Saturday, December 20, 2014

12 Days of Christmas: Day 9

Hi, I’m Norma T. Rudolph. I’m new to the Creative Prose group of authors, and so excited to introduce myself. 

When your last name is Rudolph, the holidays can be a lot of fun. On the ninth day of Christmas I give to you Nine Reindeer Prancing. Nine, you ask? Yes, nine.

In Wikipedia we read that “In traditional lore, Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blitzen and Blixen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
The names of Donder and Blitzen derive from Germanic words for thunder and lightning, respectively.”

As you see, Rudolph makes nine, and he is the most famous reindeer of all . . .

The original idea of reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh is generally attributed to a poem written by Clement Clark Moore called “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” That poem was written in 1923, but it wasn't until 1939 that Rudolph joined the team. His story was written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward as a giveaway booklet for their customers.

The story didn’t really take off however until Robert May’s songwriter brother in law, Johnny Marks, adapted the story into a song, which was then picked up by Gene Autry in 1949. That song was such a hit that the story went on to became movies, comic books, cartoon shorts, and all kinds of memorabilia that can be purchased at Christmas still.

Our Rudolph family traditions have also developed over the years. We have had to develop a good sense of humor about the whole thing. For instance, if you call my brother in law over the holidays you may be asked to leave a message at the sound of the shiny red nose.

It is interesting to note that the story almost didn’t make it into publication because of the shiny red nose thing. Back then a shiny red nose was associated with being a drunk. I assure you that my particular family of Rudolphs does not drink, so any red noses are strictly a result of playing in the snow in bitter Wyoming weather.

At our house for Christmas we decorate with lots of reindeer. We have a collection of stuffed reindeer that we have gathered over the years. We also have reindeer ornaments, reindeer tins, reindeer toys, Rudolph costumes. One year I even bought all the girls one piece brown pajamas with Rudolph slippers built into the feet. Yeah, that may have been a little over the top . . . they were not impressed. But hey, I couldn’t resist. Even our car has a red nose and antlers this time of year.

When carolers come to our house they always sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Luckily we don’t get many sets of carolers or that could become a bit annoying.

Even Halloween can be extra fun. My daughter who is on a mission needed a costume for a church party. Easy peasy; put on some antlers and a red nose and she’s Hermana Rudolph, complete with name tag.

I won’t bore you with the story of Rudolph, because it is generally well known, but if for some reason you are not familiar with it (say maybe you’re an alien who grew up in an invisible city in the badlands of Wyoming like some of the characters in my upcoming book) it is easily available online.

I invite you to join the Rudolph fun by winning your very own set of antlers and a blinking red nose in a Rafflecopter giveaway (click the link). All you need to do is follow me on twitter and you will be entered to win. I’ll try to get them to you before Christmas but it may be tricky as it's getting pretty late.

Follow my blog at for updates on my upcoming book and any other crazy Rudolph ramblings that pop into my mind.

Thank you for stopping by,

Creative Prose Publishing

Friday, December 19, 2014

12 Days of Christmas: Day 8

Eight of the most unbelievably popular holiday gifts. They may seem a bit ridiculous now, but at the time, it just wasn't Christmas without them. No judgement here. I wanted/had (possibly even *cough* have *cough*) all of these, myself. 8. Skip-It Because skipping is fun, but when the alternative is tripping yourself and face-planting on concrete, it becomes a matter of survival. I still have scars. 7. Moon Shoes Because a broken ankle is a small price to pay for the chance to bounce around like a kangaroo on crack. Your insurance company thanks you. 6. Treasure Trolls Because they're so ugly, they're cute. And if you're going to have something shedding all over your room, it might as well have neon colored hair. 5. Tomagotchi All the neediness of a real pet, without any of the cuddly rewards. Three kids later, I realize that feeding, entertaining, and potty training aren't nearly as much fun as they marketed them to be. 4. Furby Because who doesn't want the world's creepiest toy of all time, blabbering at them 24/7? I still have bags under my eyes from that lil furball. 3. Beanie Babies With the tags ON! Because, one day, they'll be worth a fortune! I'm still sitting on that goldmine. 2. Books Because . . . well, duh! And, the number one gift you can give on a holiday, or ANY day, is . . . Your Time. More than any gizmo or gadget-no matter how coveted or impossible to find it is, more than any toy they'll look back on and wonder why they ever wanted it in the first place, the thing your loved ones will remember the most is the time you spent together. So amidst all the shopping and wrapping this holiday season, don't forget to relax, have fun, make memories, and have a wonderful Christmas!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
And just to help you start building your retirement fund, I'm giving away this mint condition, adorable Penguin Beanie Baby . . . 
Jamie Canosa is the author of several YA books including Dissidence. Discover more about Jamie and her writing at her blog and on Amazon.

