Merry Christmas! One of my favorite things to read every year on Christmas morning is the famous letter to the Sun Times from dear little Virginia.
This year, I wanted to share it with you. So, enjoy your coffee or cocoa and take a quiet minute to be inspired before heading into the Christmas chaos. (But when you do, know you are in good company Enjoy!
Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says “If you see it in the Sun it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
115 W.95th St
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! *Hugs & Christmas cheer from my snowy little home in Ohio all the way to each of you*
In case someone out there is searching or a believer is feeling low, I’ve copied the story that changed the world and posted it to share. This story, this birth, changed my course, my heart and my destination. On this day, every year, I feel especially close to my Savior. I assume its because the entire world seems to hush, hold its breath and be at peace for a few minutes on this day. I’m only passing through, but I’m savoring my fleeting time here, trials, tribulations and all, for one day soon, I will truly be home.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
I’m excited to announce the release of my newest sweet romance novella, Harvest of the Heart. This is the third and final installment in my Seeds of Love series. I love this story the most. (Truth Notice: I say this about every new story, and its always true). Honey Creek is as real to me as my own town in Reality-Ohio. My series of shorts ended, but don’t worry. I have two print length releases coming to Honey Creek in 2013. I’m not done playing cupid just yet. If you enjoy a sweet romance read, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Harvest of the Heart. When you do, I hope you smile.
Harvest of the Heart by Julie Anne Lindsey
Savannah James thought heartbreak ended her story, but she was wrong.
Savannah’s new neighbor, Isaac Mason is making her crazy. One minute he drops by to say “Hi,” and the next minute he walks away without a goodbye. The hot and cold is killing her and so is the intrigue. Now the town’s youngest recluse is coming out of her shell, and folks are taking notice. For the first time in five years, she’s pushing her tragic past aside to focus on someone else.
What she finds may send her back into hiding.
Excerpt from Harvest of the Heart
The dam stood before them, stretching into the night. Water roared at their feet, spitting white foam into the air. Together they climbed the rocky edge, onto the cement, and finally landed at the top. Savannah dropped the small white bag beside her and grabbed the safety bar with both hands. She swung her legs over the dam’s edge and rocked the edges of her skirt smooth beneath her. Isaac folded himself lithely beside her.
Stars peeked one at a time through the deep navy and gray sky. The lodge looked like a child’s toy in the distance, the crowds barely recognizable. Rows of tables and lines of vendor trucks sprinkled the area near the lake. They were little more than purple shadows in the night, but Savannah knew them all. She’d spent many nights overlooking the Friday night set up of Happy Apple.
“You’ve got to tell me. What’s in the bag? And am I an accomplice to petty theft?”
“You saw nothing. You know nothing.” Savannah opened the bag and pulled two apple fritters from inside. One fork and no napkins.
“That was Grace’s family’s truck. I’m good for the money.”
Isaac’s smile lit the night. On cue other lights began to tick on. One by one, the rows of twinkle lights spun through trees and light posts flickered on. All the purple shadows snapped to life under the soft white lights.
Savannah pressed a plastic fork into the crisp outer shell of one fritter and pushed the tines in deep. Isaac’s lips parted. She moved the fork into his mouth with care, trying not to poke him when her hands began to shake. His waiting lips distracted her thoughts and fogged up her head. The next bite went to her. She shoved it in to keep her lips busy and hoped the lighting where they sat covered her blush.
“What are you thinking?” he asked.
Savannah pressed her lips tight. “I’m thinking this is the best night I’ve had in longer than I can remember.” Her eyes drifted over to the lodge, the people she loved and respected standing outside. Pride and belonging surged up from her stomach, and she wanted more than anything else to present Isaac to them.
“You have a little apple there.” Isaac leaned toward her. One warm thumb drifted over the corner of her mouth, and she inhaled.
Her eyes shut. His warm lips touched hers, and she was home.
You can pick up a copy of Harvest of the Heart online at:
Turquoise Morning Press Bookstore
JULIE!!!!! *insert cartwheels* Thank you so much you AWESOME critty pal, you!! It’s such an honor for me to brag here on your rockin’ blog today! I’m so excited to be your guest because I’ve learned so much from you. Musings was the first blog I clicked on when I decided to start writing. You helped me get published! And here I am…on your blog talking about my first release, Happenstance. Isn’t life grand? It took a couple years and lots of sniveling and whining but I can finally call myself an author thanks to all your help! (Also, now might be a great time to apologize for all the newbie craptastic I had you critique. Eeesh and shiver.)
Let me interject *blog owner pulls rank on guest poster* You are crazy pants. You are brilliant and I am supremely blessed to be your crit girl. Also, I’m glad my posts about how to fail at writing helped you avoid those pitfalls. TO recap: I’m a dorkfish. You are *jazz hands*. Please, continue.
