Friday, December 19, 2008

A Magical Christmas with Dianne Castell

hosted by Donna MacMeans

It's an honor to introduce you to a wonderful talented friend of mine, Dianne Castell. Not only is she a talented writer for Kensington's Brava and Harlequin, but she also has an innate ability to say the exact thing I need to hear at the exact time I need to hear it. It's amazing! Be sure to ask Dianne about the reader and writer event she hosts along with Lori Foster every June in Cincinnati, and the anthologies they'd done to give back to local charities. Speaking of generosity, Dianne is giving away THREE copies of STAR QUALITY. With that, I give you Dianne...

Hi, Everyone, and thanks to Romance Bandits for having me as a guest blogger, especially at this special time of year.

I believe in magic, I really do. Too many special things happen that I wonder, How did I get so lucky!

Christmas is that way. It’s magic all over the place. Things happen at Christmas that never happen any other time.

I think that’s why we watch the same movies every Christmas year after year. We want to relive that magic. My favorite Christmas movie is Love Actually. It’s jam packed full of magic. And of course It’s a Wonderful Life and Scrooge are so full of magic that we get ghosts to remind us just how terrific that magic of being alive and having family is in case we’ve forgotten.

And there are tons of songs about that magic of Christmas. Have you ever tried to roast chestnuts on an open fire. It’s a miracle they don’t burn to a crisp!
And there’s the magic of snowmen coming to town and Santa and reindeer and coming home for Christmas when you didn’t think it would happen.

Star Quality, my December release with Lori Foster and Lucy Monroe, is all about that magic. Even though it isn’t a Christmas book, it’s about that touch of something special that brings two people together and they fall in love. Star Quality happens under a blue moon, meaning the second full moon in a month. It casts a special spell over a little town in Ohio and three couples who had no chance of falling in love do.

I’ve had special magic moments in my life. Some at Christmas, some not, where all the stars are in perfect alignment and my life is perfect and bam something special happens and I can’t explain it. Pure magic. Some are more subtle like seeing my kids singing at midnight Mass, some more profound like my daughter finally finding the right guy and getting engaged on Christmas Eve, and I still remember all those years ago taking a winter walk with my new husband at night in the snow. It felt...magical. There simply is no other word for it.

So, what magical things have happened to you at Christmas? Sometimes just getting all the presents wrapped in time feels like magic.

Heck, for me it's just getting presents purchased in time - says she who hasn't bought anything for the dh yet. So tell us - what magical things have happened to you at Christmas?

Dianne will select three people from the posted comments to receive a copy of Star Quality - plus don't forget - one person will receive a special Christmas treat from the Romance Bandits as part of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Lots of goodies here!

May you have a Merry Magical Christmas!


Dianne Castell


Helen said...

Is he coming back to my place

have Fun

catslady said...

Awwww I thought I had made it in time lol.

Donna MacMeans said...

Good Heavens, Helen , you are quick! Must come from chasing that rooster about *g*. But you nabbed him today!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Dianne, a Merry Christmas welcome to the Lair! We're happy you could join us this time of the year.

Helen, my goodness, didn't the babies wear the rooster out? Congratulations.

Helen said...

I have actually been home all day today making the Christmas puddings about another hour and they will be done till Christmas Day then they have another 2 hours cooking time. So I thought I would check the blog before I started dinner and He obviously wanted to come back for some warm weather LOL

The book sounds great Dianne and I agree things just seem to happen sometimes that are magical there doesn't seem to be any reasoning they are just beautiful.

I have just had something happen to me that is so special and I guess everyone must be getting tired of hearing it but I have just been presented with 2 more grandsons from 2 daughters 3 days apart and both of them are so cute and adorable I love them.

Have Fun

jo robertson said...

Magical moments? Honestly, it seems like if you get the tree up, the presents bought and wrapped, and the cards sent out -- that's MAGIC!!

I have a December daughter, born 2 days after Christmas, and I think that was one of the most magical Christmases we ever celebrated.

Happy birthday, Shannon!

jo robertson said...

Dianne, don't forget to tell us about the Reader-Writer event you host!

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Dianne! Your book sounds wonderful :-) Do you find it difficult to write a shorter story?

I do think things seem more magical around Christmas time. Making cookies with my kids, wrapping presents, listening to Christmas music - it's all so great!

