Saturday, December 05, 2015

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS - Rosanne Croft, Sharon Smith, Linda Reinhardt - One Free Book

Welcome, Rosanne. How did this book come about?
We wrote stories for 3 books and our editor/publisher creatively put all the stories in a
sparkling new edition with Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. How exciting for us to have this book of Christmas stories available at Walmart stores as well as online.

What was your contribution to the collection?
I wrote eight stories for the book. Some are based on real life memories and others are sheer imagination. 

What other books have you written?
Our first book together was Like A Bird Wanders, a historical novel. We had such fun doing it together, with each of us starring as a sister in the book. After the Christmas stories, we moved on to individual projects and cheer for each others new endeavors. I think your readers may remember I was featured on your blog this past year for A Gentile in Deseret a Utah romance based on a relationship between a lovely LDS girl and a born again Christian guy. What conflict already! Its the first in a series and the second, A Saint in the Eternal City will be forthcoming on Amazon soon.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.
Ill let you read the long version in my story, Starlight and Snow. The essence was a Nativity scene that we traditionally went to see at night. There was a padded kneeler in front where you could study the figures, and while there it almost came alive to me. Peace settled on me, unbelievable peace.

Tell us something about your family.
Im married to a good man and its been 35 years! We have a special trip planned to
celebrate. We have a 21 year old daughter in and out of our home, although independent for the most part. Two married sons have given us five grandchildren.

Today we went to Grandparents Day with five-year-old Grayson and made turkeys!

Please give us the first page of one of the stories you contributed to the collection.
From The Longest Silence by Rosanne Croft

It was a good day. I had two letters at mail call one from my mom and one from a guy
whod shipped out of Vietnam two months ago. I walked to my bunk and tore open the one from Charlie. Peace on Earth1968, his card said.  But the picture had nothing to do with Christmas; it was a photo of an M48 tank. Wed given Charlie a celebration barbeque at Quonset hut, our hooch. But his attitude had been so  cynical and mean; I didnt see why wed gone to any trouble for a selfish guy like him. Now he
sends me a demoralizing Christmas photo card.

Merry Christmas to you, too, pal , I thought gloomily.
Charlies sarcastic greeting threw me into a cranky mood of self pity. He was home, far
from the rocket attacks on our evacuation hospital. Hed never have to carry another gurney off a helicopter in the middle of the night, I thought bitterly. Charlie was spending the holiday at home with his family, complete with stockings on the fireplace and a decked-out Christmas tree. Oh sure, here the cooks at the mess would roast a big turkey dinner for us, I knew. But the turkey, and especially the potatoes and gravy, never tasted like home. Must have been all the insects buzzing around, ending up in the food. Extra protein, some guys said.

We medics were friends for life, most of us, locked together in mortal combat against wounds received by our fighting men in the rice patties and jungles of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. At the 71st Evacuation Hospital, our job was to save as many lives as we could, and we did it twelve hours every night shift and twelve hours every day shift. We stabilized them and sent them on.

But this December of 1968, when US casualties peaked at over 16,000 killed in one year,
I felt the same hopelessness depicted on that card. There would never be peace on earth. I tucked the card into my pants pocket with dismay and walked out of the hooch.

I almost rammed straight into Phil, the chaplains assistant, as he hurried back from the
direction of the sergeant majors office. Poor Phil; hed lost every hair on his twenty-year-old head from taking quinine to fight against malaria. We all took it, but some men had the bad luck to have side effects. Young guys look strange when theyre that bald. Talk about nerdy. Thatd be Phil.

Hey, Sergeant, he said, I have a surprise.

Why did you want to write a book like this?
The stories were a wonderfully creative way to commemorate some of my best Christmas
memories. Important family stories will now be in written form, only fictionalized a bit to make them more interesting.

What do you want the reader to take away from your stories in the collection?
I hope readers who like to curl up with a book of stories will be touched emotionally and feel peace in their situations. Sometimes I read to escape and I know there are those kinds of stories here, too. Throughout human history, there have been hard times but Christmas is the time to be reminded of Jesus living presence. I pray readers see the reality of Jesus coming at Christmas and feel his love for them.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I would love to be friends with readers on Facebook under Rosanne Croft. My blog is alas, not updated, but its at Thanks for the interview, Lena!

