Monday, December 7, 2015

.@JMMaurer1: Why Christmas Stories? ~ Blue December & A Vampire's Christmas Carol by Karen McCullough #Christmas #Mystery #Romance

Why Holiday Stories?

‘Tis the season for Peppermint Mochas and Christmas music and lights everywhere. Hooray for the holidays – especially Christmas! I love everything about it, but I’m especially partial to Christmas stories – movies, television shows, and books.

My favorite holiday movies are The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Elf, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and White Christmas. Oddly I can’t stand It’s a Wonderful Life and I adore the bittersweet Love Actually. And then there’s Die Hard, which doesn’t seem to be a Christmas movie at all at first glance. Oh, but it is!

Must-watch TV shows are A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon, not the abominable movie version).

And, books, of course. A Christmas Carol is THE Christmas story for me, but every year I end up buying a number of holiday-set romances, mysteries, fantasy, and science fiction, because I can’t seem to resist them.

My second-most favorite Christmas story ever is by science fiction author Connie Willis. She’s written a number of Christmas stories collected in a couple of volumes, but my favorite is All Seated on the Ground. If you haven’t read it, go spend $2.99 for the Kindle edition here ( Read and enjoy. It’s not only amazingly imaginative, it’s hilarious as well. You’re welcome.

And if you like that one, read Spice Pogrom as well. It’s included in the anthology, Impossible Things. Don’t read it in a public place, though. Your uncontrollable laughter will have people looking at you sideways and avoiding close contact. As a bonus, you get several other of her marvelous stories to enjoy as well.

Since I’m generally not a particularly sentimental type, I’ve tried to figure out why most Christmas stories appeal to me so much. They’re generally pretty high on the mush scale, though clearly I gravitate to the stories with more magic and less mush. And I think that’s the key. I’m all about the magic, the sense that extraordinary things can happen, and extraordinary changes are really possible

That sense informs my own writing, including my two, very different Christmas stories. Blue December is a sweet, romantic mystery that shows how justice and love can both win out in the face of long odds, with a bit of Christmas spirit.

A Vampire’s Christmas Carol is a much grittier fantasy of a young woman trapped on Christmas Eve with a desperately hungry vampire.

I’d love to hear about your favorite Christmas stories, especially some lesser-known ones.

 Blue December blurb: It’s two weeks before Christmas and Meg Brandt, a department manager at Wambash’s, “the store with the answer to all your family’s needs,” has problems beyond the usual seasonal chaos. Her department is losing cash from the registers. Inventory is leaving the premises unrecorded and unpaid.
Security is focusing on her, since the losses are happening on her watch. Her efforts to track down the source of the disappearances have produced no results, and her career appears to be headed for oblivion. When the store’s new security officer starts showing unusual attention to her, Meg isn’t sure what to think. He’s attractive in any number of ways, but she can’t be sure if his interest is personal or professional. 

A Vampire’s Christmas Carol blurb: Can Christmas Eve get any more fun? On her way to her family's home, Carol Prescott’s car slides into a ditch in a deserted area with no cell phone signal. The only available shelter is already occupied…by a vampire. To Michael Carpenter, Carol is the bait of a trap.
In an effort to hold onto his soul, Michael has resisted the urge to drink human blood for almost a century. Now he hovers between human and vampire. If he doesn’t drink from a human before the night ends, he’ll die. He’s desperately thirsty, but Michael has seen the soulless monsters vampires are and he prefers death. Carol is pure temptation to him, the Christmas present from hell…or is it from heaven?

Karen McCullough
Karen McCullough is the author of more than a dozen published novels in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres and has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, three grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

Author’s links:


  1. Blue December sounds like a fun Christmas story, Karen. Wish both you and JM a wonderful and peace-filled holiday.

    1. Thank you, Stanalei! Many wishes right back to you. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. Both sound like fun stories to read. I also love Love Actually. It's not a typical romance nor typical Christmas story. :)

    1. I have yet to see Love Actually. Gasp. I know, right? With that line-up, how could I have not seen it yet? I should fix that soon. Thanks for stopping by, Melissa. :)