Last year on Christmas Eve my son played Silent Night on his guitar while my daughters sang. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it! It was really lovely and I'm going to mean, ask them for a repeat performance this year :-)

robynl said...

hi and welcome Dianne; I getting there with the shopping being done so that will be magic. Also, I have finally done my baking; I was behind b/c I work 12 hr. shifts mostly 7 pm - 7 am and then guess what I do, I sleep till almost time to go to work again. Craziness, I say.

DianneCastell said...

Hi, Everyone!
So glad to be here. That so many of your magical moments is around family is great. Me too!
And I agree that just getting Chistmas tress up and presents under the tree is magic.
I never really get done, I think I just quit!

New Chirstmas babies are the best. Major congrats on that, Helen and Jo.

Beth, having your son play and your daughter sing is wonderful. What a great memory.


DianneCastell said...

Wow, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one up at this hour! We are a bunch of night owls!
I'm soooo far behind in getting my book turned in. No one should be on deadline over Christmas.!


Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

Welcome Dianne,
It is a great feeling when you've got all the presents bought, wrapped and placed under the tree. It's also exciting to see the tree completed, when all the ornaments, tinsel and lights are put up.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Dianne - welcome to the Lair! Great to have you here. Your book sounds fabulous!

I love those magical times - and yes, I think Christmas seems to have the right feel for those magic times to happen. I can't think of a particular example right now - it's morning here in England and I'm only on my first cup of tea.

As for being ready - hubby has done all the food prep, the shopping is done, posting to far off lands is done, the tree is up with lights on ... but that's it - no decs yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Anna Sugden said...

Helen - congrats on the rooster and major congrats on the birth of your two grandbabies! What a lovely pressie for you.

Aww Beth - that sounds lovely. I'm sure your son will be happy to give his mom that special gift again.

Laurie said...

My best friend's husband became ill with a rare bone cancer several years ago. Their 2 daughters were only 5 & 7 at the time. It progressed very quickly June-December. As Christmas approached, She was afraid that he would die on Christmas Day. Miraculously, He ended up dying on Dec 26th. In between, Christmas & one of the daughter's birthdays Dec 27th. Sad but true.

Caren Crane said...

Dianne, so glad to have you visit with us! I am intrigued by your "magical" new book. I certainly think Christmas is a time when we reflect on the "magic" in our lives. Personally, I feel those magical moments are gifts from God, when it's easiest to feel his infinite love for us. It's easier to feel that at Christmas, when the hearts and minds of those who celebrate it are more attuned...waiting to witness the Christmas miracle.

Most of the miracles I witness don't happen at Christmas, but at totally random times throughout the year. As a writer, I long for a Christmas miracle, because it would make such a great story! But I realize the greatest miracle happened long ago, so maybe the other 364 days of the year are plenty to hold the magic that happens around me. *g*

Of course, it will be a minor miracle if we finish decorating the tree and get gifts wrapped this weekend!

Helen, way to nab the bird! But, don't you have grandbabies to dote on? Whatever happens, don't let the GR get bored. Maybe he can mind the puddings or something!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Laurie, what a sad thing. At least it wasn't on Christmas day or their daughter's birthday. How bittersweet to have all those celebrations with the loss in the middle. I hope all of them are comforted by their memories and can make their holidays into something special and celebratory of the too-short life they shared with their special loved one.

Lori Foster said...

I soooo agree with Donna. Dianne is the most wonderful woman I know. She has a heart so big, it puts the rest of us to shame.
I feel blessed - at Christmas and every other time of the year - to count Dianne as one of my friends.

Happiest of Holidays to all of you!


Marcia James said...

Hi, Dianne! {{{waving from Columbus}}} I don't have any Christmas miracle stories, but I can say that I've read STAR QUALITY and loved it! ;-)

Happy Holidays!
-- Marcia James ;-)

DianneCastell said...

Hi, Anna. England! How neat. What part do you live in. Rosemary Laurey and I are headed your way in April. She's also English and I can't wait to see England with a native. :-)

Hi, Laurie. So very sorry about your friend's illness and passing. My dh died this year also, two weeks after our daughter's marriage. We were in hope he could give her away but he was too ill to make it. Hard times. Cancer is a beast.

Hi, Caren. It is those little miracles that keep us going all year and if I get this book done on time that will be one of them!