Thank you for stopping by,

Creative Prose Publishing

Thursday, December 18, 2014

12 Days of Christmas: Day 7

12 days of Christmas: Day 7

The seven things I’m most grateful for!

I chose this topic because I feel gratitude is one of the most important things in this life. As we show gratitude, for some reason, our eyes are opened even more, and we realize just how blessed we really are. The same can be said for ingratitude. The more sour and ungrateful our attitude, the more blind we seem to become.
Christmas, at least for me, brings those things I am most grateful for to the forefront of my mind. So for my 12 days I’ll share with you my top seven. (There are more, of course, but who wants to read a 145 page post,  know what I mean? ;)

7. My business partner, Cindy C Bennett. I have never met someone so talented in all things that have to do with writing. She amazes me every day. She truly has the gift of words. Many can write stories, only a few have the talent to craft it so well. She is an inspiration to me. 

6. The Wigz. This is my writing group, which consists of Cindy C Bennett, Camelia Miron Skiba, Juli Caldwell, and Jeffery Moore. They have helped me improve on my writing skills leaps and bounds. Their insights, their talents, which they share freely with me, have changed me as a writer.  While I’ve met all of them in person with the exception of Jeffery, I only have a photo of three of us together, though I hope to remedy that soon.
me, Cindy and Cami in NYC
5. Don’t laugh… Donny Osmond! Like most young girls, I fell madly in love with the toothy young boy when I heard his crooning’s of Puppy Love. But what impressed me the most was the way he lived his life. His example changed me forever as I embraced his beliefs and made them my own. He literally saved my life by his example, and for that I will forever be grateful.
This was the first Donny Osmond record I ever bought!
 4. My readers! Man, I love you guys. Your support means more to me than you’ll ever know. I stress with each book I write, not wanting to put junk out there just to make money. If I don’t feel it is good enough, I delete it and start over. You have stood by me as I wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote, Cole's story because I wanted it to be right. So thank you from the bottom of my heart!

3. My grandbabies! They are so much fun! I love them with all my heart and they bring me such joy! I love their cherub faces and infectious laughter. I love their wonder as they examine and learn about the world around them. I love when they bring me a book and ask me to read to them. I just plain love them.
Yes, they are adorable<3!
2. My family. Never in my life did I know such a love existed until I had a child. Never did I know it was possible to love like that. Never. It stunned me, it changed me. Becoming a mother is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. Truly there is No Greater Joy. If I accomplish nothing else in this life than that of being a good mom, then I have succeeded. No other success can compensate for failure in the home. (David O McKay) Truer words were never spoken.  I am truly the luckiest, most blessed woman ever. Add to that a wonderful strong, cutie pie of a husband who has stood by me, supported me, and loved me through the years. My life is complete!

My family!
1. My Savior. In a day and age when religion is no longer in vogue, I am proud to proclaim my love for my Savior. He has paid a price for me that I myself could never pay, and yet He doesn’t ask that I do. Some say only the weak lean on religion, but I say only the strong have enough courage to do so. ‘If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead’, CS Lewis. I believe this with all my heart. I feel His love most keenly at this time of year as we give gifts to others to show our love for them. I am by no means perfect, and I judge no one who does not share my beliefs, but I won’t shy away from proclaiming that He lives, and that He loves us all. And for this gift I am the most grateful for.
To express my gratitude in a physical way, I am giving away a copy of my favorite DVD A Christmas Carol, with Alastair Sim, my all time favorite version!! I watch this every Christmas Eve as I wrap gifts for those I love. I debated on whether to give a copy of It’s a Wonderful Life, another great Christmas movie that focuses on gratitude, but Scrooge won out, mostly because I love the changes in Scrooge as he becomes grateful for all that he has been blessed with! He goes from a selfish, bitter man, to a generous, giving man full of joy.
Best version ever!!

Merry Christmas and don’t forget to count your blessings!

My books:

Thank you for stopping by,

Creative Prose Publishing

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Lumpy Duckling by Kai Strand

The lumpy

Lumpy Duckling  The Lumpy Duckling by Kai Strand   Lumpy may be hefty with a misshapen mouth, but he’s funny and the most loyal friend Wheezy could ask for. When she meets Unwanted, she casts a wish for people to be able to see her best friend like she does. Her wish nearly kills him. All the Weaver Tales are set in the same fictional village of The Tales. The villagers are called Word Weavers, because they speak in story. The same little gnome-elf, Unwanted, grants a wish in each book that makes the main character's problem worse. The books do not have to be read in any order.

