Christmas in My Heart is the result of combining four award-winning short stories to share with family and friends. And hopefully, by word of mouth, many readers will want to add this collection as a “keepsake” of favorite Christmas stories to read again every year. The beautiful, inviting cover by graphic artist Lori Corsentino is one that I’m especially proud to place on my coffee table!
In the collection, the heroines’ ages range from 11 to 27. Each heroine faces a challenge that will change her life. The settings take place in Minnesota, New Mexico, and Colorado.
Here’s a sneak peek at the back cover summary of each story in Christmas in My Heart. Also included in the publication is a teaser from my last novel, Journey to Sand Castle.
During a blustery 1875 winter, a Scandinavian immigrant farm family prepares for the arrival of a baby. When the baby wants to arrive too soon, eleven-year-old Selma must take a challenging journey that transforms her life. ~Women Writing the West LAURA Finalist, 2009
Snow Angels of San Marcial
Christmas is coming in a small Mexican town and young Angelina wants to give her hard-working widowed mother a special gift. But will her unpredictable brothers cooperate? ~ByLine Magazine Christmas Fiction Contest, First Place, 1998
Lauren, a recent widow, hires a carpenter to make her baby son a crib before Christmas. Turns out, the carpenter is a widowed single dad. It’s too soon for romance yet when a tragedy threatens his small Colorado business their mutual attraction cannot be denied.
The Christmas Gift
In 1883, Miriam takes the train to Denver to deliver her orphaned baby nephew to her married sister. But the sweetness of his touch upon her cheek makes her heart tighten. When the time comes, how will she ever let him go? ~Amazon Top Ten YA short fiction ebook , 2014
"This is a heartwarming collection of short stories geared for the holiday season. Stories are rich in imagery that matches the historic time periods and the genre. Love, loss, courage, new beginnings are themes throughout the selections. Even in a sub-zero Minnesota night, the warmth of love and family shines through."
~ Nancy Oswald, WILLA Literary Award, Ruby & Maude Adventures
ENJOY AN EXCERPT
From "The Caretaker"
"We can take no chances, Lars. We have to get Nellie into the house!" With the gust of a stormy night whipping up her skirt, Mama stands over our sick cow. She pulls her heavy woolen shawl closer around her large belly.
Papa strokes Nellie's head, a worrisome look spreading across his face above his full beard. "You want to bring her in the house, Sigrie?"
"Her calf will be born before morning and it will freeze in this bitter night," says Mama.
I shift from one foot to another, knowing Mama would never tell Papa what to do, but this is her job in our family. She is the budeie, the caretaker of cattle, and like the other women in our community, she takes it seriously.
Papa nods in agreement and peers up at the thin layer of slough grass covering the pole shed. The roof started as a thick layer last fall, but our cows have slipped their long, rough tongues between the poles many times for a lick and sometimes come away with mouthfuls.
"Selma, go put some salt in a pan and bring it here," Mama says. "And be quick about it!"
My youngest brother Carl and I run to our small log house, his short legs almost catching up to mine.
By the time I find the salt and put it in a pan, my oldest brother Jens has unloaded a stack of firewood near the stove. I order him to watch Carl and bolt outside into the whirling snow.
Papa has a rope around Nellie's neck. Together, the three of us coax her across the yard by holding the salt pan under her nose. Once through the front door, we shove the poor cow into my room and tie her to the bed post. Nellie and my bed fill the small room. Papa can barely get the door shut.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Denver author Leslee Breene creates award-winning, inspirational stories set in the West. Ms. Breene attended the University of Denver, was a Denver Fashion Group scholar, and graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, NY City. She is active in CRW and a three-time finalist in the annual Women Writing the West LAURA Short Fiction Awards.