Hi. Lori! I loved doing Star Quality with you. My first Kensington book. What a thrill.
Lori is the best friend ever. Don't know how I'd make it without her.

Hi Marcia! Can't wait to do our program at RWA National. Thankd for putting it all together.


Dina said...

Hi Diane and Bandits,

So far nothing magical has happend, but when I see my grandkids faces light up on Christmas day, that in itself will be magical!!

Off today, snow day but dont get paid, but safety is very important, we have a major snow storm today, so much snow, can't get out of my driveway,

Anna Sugden said...

Dianne - I'm in Cambridge - about 45 mins from London. Would love to see you when you're over. Donna can vouch for me (yes, you can, Donna!) Are you taking in M&B and RNA while you're over or is research and pleasure?

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi all - I'll be heading out to deal with a family emergency in a few moments (no worries - nothing health related) but wanted to say how much I'm enjoying the stories.
Dianne - what a wonderful question to ask.

Christmas babies are the best. There's something magical about them - especially when they're grandbabies and you get to coo and do all the fun things before handing them to the parents for the night feedings *g*.

Beth - As a mom I'd say it's a miracle not to see the kids fighting - then to have them sing Silent Night together - that would make me cry as well.

Laurie (and Dianne) - hugs on your losses. At least you know you and our friend made their lives magical while on this earth. Not everyone finds that love.

Waving hi to Lori and Marcia!

Dianne - you're heading to England and leaving me behind???? *g* I'm jealous. Have a safe and wonderful trip.

Gillian Layne said...

My most magical (non-children) Christmas was when DH and I were unable to go home to the parents because of snow. We drove around our town Christmas Eve with snow falling, simply gorgeous, and then Christmas day we went to the movies. And stayed home. :) Utterly romantic, I highly recommend to newlyweds spending a holiday or two ALONE, instead of madly racing from one home to another.

Helen, I will NEVER tire of hearing about yours, or anyone else's, grandbabies!

Thanks for a lovely post, Dianne.

PJ said...

Hi Dianne! Welcome to the lair! Christmas is my favorite holiday and little bits of magic seem to be all around at this time of year. Thirty-seven years ago my mom was pregnant with my youngest brother and in danger of losing him. It was touch and go all month but in the magic of Christmas morning this tiny little guy was born and next week the big, healthy man will celebrate his birthday once again.

I love the magic of Christmas Eve candlelight service at my church with the entire congregation filing out into the night at the end of the service, holding candles and singing Silent Night.

I love the wonder and excitement in the faces of the children this time of year. Wednesday afternoon I was wearing my Santa hat during my volunteer stint at the hospital's Info Desk. A little girl with huge eyes asked, "Are you Santa's helper?" I said "I sure am. Have you been a good girl?" She assured me she had and (with Mom's permission) I gave her a chocolate sucker. You should have seen the size of that grin! A little while later they passed the desk again with an older couple. I heard the little girl tell them, in an awe-struck voice, "That's Santa's helper!".

PJ said...

Congrats on nabbing the GR Helen! Watch him around those Christmas puddings. He's a notorious taste-tester!

Joan said...

Nice come back, Helen!

Welcome to The Lair Dianne!

Star Quality sounds great..(look out TBR stack..incoming.

A specific miracle does not come to mind though there is a recurring one that I enjoy...the smile of a baby.

My friend has a 6 month old and she's at just the right age that with a little cooing at her...SMILE.

Nothing can take away fatigue faster.

mcrowley41 said...

We always sit on the stairs Christmas morning for a few minutes before opening presents, (with bad bedhead and feeling exhaustion) but the kids are so excited, its magical.


Dianna Love said...

Hi Dianne -

I was in the middle of putting together an update on one of my websites that included a plug for my adorable Bandito buddies (waving at all of you from Peachtree City) so I thought I'd jump over and say hello. Had no idea you were here today.

Love the post. So nice to reflect on fun holiday memories this time of year. I'm looking forward to seeing you and Lori Foster (Hi Lori - I'm plugging the June event too, btw) at the June Reader and Writers event.

Hope everyone here has a great holiday.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dianne, and welcome to the Lair! We are thrilled to have you here!

I loved your post! I am a firm believer in magic of all kinds -- especially the magic of love. When my kids ask if Santa is real, I am on firm ground telling them, "Love is real, isn't it? Love makes magic things happen. And Santa is just like love."

