Merry Christmas, dear Delilah fans! The air is filled with the scent of sugar cookies warm from the oven. With a hint of cinnamon. Pine boughs and red ribbon line the mantel where a fire licks at the grate. Sparkling ornaments drape the fresh-cut evergreen that reaches the ceiling, its wide fragrant branches sheltering stacks of gaily wrapped gifts.
It’s the holiday vision, the perfect scene where Santa will stop briefly to drop magic into stockings. Loved ones will gather to smile, share delicious food, and part with tearful hugs. We believe it, expect it, and as adults try to recreate it for our children—and for ourselves.
There is nothing in the vision about bickering spouses, too much alcohol, or racking up credit card debt we can’t afford.
Sorry—but sometimes reality sucks. We’ve all experienced the let down when our expectations aren’t met. It’s not just others who sometimes don’t measure up—we often disappoint ourselves.
Well, I say it’s time to kick that whole sick set-up out of our lives. We’re grownups and we’re in charge. We know nothing is perfect. So why do we expect it?
A little child still lives inside us, never quite able to let go of those promises, not just for a perfect glowing Christmas.These fairy tales that we learned as a child sit deep in our hearts, murmuring at us in quiet moments about what we wanted and couldn’t have. If only…
As adults, each of us in our own style finds ways to comfort that little child in us. We hang up pretty sparkling lights, even if it’s just one strand over a doorway. One rainy cold Saturday, we bake cookies and take half of them to an ailing neighbor. We watch the sunset in late afternoon, its orange rays penetrating the windows, and think of other holiday seasons and congratulate ourselves that we’ve lived another year, that progress of some kind has been made, that life surely goes on no matter what.
We thank ourselves for our strength and courage. We acknowledge our frailty and suffering. We make promises to ourselves about one thing (or more) we can do better, what we can hope for, work for, and what we can care about.
It’s the biggest gift that money can’t buy—taking care of ourselves. Understanding. Acknowledging. Once we’ve clasped that warm fuzzy to our chest, we can open our arms to others who also suffer the human condition, who like us hold a dream that can never quite be fulfilled. Give it to yourself and then give it to others.
It’s in that spirit that I extend these stories to you. Share them with friends. They’re free at Smashwords or 99¢ at Amazon.
A Taste of Love: Yuletide in Roman Camp (Caerwin of Britannia series)
A cruel wind blows across the midwinter lands of Northern Britain, flapping Senna’s cloak as she hurries inside the praetorium on the heels of the blustering Tutonius, legion cook and dear friend. In Rome, Saturnalia would last a week and include a day of relaxation for all the slaves. But, she sadly acknowledges, this is not Rome but a miserable outpost on the westernmost boundary of Roman-occupied Britannia.
Senna does her best to relieve some of her friend’s staggering workload as he prepares the holiday meal. The governor of all Britain will feast here tonight along with officers of three legions. Hurrying outside the fortress to the sprawling campgrounds of refugees, camp followers, and traders of all kinds, Senna shops for last-minute gifts for her enslaved Briton mistress Caerwin and food supplies Tutonius must have.
Upon her return to the kitchen, Senna blushes as Teutonius shares a moment of personal pleasure.
His Only Love – Novelette in the Caerwin of Britannia series (Gay Erotica)
As Saturnalia dawns and Rome’s Legio XIV Gemina prepares for the midwinter celebration despite their station on the far western border of Britannia, Greek slave Antius faces the disaster he set in motion involving his beloved master and legion commander, Marcellus. He takes refuge with his young lover even as an intimate betrayal unfolds between trusted friends.
Caryn hadn’t expected a snow storm when she hid away in a remote cabin to lick her wounds. She also hadn’t expected an overbearing park ranger to confront her. But the snow kept falling and the temperature kept dropping, trapping her at his cabin. What could possibly go wrong?
Flight delays, bad weather—what’s not to loath about holiday travel? Except this time there’s a man daring Giselle to do something she never imagined, something that exceeds her wildest fantasies. Is the temptation worth the risk?
About the Author
Please – if you enjoy these stories, lend a friendly hand and post a review—a few words helps other readers. Meanwhile, I’ll be up here in my home office staring out the window at the Ozarks woods, watching the wind in the trees and listening to my hound dogs bark at the deer. Voices will whisper in my ears as my hands move over the keyboard, and I’ll be thinking of you, dear reader, as I channel more stories onto the page. It’s a hell of a life, but somebody’s got to do it.