Sunday, December 15, 2013

The time it was two turtle doves

What is someone supposed to do with turtle doves, let alone two of them? Anyhoo. Here we are for day two of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway!

Today we have the awesomesauce Gretchen McNeil sharing an early Christmas memory.  Let's all welcome her!

"Santa Didn't Come"

I don't remember much about 1978. I don't remember Roman Polanski skipping bail and fleeing to France. I don't remember porn magnate Larry Flynt getting shot. I don't remember who won the Oscar for Best Picture (apparently, Annie Hall) and I don't remember who won the SuperBowl (apparently, the Cowboys). I don't remember Pete Rose getting his 3,000th hit, or the first Unabomber attack, or the death of not one bu two Popes, or the birth of the first test tube baby, the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone, or the horrific mass murder-suicide at Jonestown.

What I do remember, quite clearly in fact, is waking up on Christmas morning, 1978 with the panicked knowledge that Santa didn't come.

In fairness, I was three-years old.

My poor mother -- a single mom, by then -- was awakened at 5am by a semi-hysterical daughter who'd climbed out of her crib and run sobbing into her mom's room.

"What's wrong, Bunny Rabbit?" my mom asked, still trying to wake up.

"Santa didn't come," I sniffled.

I don't remember distinctly, but there's a good chance my mom rolled her eyes in the darkness.

"Are you sure?" she asked, soothingly.


She climbed out of bed and took me by the hand. "Let's go check."

Instead of heading for the Christmas tree in the living room, she led me back into my room. Lo and behold, Santa had left a brand new hobby horse wrapped in a ginormous bow leaning LITERALLY against my crib. How I'd managed to miss that as I climbed out is beyond me.

Clearly, I'd been having a nightmare that Santa had skipped our house that year. Perhaps it was my toddler subconscious interpreting the financial hard times we were going through, or perhaps it was just that age-old fear that you'd wake up on Christmas morning with coal in your stocking and a note from Santa detailing your naughty transgressions throughout the year. Either way, I was convinced that Santa hadn't come, and the joy that washed over me at seeing that damn hobby horse was immense.

The tree was no less joy-inspiring. Presents and goodies and treats galore, including the most prized gift of the day: Baby Come Back (she'd toddle away, turns, and comes back to you). Yes, that's three-year-old me opening said doll.

I'd like to point out that my mom and I still have some of those ornaments on our respective 2013 Christmas trees.

I had an amazing childhood. Despite a deadbeat dad and bank accounts that were never as full as those of my friends, I had love in abundance. My mom used to tell me, "Santa will always come as long as someone loves you."

And he always did.


Huge thanks to Gretchen for sharing this story and that photo!! Make sure you're following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, subscribing to her blog and adding all of her books on your GoodReads shelves.

And now for the giveaway!!

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
 That's right.  I have signed, paperback copies of Possess and Ten. Rules for the giveaway are under "terms and conditions" on the Rafflecopter widget, this contest is international!

**Good Luck!!** 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hmm. I think I would have to say Barbie dolls!

  2. Probably books. Or my American Girl Doll (that wasn't actually an American Girl Doll, it was a knock off).

  3. As a kid? Probably the Nintendo NES with Super Mario Bros 3!

  4. We were so poor after my parents divorced; my biological father wouldn't pay child support and my mother had left with nothing and moved us across the country (for safety). We left with only our favorite toys and I don't remember us asking for anything expensive at all. I really wanted a Little Red Riding Hood doll - it could be converted to the wolf or the grandmother, but the doll was about $7 and my sister wanted one, too, so there was no chance of getting one. One of her friends had visited and asked what we really wanted for Christmas and I told him. I got in lots of trouble, because I thought he was just asking - it was a common question around Christmas, but Mom suspected he might be up to no good. Yep. He bought Cindy and I those dolls. We were so happy. Of course, we got them BEFORE Christmas, because he dropped them off and my mother suspected what was in them and let us have them.

  5. Barbie Dolls and Nintendo Games

  6. I enjoyed getting books. My favorite from my childhood were Andrew Lang's Fairy Books. They had awesome colored covers.

  7. I loved food. Cookies were my favourite, and i would finish the pack within minutes

  8. This was such an awesome story! I think my favourite present as a little kid was probably anything to do with my dollhouses. Gosh, tiny chairs, tiny beds...the works. Every year too. I was a touch obsessed. ;) Thanks for the terrific giveaway!

  9. I never got Christmas gifts. I think I got a fish once which was awesome, but I was never the type who wanted presents. Its a little weird, actually.