That's absolutely true and I have not a moment's hesitation telling them that, even though my third grader is at the age to be very very skeptical. But he wants to believe, just like we all want to believe. And I don't like to lie to them -- but I don't have to. :-)

Snow is also magical. At least here in the Pacific NW, where we don't get it very often. Big drifting fakes of perfectly white, soft, quiet snow are definitely magic.

Thanks again for visiting!
hugs right back to you!

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Dianne! Star Quality sounds wonderful! I love the long-shot, no-way-could-they-find-each-other love stories. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for that one.

As far as magic goes, I'm torn. My inner Mulder wants to believe but my inner Scully keeps beating him down. :-) But I'll keep my mind & my heart open this holiday season & see what turns up. I'd consider it a minor miracle if we don't get blizzarded out of our long drive home this weekend.

DianneCastell said...

Hi, Kristin. The Santa thing is magic all by itself. What's not to love about Santa!

Hi, Diane! Thanks for plugging the June Event. Lori and I can't wait. We'll open registration Jan 1. It keeps growing. Last year we had 300. So many new friends! Hope you can make it.

Hi, Margaret! Yes the special time before opening the presents is neat. All is well, then chaos! Hugs to your family.

Hi, Joan. Babies are wonderful. Renews the world.

Hi, PJ. Midnight Mass is glorious. Always gives me a special feeling and reminds me what Christmas is about.


DianneCastell said...


Anyone getting dumped on? Stay safe and warm today if you have to go out in it. I hear it's going to be bad for the Northeast.

Snow makes Christmas. I think an inch on Christmas morning is nice. Then it goes away by lunch so we can all get togehte without slipping and sliding.

Louisa Cornell said...

Helen, the chook is just an old softie. He can't resist those babies! Who could??

Merry Magical Christmas Dianne and thanks for all you do to give back to readers and other writers.

I've seen so many little bits of magic at Christmas and they keep me going when things aren't so magical!

Hearing the church bells on Christmas morning when we lived in England. The sound would start up the hill at the big Anglican church and then it would pick up in the next village and the next. There would be snow everywhere and it was just one of those rare perfect things.

Visiting the Christkind Markt in Salzburg on an evening when the snow was just flurrying around you.

The Adventsingen in the Dom in Salzburg.

Singing Handel's Messiah at a little country church in Mississippi.

Christmas caroling at a nursing home one year in the company of a little lion cub and a lamb who insisted on bleating until one precious little old lady took him in her lap and rocked him. (The zoo volunteers did this one year and it was so much fun and truly amazing.)

And if you want to see magic go to the mall and watch those kids talk to Santa Claus. I do it and I don't have kids!

jo robertson said...

Laurie, how sad for your friend and her family.

I had open heart surgery on my daughter's birthday, also December 27, and she told me all she could think of was, "Please don't let my mom die on my birthday."

It's sad when tragedy happens around a beloved holiday.

DianneCastell said...

Oh, Louisa, What wonderful Christmas magic. Love the rocking the lamb part. I hope to get to Christmas Market sometime. I hear it's wonderfu.

Hi Jo. So glad your surgery went well. Scary stuff and so hard on your family.


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Welcome to the Lair, Dianne! Great to have you here. :> The story sounds fab. As JoanieT said...look out TBR...INCOMING! Grins. (I LOL at that JT)

As to magic, it's around everyday. As an avid gardner, I see it outside me, even in the winter. The little birds on the feeder are fairly magical too. Have you ever stopped to realize how blinkin' many colors of brown and black and gold are on a sparrow? It's amazing. (It's also quite a thorough distraction from deadlines. Ha!)

Speaking of deadlines, Dianne, I'm so sorry you have one over Christmas. Urg.

The kids are magic in their own way, and every day I'm happy to see thing through their eyes. Jo and Helen can attest to the magic of a new one! And Suz too, since she sees 'em every day. Ha!

(BTW Helen, congrats on the chook!)

Back to the point...magic is everywhere!

p226 said...

Hmmmmm.... Magical things that've happened to me at Christmas?

