So every year since I was little I’ve tried to write a Christmas poem or a Christmas story to include in my family’s Christmas letter. I’ve missed a few years but it is something I still try to do. The lack of snow always seems to be a problem. I need snow either on the ground or falling to put me in the mood to write something Christmasy. A hot Hawaiian Christmas is not for me, lol.
I’m trying to write a contemporary Christmas romance short story this year. Think sweet Hallmark channel Christmas story. Ginger’s Man is the the sugary romance between a small town real estate agent and a handsome baker who moves into the small town to set up his own cookie shop.
I’ve been trying to catch up on publisher deadlines for editing, marketing, and trying not to let my house turn into a mess. I can’t believe it is Dec. 1st already. It has turned bitter cold and I think the snow on the ground is here to stay. So I better get busy writing on my story.
Just for fun here is the unedited opening:
One of Ginger’s favorite things about living in Icicle Ridge, Washington was the Christmas store. Seriously what was there not to like about a store where it was Christmastime all year round? Leavenworth was a small Bavarian themed tourist town always bustling with new faces, but none of the men caught her eye. Or if they did they were already taken or only here on vacation and not interested in settling down. Last Christmas she’d written Santa. At twenty-eight most would think she was too old to write the man in the red suit, but it wouldn’t hurt. She’d tried just about everything else to get a steady boyfriend including a terrible stint of online dating. So she had asked Santa for a man before next Christmas. Now that it was September she had begun to lose faith in that miracle.
Strolling down the sidewalk, she headed for the Christmas shop. Whenever she was down that store cheered her up. The ornaments made her smile especially the kitty ones. As long as she avoided the mistletoe she’d be fine.
Stepping through the door, bells jingled announcing her presence. The smell of pine and cinnamon wafted to her nose, inviting her in. She inhaled deeply and smiled. A large plastic pickle grinned back at her. She’d always thought the idea of hiding a pickle ornament among your Christmas decorations an odd tradition, but finding it brought good luck. Would it count if she was the one to hide it and find it? She let out a small sigh. Probably not.
She didn’t want to listen to her mother make comments about her ticking biological clock over Christmas dinner again. Yes, she knew it was ticking, but that didn’t mean she was going to marry a loser. There was still time for her to find someone special. Just because he mother married straight out of high school and had four children by the time she was her age didn’t mean she had to follow the same pattern.
A loud clanging noise drew her attention. She whipped around and raced back outside, her little leather purse banging against her side. What was that? It sounded like metal on metal.
That’s when she realized the decorated window of the shop next door. “Ye Old Christmas Cookies” it proclaimed. Now that was new. Briefly she wondered what had happened to the previous vendor a natural foods store which had baked bread and other wheat free and gluten free goods. It appeared they had gone out of business. She licked her lips thinking about her favorite Christmas cookies sugar and gingerbread with icing. She preferred a cookie to a healthy piece of bread any day.
How brilliant to have a bakery next to the Christmas store. She had a sweet tooth year round. Cupping her hands around her face, she peered inside. While the sign in the window proclaimed the shop open it didn’t look like a soul was inside. Except for the crashing sound earlier.
She opened the door and sauntered over the display case. Delicious looking gingerbread men, fudge, peanut brittle, taffy and other holiday desserts made her salivate. While she regularly visited the gingerbread store in town, she had a feeling the Ye Old Christmas Cookies would give them valiant competition for her taste buds.
The question was what to order for her first cookie. As tempting as the fudge was she was ready for something sweet but not chocolately. She pushed the little bell on the counter for service and a wiry man with a beaming smile and a white apron wrapped around his muscular frame appeared from the back.
His hazel eyes boldly raked her form before he smiled and stepped behind the counter. “Can I get you something, miss?”
The way he looked at her made her tingle. No man had looked at her like that in a long time.
“I was shopping next door and I heard a terrible ruckus. Are you all right?”
His cheeks turned dark red. “I just dropped a hot cookie sheet. I’m fine.”
“I hope you didn’t ruin any of your delicious looking cookies.”
The man laughed. “I had already removed the cookies, thank goodness. It would be terrible to ruin any of them.”
Was he being sarcastic? Did it seem callous to want to rescue the cookies? She wetted her bottom lip, eyeing the case of treats to keep from ogling the baker. She probably should have asked if he’d burned his hand or something.
“I’d like a sugar cookie please. The snowman.”
The man nodded and picked up a snowman cookie with a pair of tongs and dropped it into a little white paper bag. “Is that all?”
“For today,” she said, batting her eyelashes and handing him two dollars. “My office isn’t too far away and I think I just found the perfect treats to go with my coffee.”