Monday, December 6, 2010

Love Finds You at Christmastime!

Today our guest is Anita Higman, co-author (with Irene Brand) of Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe! Anita has been busy working on a deadline (and we as readers certainly don't want to interrupt the authors writing these great books!), but she kindly agreed to share this interview she and Irene put together, answering questions about their book.

Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe is two stories in one, with one novella written by Anita Higman and the other written by Irene Brand. The novellas are connected to each other, as well!

Enjoy the interview! (And remember to keep reading for information about today's giveaways!)

Was it difficult to connect your two stories?

Anita: Not at all. We had a brainstorming session by phone and by email and figured it out. Irene’s historical novella, An Appalachian Christmas, is tied to my contemporary novella, Once Upon a Christmas Eve. They are connected through the passing of a mistletoe ball through the generations. It was a delight to work with Irene. She’s very easy to get along with. In fact, we’ve become long-distant friends.

Irene: It wasn’t difficult. Actually, this may have been the easier part of the writing project. After we’d each read the other’s manuscript, I provided Anita with the information necessary for continuity, and she did the same for me. It was easy to insert the other story line into my novella

Do you think you’d consider working on another project together?

Anita: Yes, in fact we’ve been chatting about working on another project together.

Irene: It would appeal to me. Although our writing styles aren’t the same, still the differences seem to improve the book.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Anita: My novels are more character driven, and so my characters tend to move the story along. The idea for Once Upon a Christmas Eve may have started with my interest in the fairy archetype. I loved the movies Cold Comfort Farm and Chocolat for that very reason. There was something enchanting about those two heroines as they whirled around, fixing people’s lives. I gave my main character, Holly Goodnight, some similar fanciful qualities.

Irene: My husband and I spent a few days in Owsley County, Kentucky, where my novella is located. After we met the local people, visited the site where the action would be, and learned about the local history, the story was easy to develop.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?

Anita: That no matter how impossible circumstances look, God can work all things for good.

Irene: That even when a romance seems hopeless, true love can overcome any barrier.

What are your five favorite things about Christmas?

Anita: The birth of Christ, of course. But then I love the music, the scents, the special foods, and family time together.

Irene: Local church activities, music, baking and visiting shut-ins with goodies, Christmas dinner with extended family, holiday movies on TV.

Where can readers find you online?

Anita: I would love for folks to drop by my website at


Anita: Thank you for inviting us to your blog! Irene and I hope your Christmas is filled with the love of Christ and all things bright and beautiful!

Amber: Thank you, Anita, for joining us for the "Love Finds You" Blog Party!

Readers, Anita has generously offered to give away 2 copies of Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe to two lucky winners! Isn't that cover lovely? And this is such a timely giveaway! To enter, leave a comment for Anita with your e-mail address. (This giveaway is for U.S. residents only.)

Remember that all winners will be announced on Friday, December 10.

Now, would you like a way to get extra entries and have some fun? I hope so!

This time of year is full of food...fudge, cookies, pie, candy, etc. And there are plenty of dessert auctions and social events where such food can be shared among friends. So, as a group of friends gathered here--is anybody up for another recipe exchange? (Since we can't actually share the desserts with each other, recipes will have to do!)

The picture above is of me and my grandparents (my grandma is right beside me in the picture) last year at my sister's school's Christmas play, where they also had a dessert auction. I got to come home early from college for Christmas break, and only my parents knew about it, so I got to surprise the rest of my family, including my grandparents! While they were looking at the desserts, I walked right up behind them and gave them a hug. It was so special! (With lots of happy tears!)

But anyway, just picture all of us around a table like this, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the wonderful Christmas desserts everyone has brought to share! Help us picture these desserts (and help us make them on our own!) by sharing your recipe, and you'll get 3 extra entries in today's drawing for Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe!

Dig in!


Anita Higman said...

Thanks so much for running our interview. Irene Brand and I had a wonderful time writing our stories. We hope readers enjoy them.

And hope all of you have a merry merry Christmas!
Anita Higman

Tales of Whimsy said...

I would love to be entered :)

Here is a easy recipe:


Renee Ann said...

I love the idea of the historic story and the contemporary one joined by the passing of a special keepsake through the generations. And now that I've read a little about Holly Goodnight and the theme of God working things together for good, I'm eager to read the stories! Please include min the giveaway. reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

I'm at school right now, but I'll share a recipe later!

Ariel Wilson said...

I don't have any Christmas recipes :( Bummer.


Casey said...

That is so neat about your grandparents! What a fun surprise. :D

Um, a good holiday recipe....I love chex mex on New Year's, but I think we get that off the box of cereal.... But another favorite which I have the recipe for are Crescent Butter Yeast Rolls, YUM!!

Dissolve 2 1/4 tsps yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and let proof.

