Thank you Constance for visiting today. What’s your top ten?
Since we are in the middle of the holiday season, I thought it would be fun to do a Top Ten Christmas song list for this blog today.
While I was writing my new Turquoise Morning Press holiday release, All That’s Unspoken, I created a playlist with these songs at Spotify (See below) because sometimes it can be hard to get in the holiday spirit in July (when I was writing this story.)
The book takes place in the week between Christmas and New Year and is about a couple who are trying to come to terms with their past and exploring the idea of a future together.
So, here is the list of songs that kept the holidays in mind while I was writing.
My Top Ten Christmas Songs
10) Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Now it seems like a hundred years ago, but when my kids were little, a big part of the holidays was the anticipation of Santa.
We’ve always tried to instill the true meaning of Christmas in our house, but that includes spreading joy and goodwill and giving of one’s self. Isn’t that what Santa represents?
Now that my children are grown, I miss that joyful excitement that was once a part of the holidays.
9) Up on the Rooftop
Another children’s song. This one was a staple at the Christmas programs of old. Years later I can still see my kids doing hand motions to go along with this fun little song.
In All That’s Unspoken, Nate is raising his six-year-old daughter alone. Having these fun children’s songs on my playlist helped me keep Lori and her emotions about the hoidays in the forefront of my mind.
8) Let It Snow
Dating back to when I was a child, I loved the idea of snow at Christmas. Of course, now that I’m older, I have adult concerns when the weather turns bad. That being said, nothing can snap me out of building Christmas stress and put me in the holiday mood than this song and a little bit of snow.
7) Sleigh Ride
This song is not only one of my favorites, (it just oozes holiday cheer) but it seemed completely apropos for the All That’s Unspoken Playlist. A part of this story is the therapeutic horse riding program that Nate’s daughter is part of, and we’ve all seen many a Christmas card depicting a sleigh being pulled through the snow by horses.
Even though it’s more about a snowy sleigh ride, it reminds me of the holidays.
6) Joy to the World
This song was a staple at the Christmas Eve services that I’ve attended, and the church programs I was in as a child. I’ve always loved the uplifting message it has.
“Let heaven and nature sing.”
I don’t think I’m all that different than anyone – no matter your choice of religion – the idea of joy and peace throughout the world is beautiful.
5) Silent Night
Like “Joy to the World,” this is one of those Christmas Eve service staples. It’s one of my favorites because the serenity it gives me. When the stress of having the perfect holiday gets to be too much, all I have to do is put on this song and I’m reminded what the season is supposed to be about.
4) Little Drummer Boy
Talk about a song the represents the meaning of the season. These days it’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialization of the holiday, “Little Drummer Boy” is a classic example about how the best gifts we can give to one another come from the heart.
3) Same old Lang Syne
This song has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember – even when it’s not the holidays. Though it states, “Met my old love in the grocery store, the snow was falling on Christmas Eve…” it reminds me of New Year’s. Maybe it’s because of the reference to Old Lang Syne, but I suspect it’s more the idea of looking back and looking ahead at the same time.
It’s one of the plot threads of All That’s Unspoken, and even though the lyrics don’t really fit the book at all, the underlying mood of trying to capture something from the past is a common theme.
2) Mary Did You Know?
As you can see by my top two Christmas songs, children are the center focus of the holidays for me – and one child in particular.
The perspective of this song always intrigued me. Trying to view the traditional story of Christmas through the eyes of Mary.
1) What Child is this?
“What child is this, who lay to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?” This song has been my favorite Christmas song for as long as I can remember. It encompasses the spirit of Christmas and keeps the focus on the reason for the season.
Link to playlist: http://open.spotify.com/user/1228693567/playlist/59wm0iAeTpNaeEVY594MsU
A NEXT DOOR category romance, 43k words, sweet contemporary romance, releasing from Turquoise Morning Press on December 15th, 2013
After eight years, Hailey is back in Caseville Michigan. Just months after her mother’s death, her siblings want to put their father in a nursing home and rent out the family farm. If that wasn’t enough, the prospective tenant is Nate, the high school crush she left behind the day after they acted on their mutual attraction.
After high school, Nate Jenkins planned to leave small town behind, but life dealt him a different hand of cards to play. He’s now back in Caseville, raising his daughter, and running his family’s diner. His daughter’s speech disorder has been improved by therapeutic horse riding and if he can lease the old Lambert farm, he can get her a horse of her own. The only standing in the way is Hailey, the same woman who left him eight years ago without even saying goodbye.