Happenstance, my debut novella, will be available from Turquoise Morning Press on December 13, 2012! I wrote this story using a corporate setting based on some of the relationship conflict I witness at my day job as an administrative assistant. I take note of the Peyton Place happenings and file them away in my scheming brain for future novels but today, we’re talking Happenstance!
Taryn Ballard is happily married and a newly appointed analyst for a prestigious shipping company. Her career upsurges in record time but she’s about to discover the real price of corporate life.
While on yet another business trip, Taryn suffers a brutal attack by a carjacker. Her husband isn’t there, but her co-worker Devin is. The accidental bond Taryn and Devin share pitches them into dangerous and confusing territory. Taryn struggles to discern both her feelings for her sexy protector and Wade’s reaction to it all. Unfamiliar emotions blur the rules of the game and Wade’s ready to quit.
Taryn must rise above disaster to save her marriage. But is she ready to let go of the man who saved her life? In a single moment, Happenstance changes everything.
One of the invaluable things I learned from you was to put my MC through the wringer and that’s just what I did with Taryn. She was so much fun to write because I could really play havoc on both Devin and Wade while running her through the mill! Yes, I’m awful. J My favorite two genres are suspense and romance so I couldn’t resist merging them into my story. Here’s a snippet to give you the feel of the book.
“Devin, it’s Taryn. You were right. The execs want me to meet them for dinner and I feel really foolish because I have a GPS and a connect-the-dot map from the concierge and I’m still lost.”
Devin laughed. “Not a problem. Where are you?”
Taryn took a second to locate the green street sign. “At the corner of First and Third at a tiny, ancient-looking convenience store.”
“Oh, I know the one. You’re right next to us. I could probably see you from the tower window. Okay, which restaurant are you looking for?”
Taryn grabbed the hand-drawn map. “Caminas.”
“I know where it is. Actually, it might be faster by freeway.”
“Of course it would. I just came from—”
An unexpected rush of damp, hot air hit her and Taryn turned, confused to see her door open wide. She sucked in a quick breath and saw too late the arm reaching for her. Terror gripped her as she zeroed in on the gun in her face.
I had so much fun writing this story. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do! You can purchase Happenstance here on December 23rd!
Tweet with me @Valeriebrbr, follow me on Facebook or find out the latest on my Author Page about my upcoming short story Magnolia Brides in a TMP wedding anthology out in June! Thanks again, Julie!
Valerie Haight is a short story writer and contemporary suspense and romance novelist. She is a member of Ozarks Writer’s League through College of the Ozarks in Branson, MO. She is a published author with Turquoise Morning Press.
You can find her scheming on the corner of Happy Trouble and Literary Mayhem, also known as Twitter @Valeriebrbr or raising the eyebrows of her husband and two boys in their cozy Arkansas home. She also gives way more than her two cents at www.thewriteoneval.blogspot.com.
There comes a time in every aspiring writer’s life when they look around and scream, “What about me????” I have said this like a million times. I’ve also announced “I quit!” at least as many. The problem with quitting when you’re a writer is that, well, you’re a writer and I’ve told you already I think it’s some kind of not-yet-diagnosed mental illness. Writing should be on the DSM-IV. We all have the same compulsions and regardless of race, religion or geographical location, it doesn’t change. We couldn’t “quit writing” any sooner than we could quit breathing, though if we put our mind too it, we’d survive the former a little longer than the latter. Still, we’d be back.
Writing’s like that.
1. Since you can’t really quit writing…why stop submitting? I mean, you’re going to be writing anyway. What’s the point of not subbing your work? If you get rejected, so what. If you don’t submit, then you definitely won’t get a “Yes.” *shrugs* You like my logic? Right on.
2. As for the “What about me????” If you’re saying this, then you’re doing it right. If you’re saying this it means you’re working hard, improving your craft and it shows. You’re waiting for someone else to take notice of what you already see. This is paramount. They WILL see. Hang in there. See #1.
3. If you’re saying “What about me???” It also implies you’re watching those around you get agents, book deals, contracts. Maybe even your entire critique group is moving up the publishing chain. What about YOU? Well, from where I stand applauding you, I can see that you’re exactly where you need to be if you want to be next. You’ve networked with writers. Good ones. Ones who have something to offer back or they wouldn’t be getting those things above. You’ve aligned yourself well. Do you know how many other authors I’ve pointed to my press? My agent? Do you know how I found them? Yep. Through others in my writer-life who got there first. One of my old critique partners quit writing to become an editor. Imagine how much I learned from her. Your writing friends make a difference & they will help you reach your goals.
Seeing those around you reach their writing goals means you’ve got good friends with strong hearts and diligent minds. Friends usually have things like that in common. Be assured. You are where you need to be today. I am here to attest to the difference a day can make. A week. A year. That’s a post for a different time.
Do not give up. I forbid you. And you can’t do it anyway See #1.
You can do this. You were called to this. It won’t go away, but it will make you crazy if you deny your desire to write or be published.
Hang on a little longer.
Your call is coming.