    - Nova

  10. This is such a sweet story :)
    Chocolates,dolls - my favorite Christmas gifts :)

  11. What a sweet story! I loved POSESS, and I can't wait to read TEN. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  12. Forgot to mention my favorite gift when I was little! My parents gave me roller skates one year. It was a HUGE deal. We had a big family and not a lot of money, and those skates were so special and unexpected. They had sparkles, too, obviously. :)

  13. I dont really remember much of christmas from childhood..So i asked my mother and she had told me that i had this purple stuffed dog that glowed in the dark and she said i took it to heart and toted it everywhere.. I vaguely remember it too-mostly because i slept with it every night!!!!!!

  14. Dolls/stuffed animals when I was little.

  15. My favorite gift as a kid was probably legos! I loved legos when I was a kid! They were so much fun! I still love them!

  16. My scooter!
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway, and what a great story!

  17. My giant, pink Barbie dollhouse. :D
    Thank you!

  18. A Horsman doll I got when I was 5 that I called Missy. I didn't throw it out till a few years ago, when I was 29. I loved that doll, but her hair was all messed-up by then, and she was taking up alot of space.

  19. My first Cabbage Patch Kid was my fave Christmas present. I still have her (and the other 2 I received after her), too. Her name is Ivy Andrea & she has brown pigtails. :) My mom waited in a long line at KMart to get her for me.

  20. Gosh. My favourite was a babydoll I named Emily. She was huge! I used to change her clothes and take her everywhere! People thought she was real. lol. When I left for school, I made my mom take care of her:)

  21. Notes & lots Stationaries! I like Barbie dolls too..

  22. My favorite gift as a kid was a Playmobil House, thank you for the giveaway!

    Raffle name: Demitra Giote

  23. I don't celebrate Christmas but books were the best gift ever!

  24. Sadly, I don't remember any Christmas gift during my childhood. They're just things and I don't much care about it at that time. All I want every Christmas is to be with my Mom and Dad, and that's rare. It's really sad.
    But anyways, now what I only want is books, books and books! I don't get attach to material things easily except for books. So it's my favorite gift! :)

  25. Probably all the books I got. Everyone always gives me books or money for books. One year, I amounted to about 300 dollars in book gift certificates. It was awesome.

  26. My favorite Christmas gift as a child was money. My family never really knew what to get me, so they would always just give me money so I can buy anything I want for myself.

  27. I had a lot of really cool gifts over the years, but I remember being especially out of my mind excited for my purple beanbag chair. You know, the one that ripped shortly thereafter. But I still loved it, even while it was literally spilling the beans everywhere. My mom, I'm sure, can not say the same.

  28. THe complete works of Poe, from my dad. It's especially memorable because this is the only gift he specifically picked out; otherwise, my mom did all the shopping for us.

  29. I remember back when I was, what, ten years old? I got one of those clunky cameras that had all the fascinating technology of a disposable camera but I felt SO COOL because I was the first kid in my family to have my very own camera, and I LOVED taking pictures with that thing. Obviously I automatically felt like I was a professional photographer--oh my childhood innocence!

  30. I would have to say my Nintendo DS. :)

  31. We do not celebrate Christmas so never had a Christmas gift but we do like to take in the goodness of the festival. And this year I decided to gift myself a e-reader as I know it is on a bit expensive side so I did not wanted to bother my parents so I collected enough money in last one and half year that I brought a kindle paperwhite for myself and will be receiving it most probably on 27th, so it is my best Christmas present up-till now :)


  32. Barbie. Lol, I know, it's so girly, but I used to love those dolls, along with playmobil and books, yeah, some of those too ;-)

  33. As a child, I really loved it when I got books, and of course, BARBIES for Christmas:)

  34. One year, there was a giant box under the tree and I was so jealous of whoever it belonged to... Then was shocked to discover it was mine! It was a stereo with a 6-CD disc changer! I still have it but it's in the attic now. But I still love it! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  35. I'm not sure if it was a favourite, but I remember the doll I got that had a remote control and did somersaults. She was a shared gift with my 2 sisters. We had her 30 minutes before we decided to see if how she'd tumble down the stairs. Not well. She broke. We cried our hearts out. LOVE LOVE LOVE the baby picture of you, doll! Honestly, you under my tree would be the best gift I could ever get! Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!

  36. Like most of the kids at that time, all I wanted was Barbie dolls, so it was all squeals and giggles when I got them. :)

  37. All the presents I have received are my favourites! :0)

  38. BOOKS, probably The Narnia Boxset!



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