Can they get over all that’s unspoken between them?
Only when she heard the bell above the door ring out, was she able to unclench her fists and let out the breath that had tightened her chest. She’d seen Nate lingering around the edge of the counter with her plate of pancakes in hand but didn’t want him to approach her now.
She really didn’t have it in her to deal with him.
He came forward anyway, and set the plate in front of her. After a hesitation, he asked, “Can I sit for a minute?”
Her eyes fluttered closed, but she gestured to the chair. She heard it scrape against the old worn tile and could feel him just inches away from her.
“I’m sorry your dad’s health is on the decline. I’ve always really liked him. It stinks, you know.”
She took a deep breath; maybe they could talk as old friends and ignore the complications of the night they’d spent together. “I don’t think he’s that bad. Jake and Kelly are overreacting.”
He twisted his hands on his lap. “I can see how you would think that. Some days when I see him, he’s sharp as nails. Others….”
Her phone vibrated against the table. The habit to check the ID won out against the desire meet Nate’s stare. An eight-hundred number flashed, twisting Hailey’s stomach into knots. Another bill collector wanting to take the money she was trying to stretch just a little further, hoping to get through a few more weeks. She hit the button to ignore the call.
“I overheard what you said about your dad wanting the property to stay the same,” Nate said. “I’ll take real good care of the place and won’t change a thing. I love that farm the way it is.”
That brought her attention back. “What are you talking about?”
“I’ve been talking to Jake about renting the house.”
She took in his deep brown eyes and almost black hair. It was cropped short like he was trying to beat-the-heat, even if the average temperature this week was somewhere around ten degrees. Much shorter than he wore it in high school. The neatly trimmed beard and mustache were new too.
He looked older. More settled.
They’d both thought this small town would smother them back then.
For a fleeting moment it comforted her to picture Nate cooking in her family’s kitchen, and then she realized it wouldn’t be her house anymore. She’d be on the outside looking in. “It feels like everything is being taken away from me.”
His body stiffened as he pulled back. “It’s not like I’m stealing it. I’m going to pay you for it.”
“This isn’t about money!”
“Then what is it about?”
She reached for her purse and fumbled for her wallet with trembling hands. “Everyone seems to think that just because I don’t live here, I don’t have a voice, but you’re all wrong.” She threw a twenty-dollar bill on the table. “I didn’t leave the planet, I moved to New York. I didn’t abandon my family, but it feels like they think so. I’m sick of being treated like an outsider in my hometown, in my family home, in my own life.”
She stood and tried to turn, but he grabbed her wrist. Looking back would weaken her resolve—Nate had always had that effect on her—but she did it anyway.
“Please, it would mean a lot to Lori…and me.”
His daughter. The child he’d had with someone else. She couldn’t stand the thought of the two of them in her living room without her.
Why did it hurt so much?
It wasn’t as if he left her. She’d pursued and claimed the future she’d always wanted.
If everything she’d attained had been all she ever wanted, why was it tearing her in two to know Nate had gone on with his life without her? It wasn’t as if she’d expected he wouldn’t. She should be happy he was settled. Instead, it made her long for that place next to him even more.
A lump formed in her throat, making speech impossible. Instead, she headed for the door.
“That’s right, Hailey. Run away. It’s what you do best!”
His words stopped her, and she twisted back. “I what?”
“Run. Away. When the pieces of your life don’t come together like a neat little puzzle, you scatter them all around you and stomp out of the room.”
She bristled at the venom in his voice. “That’s not what happened.”
“Oh, no. You handled it so well, just breezed out of town with no concern for those you left behind.”
They weren’t talking about her father or her house anymore. This was about how she’d reacted eight years ago, when the feelings got too real.
Just as they were now.
“I care, dammit!” She let out a long exhale. “I always have.”
Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, daughter, and four canine kids. Her son, now on his own, is planning a wedding, reconfirming that romance still lives and breathes.
When not writing stories of finding and rediscovering love, Constance and her husband spend the hours planning a cross-country motorcycle trip for the not-so-distant future…if they can find a sidecar big enough for the pups.
Constance Phillips is giving away a $25 Amazon GC and an ebook copy of a title from her backlist, (Fairyproof, Council Courtship, or Resurrecting Harry)