbie Macomber

The Gift–Nora Roberts

If any of the Founding Fillies have recent Christmas anthologies to add to my list, by all means, let’s hear from you!

And now, I’m curious.  Do y’all enjoy these romantic novellas?  Do you give them as gifts?  Do you have a favorite?  Or do you prefer something longer and bigger that you can sink your teeth into?:

Let us know, and I’ll put you in a drawing for a copy of WESTERN WINTER WONDERLAND, signed by me, Cheryl AND Jenna!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

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Pam has written 30 romances, most of them historical westerns. Her newest sweet historical romance, HARRIETT, was the launch book for the popular Cupids & Cowboys series, More books are coming! Stay up on the latest at www.pamcrooks.com

54 thoughts on “You Know Christmas is Coming When . . .”

  1. Hey Pam! You have hit on one of my favorite things — anthologies. I absolutely love reading them. They are quick, you get a variety, and usually there’s a new author to try. And Christmas anthologies are right there at the top (along with wedding ones). Who doesn’t love a great love story during the season of miracles? And thanks for the list of of the ones being release this year. Sounds like a great batch!

  2. I love Christmas stories. I have to say I never used to read anthologies till this year. And I’m glad that I have started reading them.

  3. I love anthologies, too! I’ve found many a new author that way. Some of my favorites are the Lady Whistledown anthologies. I like the way they were sort of linked together by one specific event. I love Christmas anthologies, too. They help to put me in the Christmas spirit!

  4. I love reading anthologies! I have some Christmas books on my tbr list that I have been holding to read till it gets a little closer to Christmas.

  5. I like anthologies. You get to read stories from a variety of authors and the stories are shorter so if you don’t have a lot of time to read you can get your romance fix for the day by reading a novella. I love the Christmas anthologies.

  6. I have always loved Christmas stories. I’ve even written a couple of them…one is being published … but it’s a YEAR from next March. So, I deleted the Christmas references and had my school marm heroine have an Easter Pageant instead. It all worked fine
    All great Christmas stories have what I think of as a ‘Linus Moment’ That moment in the Charlie Brown Christmas when Linus answers Charlie Browns cry of anguish about the meaning of Christmas by quoting from the Biblical Christmas Story. “A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.”
    That moment isn’t always rooted in faith but it is ALWAYS about sharing and love and powerful.
    I read series of books by Karen Kingbury a few Christmases ago called The Red Gloves Series.
    Only read these if you want to cry your heart out.
    Wow, true meaning of Christmas indeed.

  7. Pam – I love novellas. They are great short reads with full-size stories. That’s what I like most – I can read one quickly and enjoy the full experience and each author brings something fresh and compelling to their own stories!!

  8. I like Christmas stories. There’s something hopeful in the air when you read them.

    I’ve not read many anthologies and I’m not sure why. I don’t have a lot of time for reading, so when I do it is either for research or someone’s book I’ve picked up for a particular reason. But since I’m taking a trip this month, I’ll have to find that anthology and read it along with a couple other books I plan to read on the trip.

  9. Good morning, ladies! It’s good to hear you love anthologies. That rings true with why publishers are putting so many of them out every year.

    Buffie, you’re welcome for the list. And those are only romance. There’s inspirational ones, too, that I noticed and didn’t list.

    Stacy, glad you’ve started reading the anthologies. Welcome to our world. 🙂

    Andrea, you’re right. They really do help put you in the spirit of the season. I wrote ONE MAGIC EVE in January and February, so I got to extend the Christmas holiday–at least in my mind!

  10. I love anthologies for those times when I have a short attention span, or am feeling a little burnt-out from reading. Something short and sweet is usually all I need to pull me out of my funk. I think that’s why these Christmas anthologies are so popular. I mean, who doesn’t have a full-plate and a short attention span around the holiday season?

    And don’t enter me in the drawing. Got the book, read it already and loved it.

  11. Amy and Crystal, great to hear from you!

    And Mary, having an Easter story is a pleasant switch. Despite the commercialism of Christmas, Easter is actually the holiest of the two days. And yet, many employers don’t recognize it as a holiday. Isn’t that sad?

    Hey, Charlene! Does your Desire line ever do anthologies?

    Paty, I hope you do find time to read our anthology. Taking a trip is a great way to get caught up on books. Where are you heading?

  12. Wendy, you’ve already read our book? Yay! Thank you! Your comment ‘something short and sweet’ caught my eye. None of our stories have a love scene in them, tho mine fades to black. For those of you who are ardent anthology readers, do the novellas often have love scenes? Or are love scenes the exception?

  13. I love anthologies as much as I love novels. Over the summer I read three Christmas anthologies! Maybe that had to do with the higher than normal temperatures. 🙂

    All three had love scenes, but all that matters to me is that the story is good.