Now we'll meet the second author in the collection.

Welcome, Sharon. How did this book come about?
I had so many  story ideas in my head and knew for sure I'd never be able to write novels from them all, so when the short story concept clicked, I was on a roll.

What was your contribution to the collection?
Twenty-seven of the stories are mine.

What other books have you written?
My first book was a historical novel written with Linda and Rosanne, titled Like a Bird Wanders. The sequel, Old Sins Long Shadows was my own endeavor. My next book, The Train Baby's Mother, is a Holocaust survivor's story and won first place in the 2013 Oregon Christian Writer's contest. The three Christmas books contained in this anthology followed. The Short Life of Moths, a book of hope and healing after domestic violence came out in 2013 and spawned a ministry to prevent violence against women through education. Last year, Barbour books published a compilation containing The Train Baby's Mother and two titles by Bruce Judisch.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.
 I love Christmas and have many wonderful memories, but my first Christmas with my first child stands out as one of awesome wonder.

Tell us something about your family.
I'm married and have two grown sons. They each have two incredible daughters who fill my life with joy and laughter. Right now, we're looking forward to a new grandson after the first of the year. I also have a huge extended family who loves to celebrate everything. 

Please give us the first page of one of the stories you contributed to the collection.
 “The Train Baby”
Somewhere in Germany/1943

“I hear nothing, Ellie. Your imagination once again is getting the best of you.”

“I tell you, I heard something, Fritz. What if it's a wounded animal caught in a hunter's trap?”

“They hunt only for food. How many times must I tell you this?”

“Tell me a thousand times, and I will think it cruel.”

Another sound rises from the direction of the rail tracks running through the back of their grandparent's property.

“Fritz!” Ellie's head jerked in the direction of the wail.

“I heard it. Maybe the train hit an animal.”

They moved as fast as the knee-deep snow would allow, straining against the heavy restriction. Cousins brought together by misfortune, living in the country for safekeeping while their fathers fought for the homeland, they found comfort in the camaraderie that kept fears about war at a distance.

Fritz, whose long legs gave him an advantage over the younger Ellie, arrived first. “I see nothing Ellie. Winter plays a trick on us.”

Ellie, her braids now loosed from a red stocking hat, grabbed her heaving sides. Misting breath crystallized in the fierce December cold. “Oh, Fritz, you are always so wise, far and above any boy in all the land.” She waved her arm, bowing in mockery.

Suddenly, the stillness collapsed with a cry, plaintive and intense. 

I read the collection written by you and Bruce. Your story lingered in my thoughts for many days. Why did you want to write a book like this?
The birth of Jesus is the most loving gift from Heaven. My intention was to draw people back to the real meaning of Christmas. 

What do you want the reader to take away from your stories in the collection?
Jesus is real. I want my readers to realize the love that God has for them.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
All my books are at the usual sites. And please look for me on Facebook.

 And now we'll meet the third author, Linda Reinhardt.

How did this book come about?
Sharon put together the original book, Once Upon A Christmas.  It needed some more stories so she invited Roseanne and me. The publisher liked it so much she asked us to put together another one the next year and then the next. And now they are compiled together in this edition.

What other books have you written?
I co-wrote Like A Bird Wanders with Sharon and Roseanne, along with Starry Starry Night, Once Upon A Christmas, and Always Home for Christmas.
I also wrote the Sister Blue Thread Series, Hidden Song, Silenced Song, and soon to be released Lost Song.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.
My favorite Christmas memory - that is hard to answer, there are so many, my first with my husband, my daughters first, times with family and friends, but one memory creeps into my mind every year...When I was young, I always sat next to my Dad at church. He loves hymns and Christmas music. I loved to sit next to him on Christmas Eve and sing Christmas hymns. He has a beautiful voice. Although we don't go to church together right now, I can still hear him singing every Christmas Eve. The memory will literally bring tears to my eyes remembering him singing the songs.

