Yep, it's that time of year again - time for the MMP Anniversary and for Christmas in July!
I will be blunt and honest: Christmas at any time of the year isn't my favorite holiday. It seems that every weird thing that could ever happen to me is centered around December. No, I'm serious. In my world, Santa may as well stalk me down dark alleys with a great big club, waiting to put my lifeless body in his sack or something. Most outrageously bizarre or challenging things that happen to me happen around the holidays, which is probably why I've leaned toward the legends of Krampus and the Yule Lads in recent years. I've been outrageously ill, had family members suddenly drop dead, had to have a pet put to sleep on Christmas, nearly been carjacked, nearly been mugged, and accidentally set on fire during a Christmas Eve service. I've been overworked and overbooked and had my schedule jam-packed with every possible combination of seasonal hoopla you can possibly come up with. These days I lay pretty low and while I participate, I keep it to a reasonable amount for my sanity and safety.
Yet, for some reason, I keep trying to enjoy the holiday. Maybe I feel if I appease the almighty maker of Santa in some form, I might get a little relief. Maybe I just need a little light during the dark time of year. No matter how cynical I try to be, I want to embrace belief and hope. For every awful thing that's occurred in December, there's been something uniquely wonderful: meeting new friends, specific memories of family gatherings, being mistaken by a little girl for an actual Christmas elf...I have a million good stories, too.
Darkness and light, fatigue and energy, cynicism and hope. They're two sides of the same coin in winter, which is why the holidays are so important.
In a rare move for me, I actually wrote a fluffy Christmas story a few years back, and Mocha Memoirs Press was weird enough to accept it. It hits on a lot of themes that have meaning for me: a woman at the end of her rope, the chance to rebuild one's life, and the magical. After all, you can't have Christmas (even in July), without magic.
However, given past experience and the dark/light sides to the holiday, I also believe that magic can go hand in hand with loss. As Lou Reed sings in 'Magic and Loss: The Summation:' "There's a bit of magic in everything, and then some loss to even things out." All the faerie stories I read as a little girl had a bit of tragedy in them, even if they ended well, and I'll admit I included those themes in this story. It's one I'm proud of, one that feels true to the stories I grew up reading, even some of the Christmas-themed stories I grew up loving. Yet, there's also a small part that feels definitively me. Holly and Ivy combines Holly's story, Ivy's strangeness, a Christmas tree farm, a bargain, a little romance, and some bittersweet results. I identify so much with Holly's frustration, exhaustion, and tenacity, but I also relate to Ivy's energy, youthfulness, and cheer. In some ways they're both sides of the holidays, as well, and I'm very glad to have been able to write them for you to read.
And if you choose to read about Holly and Ivy, you can get the title now for just $0.99!
After losing her job and her boyfriend, Holly returns to her parents’ farm. Embarrassed and hopeless, she doesn’t expect to bump into a forgotten childhood friend that wasn’t supposed to exist. Ivy is not only a dryad, but she lives in the pine trees Holly’s family grows to sell at Christmas. As the old friends reconnect, Ivy not only shares her strong oninions, but gives Holly a charm that will change both their lives. As days melt into weeks and the seasons change, Holly’s life magically turns around. Christmas not only brings surprises, but a choice for the human woman. What’s more important: stability, success, and love, or keepinga promise to an old friend?