This week, the heat index here in Florida has been over 100 degrees. It’s hard to breathe air that feels like soup…or think about snow and Christmas and caroling. But that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. You see, I’m writing a Christmas story, which means I’m writing about snowball fights when a snowball would melt in approximately point 2 seconds outside. But that’s actually kind of fun, writing about Christmas when everything isn’t all Christmas all the time. Well, I think some stores have Christmas stuff out already, but I frankly think that is ridiculous.
You might be wondering why I’m talking about writing a Christmas story on a Western-themed blog. It’s because despite the fact that we talk a lot about things like ranches, rodeos and cowboys here, the West is actually a pretty big tent and encompasses a lot of different lifestyles that might not be ranch- or rodeo-centric but is very much at home in the Western landscape.
My Christmas story, A Merry Mountain Christmas, takes place in Montana just like my Once Upon a Western series for Tule Publishing. It’s not set in the same town because I needed a different locale and a different feel and landscape. My westerns for Tule take place in the Paradise Valley, so basically flat ranch land between mountain ranges. I needed this Christmas story to take place in a picturesque mountain village with plenty of snow and a ski slope. So it’s roughly set in the area where real-life Big Sky, Montana is, though it’s also sort of inspired by some ski villages I’ve been to in North Carolina.
In this story, we have a classic city girl meets small-town boy, but with a twist. The town is called Merry and it’s on Yule Mountain, and so of course it’s the town where it’s Christmas all year round. Here you’ll find businesses such as the Elf House toy store, the Silver Bells Bakery and Kris Kringle’s (the other bakery, because you can never have too many sweet treats for Christmas, right?), the Candy Cane Cafe, the Evergreen Inn and a huge, magical Christmas decor store called A World of Christmas, owned by my hero, Ben McNamara. Literally everything in town is Christmas themed, even the street names.
Heidi Forrester has a high-level marketing job at a new and growing social media company in Chicago, but she has two glorious weeks of vacation to indulge her love of all things Christmas when she visits Merry. She’s always loved Christmas, especially since it’s also her birthday. But what she doesn’t expect is to start falling for a local, especially one who is planning to leave to forge a new life where every day isn’t Christmas. But that was before he met the girl who loves Christmas more than anyone he’s ever met — and who just might make him love it again himself. As for Heidi, this little vacation might just might turn a city girl into a small-town girl living her happily ever after in the Montana mountains.