Tell us something about your family.
I am married to a wonderful, Christian man. We have a beautiful, miracle daughter who is now in middle school. I also am blessed to have most of my extended family living nearby.

Why did you want to write a book like this?  
I had some Christmas stories I had written tucked away in files. I had no idea what I was going to do with them. Except one, “Only One Gift For Me,”  which I had also written a screen play for, and it was performed at a church I attended a few years ago, and also at retirement  homes for a couple of years. So ... when Sharon invited me to join her I was more than excited to join the project. 

What do you want the reader to take away from your stories in the collection?
It hit me one Christmas that not everyone I loved believed or were following Jesus, so I wrote a story and passed it around hoping it would lead them to Jesus. I still hope that just maybe, when a person nestles in to read these stories in the middle of the Christmas rush, they might have a few moments of reflecting on the goodness that Jesus brings. And that’s really what this holiday is all about, Jesus, and Him coming to earth as a baby....

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I would love to connect with readers on facebook! Or they can find me on my blog,

Thank you, Rosanne, Sharon, and Linda, for sharing this wonderful book with us. I've read a few of the stories so far and loved them. I know my readers are eager to read the book, as well.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Once Upon a Christmas -
Once Upon a Christmas: 55 Heartwarming Short Stories Bring Meaning to the Season - Amazon
Once Upon a Christmas: 55 Heartwarming Short Stories Bring Meaning to the Season - Kindle

You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Cindy W. said...

I love Christmas stories and anthologies are wonderful as I can read one right after another. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.

Britney Adams said...

I love Christmas stories! This sounds like a wonderful collection!

Britney Adams, TX

Sharon Bernash Smith said...

Cindy, I hope you win!!!

Sharon Bernash Smith said...

I love Christmas stories myself. PS My husband is a native Texan.

Jedidja said...

It is so great to read this post. Thank you.

Linda Kish said...

I love reading Christmas stories any time of year really.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Melanie Backus said...

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Melanie Backus, TX

Linda Reinhardt said...

I love reading, writing, and watching Christmas stories. Even during the summer. I hope everyone really enjoys reading the stories that we wrote, as much as I love reading other people's stories.

Sharon Bernash Smith said...

Linda, me too.

Sharon Bernash Smith said...

Melanie, I love Texas!

Anonymous said...

would love to win. Angela in KY

Anonymous said...

Hi Lena. These are all new authors to me. And, their stories sound great. Sure would love to win the book. Thanks for the giveaway. Maxie (Tx.) > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

Mary Preston said...

Wonderful thank you.

Mary P


rubynreba said...

I'd love to read this collection these Christmas stories!
Beth from IA

Edward Arrington said...

This sounds like a great book to own and be able to start reading a story each day on November 1, finishing up on Christmas day. Edward A in VA

apple blossom said...

sounds like a wonderful book

live in ND

Brenda Arrington said...

I love Christmas stories and would dearly love this book.
Brenda in VA

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Rosanne said...

Love all the comments! Anticipating two winners out there is fun.

sm said...

Christmas collections are so good and I can't wait to win this one! Some new authors for me as well in this collection. Have a blessed Christmas. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sharon Bernash Smith said...

One of the stories is set in Ky.

Sharon Bernash Smith said...

Mary, I'd love to know our book is in Australia.

Karen Hadley said...

Oh these sound good. Makes me want to curl up with a cup of coffee and the book and get lost within the pages.

Linda Reinhardt said...

Excited to see who wins. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas season!

Connie said...

These stories sound wonderful and I would love to read one a day during this Christmas season. Thanks, everyone and Merry Christmas!
Connie from KY
cps1950 (at)gmail(dot)com

Sharon Bernash Smith said...

Even after all these stories, my mind is perking with new ones. 😍

Abigail Richmond said...

Enter me.
Blanch NC

kec200 said...

Love Christmas stories and the interviews were great!

Wendell, NC

Sharon Bernash Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosanne said...

May this be the best Christmas ever for each of you.

Sharon Bernash Smith said...

Beth, my family ties in Iowa go back to the Civil War.

Deanne Patterson said...

I love Christmas short stories. I would look forward to reading this. Merry Christmas.

Deanne in PA