Dunno about magical, but there's sure funny:

That was how I spent Christmas Eve 1990. (Most of you have seen that before)

I don't think I've had any magical Christmases. Though, I've tried very hard to create a few for my son. One of the best, I think, was when my boy got his first rifle. The rifle was actually shoved under an old couch in the basement. But his gift box simply had a note. "I'm in the coldest place in the house." It took him ten minutes to look in the freezer where there was another note. "I'm on the fastest thing around." A half hour later, he looks on the seat of my sport-bike in the garage, where yet another note waits for him with another cryptic location.

After a dozen or so of these, he finally found his rifle. That was a huge gift for him, because it wasn't just a material possession. That gift (and he's well aware of this) was a commentary on his level of maturity and responsibility. A rite of passage, so to speak.

This very moment, I'm trying to work out a way to make this Christmas magical for him. It may be challenging.

DianneCastell said...

Funny stuff at Christmas is good too. I can still see the whole family making cookies when the kids were little and the two-year-old dumped the flour on her head. Christmas ghost!

This year we chopped out own Chirstmas tree. Three broads and an axe. Entertainment for everyone out chopping. Fun day.


DianneCastell said...

Here's a little excerpt from chapt three of my Moonstuck from Star Quality. I'll post some more later on. I love "older" women in love!

Having sex with Marc Adams was not on her list of things she wanted to do at forty-one, but it sure as heck should be. “You really want me?”
The faint light spilling over into the oversized coatroom from the hallway cast shadows across his face. He gave her a smile that looked wolfish in the dim light and he said in a husky voice, “Oh, babe.”
Babe? She was a forty-year-old babe! His erection pressed more intimately against her middle and she marveled at the strength of the zipper keeping it in check...then she considered it not in check. A fast pulse beat at the juncture of her legs. Prickles of heat ran up her spine and neck. She gulped. “In a coatroom?”
He kissed her, his tongue tangling with hers, the bra unsnapped. Holy smoke! In a coatroom!
“If we use my room upstairs or your apartment, “he said against her lips, “the whole town’s talking by morning.”
Her heart knocked against her ribs. He undid her blouse, popping two buttons. Ann Taylor had not designed for rapid stripping in a coatroom.

p226 said...

And now I need a water cooling system for my monitor.

Maybe liquid nitrogen...


Buffie said...

Hey Dianne! Love the magical post. The book sounds wonderful. I love the idea of the setting being a small Ohio town. My family is from the Ohio/Indiana area, so my mind immediately conjures up the small town my grandparents lived in. There were magic in that place. Or at least it sure felt like it everytime I visited with them.

For me, magic at this time of year revolves around making others happy. Giving to the needy, helping people with food, and showing my boys that it IS so much better to give then receive. And the magic is in not telling the person you are helping. To see the wonder and surprise in their eyes.

DianneCastell said...

This is the opening for Moonstuck. sets up a bit of the magic to come.

“How’s it feel to be rid of a hundred-and-eighty pounds that was slowly ruining your life?” Bridget asked Julia as they made their way down the courthouse steps in Delicious, Ohio.
The clock on the spire chimed twelve and Julia took off her wedding ring. She kissed it, tossed it high, sunlight sparkling against the gold band, and the fifteen-year symbol of her marriage to Frank Simons splashed into the fountain in the town’s square. “Since I divorced his lying, cheating ass ten minutes ago it feels great.”
Bridget grinned. “’Bout time. You deserve better than him.”
“Deception in a relationship sucks, and my dear ex is the king of deception. If I hadn’t found his other credit card with charges for flowers I never got, fancy restaurants I never visited, and plane tickets to places where I never went; I wouldn’t have known.”
She watched water stream from the top bowl to the second larger one, then overflow into the apple-shaped basin. “I wish Frank, that rotten pig, would wind up in that fountain with the ring. They belong together.”
She turned as Frank Simons the third, bank president and son of the most prestigious family in town, strutted down the steps. He gave her the bird, snickered...then tripped and fell into the splashing water. Arms flailing, he slipped forward then back, finally standing upright. He swiped his stunned face as water cascaded over his head. Then he snorted? Yep, it was a snort, all right.
“Sure wish I had a camera to immortalize this touching scene.”
She watched her ex slosh his way down the tree-lined street, his five hundred dollar suit dripping, Gucci shoes leaving dark footprints on the sidewalk. “I wonder how Frank did that, fall into the fountain, I mean? He’s been around it all is life. How could Frank trip on a bright, sunny day in July? Doesn’t that seem...strange?”
“What’s strange is you didn’t push him in.” Bridget fluffed her frosted brown hair and grinned. “Maybe your luck’s changing.