Praise for The Lucky Duckling Kai Strand explores friendship, perception, and the consequences of wishes in this fast-paced read. - Mary Waibel This is a wonderful story of loyalty and friendship. It also shows how one’s fears and insecurities sometimes sabotage the good things we have in our lives. Like Wheezy, we have to learn to trust, to accept change, to be patient and understanding, and to try not to jump to conclusions. The end is most satisfying, but it’s an exciting, nerve-wracking ride getting there. The Lumpy Duckling is highly recommended for middle grade readers. - Penelope Anne Cole

After school on Wednesday, she swallowed her pride and her pain and her fear and went straight to the park. On the way, she considered how to apologize to Lumpy when she saw him. She carefully chose the words she would use and rehearsed them again and again all the way there. By the time she reached the park, she was actually excited to see him and eager to admit how ridiculous she had acted.
The afternoon was warm, but a gentle breeze cooled her cheeks. Birds twittered in the trees and the fresh scent of grass and earth stirred an excitement in Wheezy for the long summer days that were only a week away. For the first time since Lumpy returned, Wheezy looked forward to spending day after day with him. With a fluttery heart, she realized she truly missed him, his jokes, his laughter, his presence. It didn’t matter what he looked like. She missed him.
She followed the park’s path through the trees and into the clearing. A smile bloomed on her face while she swung her gaze to their picnic table. But Wheezy halted and her smile died away. Her lips parted in surprise. Lumpy wasn’t alone. Edward sat on top of the table, his feet on the bench with his fan club gathered around, but they were all listening to Lumpy speak. 

Kai  Author Kai Strand When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults.

25_Amazon_Paypal    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/29/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 6

Six Years of Love, Cats, and Wrecked Trees 

by Rachel M. Stiber

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday, one that I begin anxiously anticipating in July. Celebrating the birth of the Savior, visiting family and friends, exchanging gifts, decorating, and eating: I love ALL of it! Every Christmas is unique, but the one I celebrated six years ago will forever be one of the most memorable.

Six years ago, Sean and I celebrated our first Christmas as husband and wife. We lived in a nice but tiny apartment at the time, and didn’t have much room for decorating. We excitedly purchased our first tree, a six-foot, artificial white one that we decorated with various purple and silver ornaments since that was our wedding’s color scheme. We bought two special ornaments as well: a ceramic red and green striped heart with Our First Christmas emblazoned on it and a teddy bear bride and groom with a cake that bore the same inscription. We expected to keep those ornaments for a lifetime. But we forgot to figure Rusty in the equation.

Six years ago, Sean and I adopted an orange, longhaired kitten from a local pet store. We
named him Rusty. We knew Rusty was unique from the moment the pet store sales clerk placed him in our arms. With a white M on his forehead and teeth that throwback to the saber-toothed tiger (two of his top teeth literally extend from his mouth), this was no ordinary kitty. And his behavior was anything but ordinary. He curled in my lap one minute and viciously attacked my hand the next. When he wasn’t purring sweetly or attacking one of us (usually me), he played fetch. We gave him a small, stuffed smiley face toy that was supposed to be a car visor clip. Embroidered on the smiley face’s body were the words Jesus Loves Me.

When we threw this toy, Rusty fetched it and dropped it in our laps. He could play fetch for hours. That is, until we put up the tree. Then, he discovered a new game. This one was called How Far Can I Climb Up the Tree and How Many Ornaments Can I Destroy? The answer? All the way to the top and too many ornaments to count, including the special ones.

We managed to keep the tree in one piece until after the holiday by using wire fasteners to hold the branches in place. As for the ornaments, several (including the red and green heart) shattered in tiny pieces. The fall from the tree decapitated the teddy bear bride and groom, but thankfully, Superglue saved them.

As for Rusty, Jesus saved him. There were times when we literally wanted to throw him out
of the apartment. When he shattered the heart ornament, I threw his toy and screamed, “It’s a good thing Jesus loves you because no one else does!” Ten seconds later, I cuddled him, apologizing for the outburst.

Six years later, Sean and I no longer live in the apartment. We are the proud owners of a small yet comfortable, hexagon shaped house. We decorate a tree every Christmas, but we haven’t chosen another white one. We don’t really have a color scheme for the tree, but our special ornament collection has increased. And we still have the teddy bear bride and groom with their heads intact.

Six years later, we have three cats and a dog, and one of those cats is Rusty. He still has the M on his forehead and the saber-teeth, but he doesn’t fetch anymore. And, he shows no interest in the Christmas tree. Every year we decorate the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, and every year we wait for Rusty to repeat his first Christmas. So far, nothing. He lies on the tree skirt, but that’s it.

So, when I think about the Christmases I’ve celebrated and which ones are most memorable, I definitely remember six years ago. The Christmas of love, a cat, and the wrecked Christmas tree.

How about you? Which Christmas is your most memorable and why? Please feel free to comment!

