I’m not one of those people who minds when pumpkin and spice start showing up. In fact, I look forward to July 5, when I head to breakfast at a nearby restaurant where fall-themed items show up magically, as if Santa’s elves have started the run-up to their own big day!
Even here in the south, the season is starting to change. The heat is still unrelenting, but the leaves have changed. The afternoon shadows have started bending toward Autumn.
Another magical sign happened when I was looking for toys for some sweet babes who visited us this summer. My grandfather loved jigsaw puzzles so we always gave them to him each Christmas. I stumbled onto this one, and it was perfect. In Paint Me a Christmas, Mia Thomas and Ross Delaney paint the restored horses for the Christmas Town carousel. I’m actually going to give this one away, but I’m wishing I’d bought two so I could put one together myself.
But there’s another sign of the holiday season that I’ve looked forward to the past few years. I don’t honestly love summer. Heat feels oppressive, and as much as I love the green around here, and the way the frogs and the crickets sing, I’m so excited to head back to Christmas Town. In the worst of the temps, I get to rediscover old friends and snowy nights, and I get to take part in holiday traditions that look different through the eyes of each character I write each year.
This year, Ross and Mia have been such good friends that they started a painting business together. Ross appreciated trained artist Mia’s ability to bring color and texture alive. Mia learned from Ross’s innate ability when he achieved beauty she couldn’t explain with all her training. They didn’t expect to go their separate ways as their goals diverged, but the business emphasized the differences they’d been painting over in their relationship. Now, they’re working with all other artisans in Christmas Town to restore the carousel as a gift for a beloved town family. The deadline is Christmas Eve—the night when a kiss under the mistletoe means a wedding in the new year. Can Mia and Ross paint a holiday second chance into their own lasting love?
I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Christmas Town this year as much as we love our trip there to write these stories.