  14. Like everyone else I like anthologies especially during the holidays themselves-fast, easy reads and yours will have recipes, they’re fun to collect too. LOL I seem to collect lots of recipes.

  15. Pam, big congrats to you, Cheryl, and Jenna!! I know the anthology is going to be a keeper because you girls are extremely talented writers. I LOVE anthologies and especially Christmas ones. Rarely does a writer have time to read when she’s racing a deadline, but anthologies fulfill my craving.

    Three stories featuring a child and a recipe…sounds like ingredients for special heartwarming tales. My kind of story. I’ve got to get to the bookstore before they sell out!

    I hope Santa delivers outstanding sales for you, Cheryl, and Jenna! 🙂 Just in case, never hurts to bribe him with milk and cookies. 😉

  16. I love reading christmas stories! But I don’t think I have read any of those books on your list. I’ve read one book called Santa Baby, but I think it wasn’t the one you mentioned.

  17. I love anthologies and Christmas theme books. If I win I’ll send my other copy of AWWW to one of my dear friends.
    I’M GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW! How did you know I wanted an autographed copy of AWWW to be among my wedding gifts? 🙂

  18. I love Christmas anthologies as I get to know more than one author. I have met some beautiful authors this past year. I have also begun passing my books on after I’ve read them. I have a Christmas one from last year I plan to give as a gift this year.
    This Christmas will be a hard one for me. My oldest daughter is in middle of a divorce and relocated 11 hours away from me. We are still connected via cell phone.
    My youngest is living with her boyfriend and he has two kids. But those family Christmas of the past memories is all I have this year.
    I am laid up with an ankle fusion and won’t even be able to decorate this year. So I will have to do lots of reading to keep my spirits up.God Bless you.

  19. Re: love scenes in anthology short stories

    A lot of the contemporary anthologies do feature love scenes – and obviously any anthology billed as “erotic” 😉 For my money, I tend to prefer my historical anthologies to be “sweet” – but that’s personal preference. Certainly authors like Bertrice Small, Susan Johnson and Thea Devine have written historical anthologies that featured plenty of naughty bits. Just depends I think.

    And I really enjoyed the book! One of the strongest anthologies I’ve ever read. I highly, highly recommend it as a Christmas Eve read for those of you who won’t be busy putting together toys.

  20. I love Christmas stories, short ones or long ones, it doesn’t matter. I read a lot so am always looking for new material.

  21. I love Christmas anthologies. One book and 3-4 authors, it’s just perfect when there isn’t time for more. Great authors and thanks for the list!

  22. Susan, 3 anthologies this summer? LOL. And all with love scenes–wow! Hope the characters knew each other well enough first!

    Barbs and Minna, glad to hear from you!

    Jane S., hugs! Don’t be discouraged. Christmas is a long ways away. Who knows what can happen by then? But you’re right–do lots of reading to take your mind off the changes in your life.

  23. Linda,

    I was hoping you’d pop on! You have a different kind of anthology coming out in February. I’d love to hear how you got in on that one, and with Jodi Thomas, no less!

    Hi, Tracy! Great to see you here!

  24. Melissa! You’re getting married? Wow–congratulations! You’ll be living your own wonderland, then, won’t you?

    Wendy, I’m with you. A short story doesn’t really have time to build in the sexual tension necessary to make a really satisfying love scene. But then, I tend to make my characters work for the sex. 🙂

  25. I do enjoy Christmas stories and the anthologies are fun because they are quick to read at a busy time of the year.

  26. I like to read these kinds of stories during the holiday season. These help me get in the spirit because living here in Arizona just doesn’t seem like it was back home. They make great gifts with a nite-lite for reading. I like them to be short stories so I can read alot more.

  27. I love Christmas stories. This past year I started reading anthologies and I think they’re great. A Christmas anthology is perfect because they’re quick reads when there’s not much time to do much else.

  28. Mel, you’re getting married TOMORROW!?? You were holding out on us until the last minute. Sending hugs and best wishes. Send me a picture!

    Pam, I remember 1990 fondly. We were in our teens then, right? LOL I’m tickled to pieces that we were able to do this project together.

    The years that I don’t enter an anthology in the RITA, I often like to judge. There’s an art to writing a fulfilling story in that word length, so I appreciate those who do it so well.

  29. Jane, my heart goes out to you. I hope your fond memories and some good books will keep your spirits up through the holidays. Life is all about change, isn’t it? We think we’ve just our path straightened out and we come to yet another curve. {{{HUGS}}}

  30. I love anthologies. I read a lot and have trouble putting most books down until I get to the end so the anthologies are perfect since they are sort stories. I love Christmas stories and those about the west.