Find Rachel at Website  *  Facebook  *  Pinterest  *  Goodreads

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12 Days of Christmas: Day 5

Everyone has their own unique Christmas traditions. Some are fun and festive, others are more solemn in nature. One tradition that almost every family has is the sharing of traditional Christmas stories. As a child and now as an adult, I love to read the well-known Christmas tales each season. I've included (in order of publication years) five tales that I think are the most loved classics. If you click on the links below each picture, you'll be taken to a free audio version of each story. Enjoy! And don't forget to enter my giveaway for 5 Golden Rings (a.k.a. Krispy Kreme Donuts)!

1) The Nutcracker (and the Mouse King)

Some might be surprised to know that this classic tale didn't start as a ballet. Nope. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was written by E. T. A. Hoffmann two hundred years ago in 1816. The young girl in the original story had the name of Marie, but somehow, over the years, her name evolved into Clara--the name we usually know her by.

I first read the story of The Nutcracker when I got a cheap copy of the book through my school book order. Who doesn't love school book orders? I'd save my quarters and buy whichever book was less than $1. As a musician, I've played music from The Nutcracker ballet many times and I always think of the first time I read the little paperback book.

Listen to the story here:  The Nutcracker

2) The Night Before Christmas

As a child, I remember working feverishly one Christmas to memorize this poem/story. Why? No reason. Just because. I know my attempts that Christmas were not unique to me alone. The Night Before Christmas is arguably the most read and most memorized stories of all the Christmas stories in existence.

Besides the fun rhymes, what do we get to credit author Clement Clark Moore for? Naming Santa’s reindeer. Everyone knows that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner (a.k.a Dunder) and Blitzen (a.k.a. Blixem) dutifully pull Santa’s sleigh through the skies to deliver Christmas gifts each year. But, if it weren’t for Moore, Santa’s reindeer might have remained unnamed.

According to legend, Moore wrote this famous story as a poem for his children for Christmas in 1822. The following Christmas, a family friend submitted the poem to the newspaper and they published it anonymously. It wasn’t until 20 years later that Moore took ownership of the tale.

Listen to the story here:  The Night Before Christmas

3) A Christmas Carol

Have you ever wondered why we say Merry Christmas to each other? Have you ever called anyone a scrooge? Have you ever said Bah Humbug when you weren’t quite feeling the Christmas spirit?

The phrase “Merry Christmas” didn’t become popular until after the publication of Charles Dickins’ A Christmas Carol in December 1843 and scrooge is even listed in the dictionary as 'any miserly person.' It only took Dickins 6 weeks to write this beloved story and after disagreements with the publishing house, he published the story himself. The story has never been out of publication since its release more than 170 years ago. It has inspired countless films, broadcasts, plays, and paintings.

I think few people would argue that A Christmas Carol is one of the most influential Christmas tales of all time.

A theme in many of Charles Dickens’ stories, including A Christmas Carol, is poverty. Poverty was something Dickins knew all too well. When Charles was young, his father was thrown into debtor’s prison and Charles was forced to work in a factory at the age of 12. His experiences in the factory stayed with him for life and greatly influenced his writing.

Listen to the story here:  A Christmas Carol

4) How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Not only did scrooge make it into’s  database, so did grinch (n. a person or thing that damages or spoils the pleasure of others).

Most people have seen the film The Grinch starring Jim Carrey or the animated version from the sixties. I’m pretty sure every school class plays one version or another at least twelve times during the Christmas season. But, the story didn’t start out as a movie. Nope. Dr. Seuss wrote the story in 1957 and many believe he used himself as a model for the Grinch. 

Watch the story here:  How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How well do you know this beloved story? Find out below.

Quiz: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

  1. What is the name of the town from which the Grinch attempted to steal Christmas?

  2. Whenville

  3. What is the name of the Grinch's dog?

  4. Sam

  5. What is the real name of Dr. Seuss?

  6. Theodor Geisel
    Marion Morrison
    Samuel Clemens
    John Philip Sousa

Good luck!

5) The Polar Express

I'll admit it. I hesitated to include this story in the five golden classics. Published in 1985, this story isn't nearly as old as the others on my list. But, after going over all my options of great stories, I knew I had to include it. As far as classic Christmas stories go, I don't think The Polar Express is going to disappear as a favorite any time soon.

In 1986, The Polar Express received the Caldecott Medal and in 2012 it was named as one of the Top 100 Picture Books of all time. 

What's the most important thing we learn from "The Polar Express"? To believe. Believe in ourselves, believe in others, and most importantly...believe in the magic of Christmas.

Listen to the story here: The Polar Express

Which holiday classic is your favorite? free polls

Thanks for reading! And don't forget to enter my giveaway for 5 Golden Rings (aka Krispy Kreme Doughnuts).

Check out my blog here: Author Tifani Clark or look me up on Facebook.