Michele L. said...

Hi Dianne!

Nice to have you here! Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and yours!

Magical moments are to be treasured! Just simple little things like a smile from a friend or a hug sure means a lot!

You sure don't let grass grow under your feet!

Minna said...

Yesterday it snowed very little and it was supposed to snow today -it didn't. And it should be snowing/snowing wet snow/raining the next few days. Either way, it'll be a MIRACLE if the landscape is going look anything like it usually does around Christmas.

David Copperfield - Snow Dream

If your internet connection is faster than mine, you might be able to listen to Radio Nova:
just click Radio Nova on Air on the left (or Joulun radio, if you like to listen to Christmas music).

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Dianne! Love those excerpts. Esp. the fountain. HAHHAHAHA!! Wish that would have happened to my ex. At the time, it would ahve been....magic.

Snicker. :>

Pat Cochran said...

Congratulations, Helen! I've said
it before and I'll probably say it
again: The "Golden One" truly knows
the best places to be!

Having all your Christmas shopping
completed and all the gift wrapping
finished would truly need more than
just a touch of magic! Needless to
say, I do not seem to have that
"magic touch" !!!

Thanks to Ms. Dianne for visiting
with us today!

Pat Cochran

terrio said...

I'm loving the premise of these stories. And I've heard so many good things about the event you put together, Dianne. Maybe someday I'll be able to be part of it.

I also believe in magic. It's everywhere and all you have to do is be open to it. I also believe what you put out to the Universe determines what you get back, so putting some of your own magic out there is always a good thing.

A couple Christmases ago I got a visit from an angel, but I've told that story before. It changed my life and I'm ever so grateful for it.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and I'm in the "haven't bought a gift" group. Thankfully, my kiddo won't be back from her dad's until after the big day so I can hit all the after-holiday sales. Whoot!

Keira Soleore said...

Dianne, welcome to The Lair and a Merry Christmas to you. If ever there's a time to believe in magic, it's during Christmas.

For me friendships are the most magical things in existence. How two people who'd never on paper meet, greet, or stay in touch, become friends for years is inexplicable and wonderful.

Friends like Fo and PJ make the magic last all year long.

Helen, you've recaptured your magic touch in luring the GR to your place.

Catslady, missed by a mere two minutes.

Donna, Helen has tons of practice chasing after grandchildren and with two more boys in the family, there's much more running around in the cards for her. Running circles around the chook is pure gravy.

PJ said...

(((Keira))) Believe me, you return that friendship magic ten-fold!

Nancy said...

Helen, you nabbed him again! Way to go.

Catslady, better luck next time.

Helen, I agree that you got two fabulous presents, and I, at least, am not at all tired of hearing about them. :-)

Laurie, that's so sad. My father died between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we lost another close relative a week before Christmas when I was growing up. Such events do change the way the holiday feels.

The year Daddy died, I just wasn't up to doing Christmas cards. I send way more than the dh, and we've always each done our own and some of the joint ones (except for the printing, which he does--did I mention we don't even have a final design yet this year?). He came to me one day with the list and said, "Mark the cards you really want to go out. I'll write them and address them. All you have to do is sign your name." Asking him if he'd do that hadn't occurred to me, but he had my back, even on something non-essential.

terrio said...

My ex is coming to town in a little over a week for the first time since kiddo and I moved here. I need to find a fountain. Then again, I do have the entire ocean here.....

Nancy said...

Diane, welcome to the lair! I do think there's something magical about Christmas. A lighted Christmas tree in a dark room always makes me feel as though I'm peeking into fairyland.

Probably the most magical Christmas moment we ever had was the year the boy was two, almost three. He came into the living room in his little onesie and saw Tigger peeking out of the top of his stocking, and his eyes opened wide, and his face glowed, and I felt life was perfect in that instant.

limecello said...

Magical things? Well - sometimes running into (or getting to see) friends we haven't seen in about 4-6 years - that's always nice.
Buying the perfect gift - the little, yet great things.

Cassondra said...

Okay, tried to post and failed so lessee if this'll go through and not be a dupe.....

Dianne, welcome to the lair!

Okay, sitting in Barnes & Noble, I have no excuse. Gonna go look for this book. It's just what I need this hectic holiday. Magical, shorter stories that I can enjoy with a slightly shorter time involvement!