  31. I like any Christmas story but around Christmas there is so much to do that I really like the shorter stories so I can have a start, middle and end quickly

  32. I love anthologies…they often introduce me to new authors. I am also a mood reader (meaning I pick a book based on what kind of mood I am in) so sometimes I want a long story and other times I want a quick read. I sometimes read a novella in between other longer books or when I don’t have a lot of time for reading and want to finish a whole story.

    I especially love Christmas anthologies…something magical about that time of year and I love seeing it as a theme in romances. I read them year-round.

  33. Hi Pam,
    I can’t wait to go to the bookstore and get this anthology. I love all your books and I can’t wait to read this one! I can’t think of a better way to get a jump start on the Christmas season! PS: I love this blog! Nice job!

  34. I’ve never read an anthology before Winter Wonderland. It was wonderful! I’m a changed person. I will definately read more. All three stories were beautiful. My only regret – I wanted more. I became so attached to Marvel, Abby and Sonja I didn’t want their stories to end. Great work ladies!

  35. I love anthologies especially around christmas when you don’t have as much time to read a long
    story. Sometimes I do hate to see the story end if it is really good though.

  36. LOL! Thanks, Pam. I will be in Wonderland!

    “You were holding out on us until the last minute.”
    Yessssss, Cheryl. Would have told you day after tomorrow. Will be a bit busy tomorrow. *g*
    Will have pics. and will send. xxoo

  37. I love Christmas anthologies and love to give them as gifts. Anthologies are a great way to try a new author’s works to see if their writing style is your cup of tea. My birthday is October 8th and we are heading out of town to celebrate with my family at the end of this week and I have some anthologies on my travel reading pile. I am looking forward to getting some reading done.

  38. Joye, a book and a nite lite–what a great idea for a gift! Thanks for mentioning it.

    Noelle! What a nice surprise to hear from you. I’m glad you stopped by.

    Sherri, you read the book already? I’m delighted you enjoyed the stories, you sweet thing.

    Jennifer, you’re right. Mood is everything, isn’t it, and so is time.

  39. I love to read anthologies. My favorite Christmas one is Merry Christmas, Baby! It has 6 different authors contributing to it. (Donna Kauffman, Nancy Warren, Erin McCarthy, MaryJanice Davidson,Lucy Monroe and Susanna Carr) This is a greatlist of authors.

  40. I love christmas novels in general… it just puts you in the spirit of the holidays. I know I generally appreciate Joan Hohl’s christmas books 🙂

  41. I love these antholgies… my fav is a Regency Holiday, edited in 1991, by Jove with Elizabeth Mansfield.

  42. To be honest I’ve not given them a chance yet but I do have some in my tbr pile. I usually like the longer books – want to get to really know the characters. I also wanted to let you know I just love that cover!!

  43. I have never read christmas anthologies… I know maybe I am the only one! But my library is not a fanatic of them so I don’t get the chance to read them.

  44. Pam, Loved the anthology. Looking forward to finding some of the others listed in your blog. Thank you all so much for provided the readers with a wonderful escape to an imanginary place with wonderful settings and characters.

  45. Pam, sorry for the slow response. Glad you asked about my upcoming anthology with Jodi Thomas, Phyliss Miranda, and DeWanna Pace. I was so overjoyed when Jodi asked me to be a part of Give Me a Texan. It’s a huge honor I think. Just to have my name linked with hers is a great gift. She just approached me, said she liked my writing voice and style, and wanted to know if I’d consider it. Of course, it only took me a half second to decide. 🙂 It’s my dream come true. I’ve admired her work since forever. I hope everyone tunes in Saturday when Jodi is guest blogging here and also look for the anthology when it comes out in February.

    I didn’t write a love scene in my story and I think Jodi just had a very short scene in bed. But they are husband and wife so I guess it’s kinda expected in that case. Don’t think Phyliss or DeWanna had any either, but I’ve slept since we wrote these.

  46. Teresa W, an anthology with 6 authors is unusual, but yes, what a list. I love Mary Janice Davidson!

    Nathalie, I must admit I didn’t know Christmas anthologies went back so far! 1991–wow! And you still have it is equally amazing. Must’ve been an awesome one, eh?

    Jeanne and Lila, I hope you get to read your first anthology very soon. This is a great time of year to give them a try. 🙂

    Connie, GREAT to hear from you, as always.

  47. Linda,

    I’ve always been curious how you teamed up with Jodi, and now I know! Yes, what an honor! She’s a true Southern lady. Your book is sure to fly off the shelves in February, especially with that hunky cowboy on the cover!

    I’m so-o excited to have Jodi blog for us Saturday. It’s sure to be awesome!

  48. I love anthologies ~ especially holiday ones. Last week I read The Morgue, the Merrier by Rosemary Laurey, Dianne Castell and Karen Kelley ~ it was a fun read. I first saw a WESTERN WINTER WONDERLAND at Cheryl’s site and I’ve got it on my list.

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