In large bowl beat together:
1 cup of melted butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of cold milk
1 1/2 tsp of salt -Stir all together
Add yeast mixture plus 4 cups of flour

~Mix together-it will be wet.
~Put in fridge overnight
~Next day remove from fridge and let come to room temp.
~Roll out in three parts
~Make circles and cut into wedges
roll up like crescents and let rise until double
~Back @ 350 degrees for 10-15 or until brown on the bottom

SO GOOD!! And super easy. :)

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

I didn't realize that the stories were tied together how cool! I'm really excited to read it now! Thank you for sharing Amber, Irene and Anita.

Merry Christmas,


MaureenT said...

I'd love to read these wonderful books.

White Cut out cookies 

2 c. white sugar
1 c. shortening (1/2 crisco, 1/2 butter)
4 egg yolks
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
6 c. flour

Cream together sugar and shortening.  Slowly add egg yolks and rest of wet ingredients.  Continue to cream well.  Combine dry ingredients and slowly add in flour.  Once mixed, separate dough into 2 or more pieces.  Plastic wrap each section and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.  Roll out 1 section at a time on a lightly floured surface and rolling pin.  The dough rolls best when cold.  I usually roll out 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out with shapes and bake 5-8 min. in 350 oven.  The cookies should be firm yet white on top.  The bottom will be light tan.
3 c. powdered sugar
1 heaping serving spoon of crisco
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp hot water (approx. use to thin frosting to a nice spreading consistency)

In mixing bowl add crisco, egg, vanilla, salt and small amount of hot water.  Slowly add in powdered sugar and then water to make it a frosting consistency.  Use on cookies and decorate with sprinkles.  Let dry before storing.  I use parchment paper in between layers.  

MaureenT said...

Forgot to leave my email...sorry!


Amber Holcomb said...

Merry (almost) Christmas, everyone! :D Has anybody seen some chocolate-dipped strawberries, because that would totally make my day! ;)

ANITA: Thank you so much for stopping by, and for giving away 2 copies of your book! :D Merry Christmas to you, as well!

JUJU: That recipe looks so interesting! Yummy! :D And how cool that you were featured on a Christmas blog!

You have 4 entries in today's drawing. :)

RENEE ANN: Isn't that such a fun idea for connecting the two novellas? Sounds like such a neat Christmas book! :D

Have a wonderful day, and hopefully we'll see you later on, as well. :) So far you have 1 entry for today's drawing, but you could definitely add to that anytime before Friday!

ARIEL: Oh, it's OK. :) No worries! You are still entered in today's drawing, and there will be plenty more giveaways to come! Thank you for stopping by today. :)

CASEY: Thank you! It was so special and so fun! They had no idea I was going to be there--they thought I would be coming a few days later. As I said, lots of good tears. :) It's so hard to be gone from them for months at a time now!

Anyway, thanks so much for sharing that recipe! I am a BIG fan of bread! ;) I LOVE it!!! Just give me a roll or a slice of bread, and I'm happy. :)

You have 4 entries in today's drawing. Just let me know whenever you want to apply your other extra entries! ;)

RENEE: Merry Christmas to you, as well! I think this is the first LFY book that is actually two books in one (I could be wrong, though). I agree that it's such a neat idea having two stories connected like that!

You have 1 entry in today's drawing. :)

MAUREEN: Yum! I LOVE coookies! :D Those sound good! Thanks for sharing!

You have 4 entries in today's drawing. :)


Judylynn said...

That looks like a great book, Anita. Thanks for the giveaway!


Judylynn said...

Here's a great recipe and it only requires three ingredients!

Amber Holcomb said...

JUDYLYNN: The book does look great, doesn't it? :D Anita was so sweet to do a double giveaway!

And thanks for sharing that recipe! Ummm...can you say amazing?! I will definitely have to keep this one in looks delicious!

You have 4 entries in today's drawing. :)


Jen U. said...

I would love to be entered in this drawing. That cover is beautiful- so inviting and warm and cozy feeling.
~Jen Unsell

Jen U. said...

This is one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.

LOVE chocolate crinkle cookies!
~Jen Unsell

Renee Ann said...

Okay, Amber, I found my recipe. You're going to want to make these. They're wonderful!!!

Rolo Cookies
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bag of Rolo candies, unwrapped
Sugar (for rolling the cookie dough balls in)

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium blow, sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside. With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Next, add in vanilla extract. Mix until blended. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and blend well. Take a spoonful of chocolate cookie dough and wrap around one Rolo candy. Make sure Rolo is completely covered with cookie dough. Roll dough ball in sugar and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue until you run out of cookie dough. Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes.

Amber Holcomb said...

JEN: I agree! I love it, and I'll bet it's even better in person! :) The funny thing about hosting giveaways is that you sometimes wish you could enter your own! ;)

Oh my goodness! Those cookies look delicious! :D LOVE chocolate!

You have 4 entries in today's drawing. :)

RENEE ANN: How fun! It's like a surprise cookie! :D

Thanks for sharing the recipe! You have 3 extra entries in today's drawing, for a grand total of 4 entries. :) I'm glad you stopped by again!