Dianne, thanks for all you do with the charity event, and I saw that Lori was here earlier as well, so my Kudos to both of you for this long-running, outstanding work.

Donna, thanks for bringing Dianne to us!

Treethyme said...

This was my first year at Dianne and Lori's event in West Chester, on the outskirts of Cincinnati. It was so much fun -- I recommend it highly! Hope to see some of you there in 2009.

Dianne -- I'm sure this holiday season is going to be rough for you. Hang in there.

I'm looking forward to reading the new book!

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, clearly he's yearning for some Tim Tams! Congratulations! Catslady, you were SOOOO close! In the words of the immortal Maxwell Smart, miss it by THAT much! ;-)

Sorry I'm late coming over! Hope there's still some eggnog for me! Donna and Dianne, really enjoyed the blog. Thanks for putting it up! Loved the shot from It's a Wonderful Life! This is such a busy time of year, sometimes you only see the hassle. I read your post and I thought, "No, smell the roses! It's Christmas! Enjoy it!"

Laurie, that's such a sad story. How sad for your friend and her family. Hugs.

Hey, Dianna, we LOVE to see you (no pun intended - well, maybe a leetle one!). Happy Christmas to you and may 2009 bring you even more stellar writing success! Come and see us again soon!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Welcome to the Lair, Dianne!!

One of the things I find magical is the music. My daughter Lyndsey and I were at an outdoor mall here, and there was a children's chorus singing outdoors. We just stopped and listened... it was so sweet!

At our house the music has always been a big part of the season. Church choirs, church children's plays, school choirs, even singing around our own tree after we put the lights up, (Uhm, everyone had to sing a solo accapella!).

So a few years ago, Lyndsey needed gifts for 15 people at work. She asked her dad to help her record a CD. He plays jazz piano, so they did an 8 song CD. She sang the melody and harmonies. When they finished she gave them to her co workers and he mailed them to family. It's become a tradition.

I just finished listening to this year's CD. It wouldn't be Christmas without hearing her sing some of my favorites!

Nathalie said...

Not a lot happens at christmas usually, other than eating more that I should!

Have a nice holiday.

Lily said...

Christmas always brings great things, reunions with family and friends.

Happy Holidays to all bloggers!

DianneCastell said...

Hi, All, I had to run out. My daughter called with some last minute Christmas stuff she needed done.

wow, the malls are nuts! Hope you all have your shopping done. Just finding a parking place was magical.


DianneCastell said...

Another snipped from Moonstruck.

He detected a touch of sadness in Julia’s eyes. After a wonderful night of making love what caused that? But the look left as quickly as it came, or maybe he just imagined it in the first place. She stood and reclaimed her clothes, the moonlight glistening off her delectable skin as she moved about the boathouse. “You’re a goddess, Julia. I couldn’t wish for more.”
“Wish!” She sounded less than thrilled. She faced the window, hands on hips, the heavenly light pooling around her naked body. “I hate wishes. Why does anyone make them without considering just what they’re getting themselves into? Wishing on stars and at birthdays and at wells is stupid. People should put their money in the bank, not a puddle of water in the ground.”
He came to her side and turned her to face him. “What’s wrong with whishing? It’s just for fun.”
“Fun?” She faced him. “Did you say fun?” she ground out then stepped back from him and kicked one of the pillows where they’d made love. “Let’s just forget wishes they bring nothing but trouble.

Virginia said...

Congrats Helen for getting the GR today. Take good care of him, he got to rest again yesterday.

Dianne, what a great post and yes it is a magical time of the year. To me just getting the gifts bought and wrapped is magical.

Today I drove to my sister's house and we went out to lunch and done a little shopping, so this is magical to me because I don't get to do this often.

DianneCastell said...

Hi, Keira.

I so agree about friendships being magical. When things go right to hell it's your friends who pull you through.

DianneCastell said...

Hi, Terrio!
I wish you luck with your ex. I'll be thinking of you. Let us know how it goes. Keep the ocean in mind. :-)
Hugs, Dianne

Donna MacMeans said...

I'm baaacck....

What a craxy drive. It was 37 degrees when we left Columbus, drove through rain and fog to 60 degree temperatures in Cincinnati (only about 150 miles away)! Returned to Columbus and darn if it isn't 37 degrees again.

Okay - here's my story - One year before kids, my husband and I were so proud of the gifts we bought for the other that we teased each other without mercy. We put the gifts under the tree to tempt the other. About a week before Christmas, we cracked under the pressure and agreed to open just one gift each. Opening gifts is a lot like eating potato chips. In no time we'd opened everything - EVERYTHING! So where's the magic? That year we had two Christmases as we ran out and bought more gifts to open on Christmas Day *g*.

Donna MacMeans said...

For those curious about the reader's event mentioned earlier - Lori and Dianne host a reader/writer event the first weekend in June. Last year over 100 authors attended - talk about raffle baskets!!! The event itself is relatively inexpensive so lots of lovers of romance can attend. It's held in West Chester which is just north of Cincinnati. If at all possible, plan to attend. It's great!

flchen1 said...

Hi, Dianne! Thanks for your lovely post! Yep, love and other magical stuff makes life special at Christmas and the rest of the year :) I'm glad when I can stop running around and just spend a little time with a child on my lap and enjoy a little snuggling. They outgrow lap sitting pretty quick!

Star Quality is a great anthology--please don't enter me (already on the keeper shelf ;))

Congrats on the GR, Helen!

Caffey said...

I loved STAR QUALITY so don't put me in for that. I just had to stop and give a big hello out to you Dianne! I've dearly love your books and you're a wonderful lady!

My hubby is impossible to shop for! We stopped exchanging gifts on Christmas a few years ago. But whenever I find that something special during the year, I get it for him, even if he's with me. He's the same way. He's a special hero :) He puts up with all my reading, smile. You have a wonderful Christmas and Holidays Dianne! Cathie

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I didn't make it back yesterday to comment, life so often gets in the way and people seem to think I should work to make a living, imagine that!
Dianne Star Quality sounds like a wonderful book, I can't wait to track it down and read it.

DianneCastell said...

Hi, Caffey.
Shopping for guys is so hard but when you do fine just the right thing is magic. :-)So glad you liked Star Quality. Thank you!

Hey, Hardworkingmom. This time of year I bet you're working harder than ever. Take some time for yourself too.

Hugs, Dianne

DianneCastell said...

Here's a little look at what the June event is all about. Lori and I won't post this till Jan 1 and start taking reservations then.

We'd love for you all to come. We do raffles and give the money to charity. Lori and I loooove doing this. We only charge for the cost of food for the event and we pick up everthing else. This year a few publishers have donated money so we can include more and still keep the costs low.

Hope to see you June 5!

5th Annual
Readers and Writers Get Together
Lori Foster, Dianne Castell, Linda Keller

Friday June 5 - Sunday June 7

All raffle proceeds will benefit the
One Way Farm Children’s Home of Fairfield Ohio

Meet authors Lori Foster, Dianne Castell, and more! (Check the updated list online)

Meet agents Roberta Brown from Brown Literary, & Karen Solem from Spencerhill Associates

Meet NY editors Cindy Hwang from Berkley, and Monique Patterson from St. Martins

Many Special Guests:
Jane Friedman, Publisher & Editorial Director of Writer’s Digest
Sheila Clover, COS Productions
Michele Buonfiglio,
Crissy Brashear, Samhain Publisher
Angela James, Samhain, Executive Editor
Marty Mathews, Samhain, Public Relations
DeNita Tuttle, Author Island Promotions
Moni Draper, Senior Editor, Liquid Silver Books

Casual atmosphere with plenty of time to visit with your online friends, talk to authors and industry professionals, get photos and more!

Raffle baskets galore! (Everyone is welcome to donate a basket if they want to)
note: our raffle proceeds always go to a very worthy cause

There will a giant book fair, as well as a used book trade.
Plus there’s always time to get your already-purchased books signed by attending authors!

Agent or Editor appointments
** Follow directions from agent/editor website info – link at
contact Dianne Castell at
Appointments filled in order received! You MUST register before requesting appt.

DianneCastell said...

Thanks, Flechen.
So glad you enjoyed star quality.
Kids do make christmas! Wish I could go back and see my kids little again.
Hugs, Dianne

DianneCastell said...

Winners of Star Quality are:

Jo Robertson

If you all would email me at
with your address I'll send along copies of Star Quality.
Thanks for chating and you have a wondreful and magical Christmas.