And if you love chocolate, I hope you can stop by tomorrow... :D


Bluerose said...

I can never pass up entering a Christmas book giveaway! :)

I didn't see this one already in the comments, so hopefully this isn't a repeat. I couldn't find my basic recipe online, so I could just leave a link. They all had extras in them, and i always do this one.

Peanut Butter Balls

1 stick butter(melted)
1 bag of powdered sugar(I think this is 16 oz)its just the normal size bag, though.
1 cup peanut butter

Mix all this together and roll into balls. Put in the freezer for a few minutes.

Melt a package of Almond Bark with the double boiler method.(I've never tried it with the microwave).

Remove pb balls from freezer and dip into the chocolate.
One of my favorites!!! :)

bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

Amber Holcomb said...

BLUEROSE: Good! :D Glad you stopped by, then! ;)

And YUM! That recipe sounds really good--I love peanut butter and chocolate! :D

Thanks for sharing! You have 4 entries in today's drawing. :)


Julia M. Reffner said...

OK, my brother's a chef and he and I made these rolls for Thanksgiving. I think they will become a holiday tradition.

Parker House Rolls:

Amber Holcomb said...

JULIA: You brother is a chef?! How cool is that?!

Those rolls look great, and as I told Casey, I'm a big fan of bread. ;) I'm a really picky eater, but these recipes have been right up my alley! :D

You have 4 entries in today's drawing!


Julia M. Reffner said...


It is really neat. He graduates cooking school in April. He's met and learned from some of the Iron Chefs (and just missed working with Bobby Flay :(. It is really neat because my dad always had a dream to go to cooking school and be a chef and now my brother is living that dream!

You are so sweet to mention me on Seekerville! You have blessed me so much online, too, Amber! Hopefully we'll all meet someday at a writer's conference...wouldn't that be something?? I hope you get to meet Casey soon, I know you two will have a great time...and you'll have to blog about it!

Amber Holcomb said...

JULIA: Oh. my. goodness!!! He got to meet and learn from some of the Iron Chefs???!!! WOW!!! That's too bad he didn't get to meet Bobby Flay, but STILL!

That's so sweet that he's living your dad's dream. :)

And of course! Thank YOU for your friendship, Julia--I have been so blessed by knowing you. :) It would be so amazing to all meet someday! Casey and I are currently in the planning stages, but I will definitely have to blog about it if it works out! :D


Katie Marie said...

Please enter me - sounds like a good book!

- Katie

Amber Holcomb said...

KATIE: Consider yourself entered! :) You have 1 entry in this day's drawing. Thank you for stopping by, and merry Christmas!


Lady DragonKeeper said...

I wasn't going to enter this one, but then I read the summaries --I'm a sucker for those "friends-become-more-than-friends" plots. =) My siblings and I love to make and give Oreo Truffles --I'm pretty sure my mom got the recipe from the Kraft foods website:

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) Oreo Cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cup
2 pkg. (8 squares each) Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted


Mix cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended. (We use an electric hand mixer).

Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

I'm getting cravings already, LOL.

Thanks for the chance to win!


Holly said...

This sounds like such a cute collection of stories. Definitely will be on my reading list.

As for my recipe, it's super simple.

Turtle Pretzels

1 bag mini pretzels
1 bag Rolos candy
1 pkg pecans

Preheat oven to 250 degrees (yes, that's 250)
Lay out pretzels in a single layer on a foil covered baking sheet
Place one Rolo on each pretzel
Bake at 250 for 5 minutes (yes, only 5 minutes)
As soon as they come out of the oven, place one pecan on each Rolo and gently squish it down until the candy presses into the pretzel.
Let cool

That's it!


Amber Holcomb said...

LADY DRAGON KEEPER: I agree--that "friends-become-more-than-friends" storyline for the second story sounds great! :D This book does look really good, doesn't it?

Gotta love those Oreo Truffles--I've definitely got to keep them in mind now! ;)

Thanks for stopping by! You have 4 entries in this day's drawing. :)

HOLLY: I think it sounds really cute, too! :D

Thanks so much for sharing that recipe! It looks intriguing. :)

You have 4 entries in this day's drawing!


Anonymous said...

Love the cover!

Here is my recipe:
Hershey Kiss Cookies
1 cup butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chip morsels
14 oz bag Hershey's kisses

Cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Add vanilla. Add mini morsels. Stir in flour. Take approximately 1 tsp of dough and wrap around 1 kiss. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.


Amber Holcomb said...

ELLIE: Those sounds simply amazing!!! :D Yummy!

Thank you for sharing your recipe! You have 4 entries in this drawing. :)


Anita Higman said...

Wow, what a lot of entries and recipes. I am impressed!

I'll be mailing the Mistletoe books out to the two winners next week.

Merry merry Christmas to each of you!
Anita Higman

Amber Holcomb said...


Everyone really got into the party! :D Thank you again for everything--we all had a lot of fun, and I'm so glad I got to host you!

Merry Christmas to you, as well!