Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Countdown to Christmas with Janet Durbin

Hello and welcome to Day 21 in my Count Down to Christmas Blog! Today’s featured guest is Janet Durbin of Whimsical Publications, LLC. Janet is here to share a few Christmas memories with us. So come on into the parlour, kick your shoes off and gather round the hearth.

Snow piles up on the window panes outdoors, while inside, the cherry wood log crackles in the fireplace, giving the room a warm, ethereal glow. Oliver stands off to the side of the parlour, admiring the Douglas Fir he has decorated with blown glass ornaments, twinkle lights, candy canes and gingerbread boys. With a twinkle in his eye, he hangs his stocking on the mantel with care, in the hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be here. Then the doorbell rings and Oliver, donned in his Santa cap, runs off to greet Janet, belting out a verse or two of “Hurry Christmas, Hurry Fun…”

Sharon: Welcome, Janet! So glad you could pop in for a visit! Merry Christmas! How are you?

Janet: I’m great! It’s sure nice to be out of the cold, though. Especially for this Florida girl.

Sharon: Oliver, I’m sure Janet would like something hot to take the chill out. About those refreshments we talked about serving?

Oliver swaggers off, but not before pumping his biceps to Janet with a wink.

Sharon: He can’t help himself. Sigh. So are you ready for Christmas?

Janet: It’s okay. I don’t mind a good flex or two when it comes from a nice looking man. As to Christmas, I’m ready. I couldn’t decorate the tree with more than tinsel and lights this year. I have two cats that are almost a year old and one that is just over a year and they LOVE the tree, if you get what I mean. Each night I come home, the first words out of my mouth are: “And the tree is still standing!”WITCHYS WIKKED GRAPHIX

Sharon: Say no more. I’m no stranger to the little feline darlings and have had plenty of experience with the toppling over of the tree, broken ornaments and kitty no nos!

Oliver struts in, pushing a silver caddy decorated with sprigs of fresh holly and a blooming poinsettia. With a sweeping bow, he presents it to Janet. Then he pours coffee from the carafe into two dainty teacups. He uncovers a platter of freshly baked sugar cookies, fudge brownies and chocolate chips.

Sharon: Thank you, Oliver. Don’t they smell yummy, Janet?

Janet: Oh yes. Brownies are my favorite. Chocolate chip cookies come in a close second. And the service is really nice, too. (eyeing Oliver as his biceps flex with each movement.)

Sharon: You know, I am very nostalgic and very family oriented when it comes to holidays and traditions. And Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I have so many wonderful memories. How about you, Janet. Do you have one you hold near and dear to your heart?

Janet: The best Christmas I remember was shortly after I moved to Florida. Even though there was warm weather (my favorite) and not a drop of snow to be found, the house was filled with the joy of Christmas.

My son was only 7 years old; he’s 23 now. Christmas morning, he lit up almost as bright as the tree when he saw the ton of presents underneath it. As the paper went flying, he showed me, the cats, and the dog every present. In this house, family is both two-legged and four-legged. LOL. It
was wonderful to see the living room completely trashed and to hear the crinkling of paper when human and animal walked around the room.
Later that night, we sat down and watched Christmas shows and movies while we ate our feast. Even shared with the smaller members of the family who don’t usually get table scraps.

Sharon: Ah, yes. Animals add so much to the spirit of Christmas. And that is such a lovely memory of your son to make you smile. And being a nurse, no doubt there have been some heart-warming acts of kindness over the Christmas season. Any you’d like to share?

Janet: I’ve experienced a lot of heart-warming experiences over the 18 years I’ve been a nurse. But the one that comes to mind over the Christmas holiday was one where an older man had to be hospitalized for chest pain. He and his son drove big rigs for a living. We got to talking and I got to know a bit about them and their lives. They, in turn, got to listen to me talk about my son and some of the things I was getting for Christmas.

The day the dad was discharged, they both had huge grins on their faces as a box was handed to me. They said it was a present for my son. It wasn’t wrapped so I saw it was a radio controlled big rig. I gave each a hug and thanked them for their kindness. When my son saw the gift, he was delighted and drove it all over the living room and the driveway. I wouldn’t let him drive it on the road because I live on a busy street.

Sharon: What a sweet memory! Now let’s talk about traditions. I adore them and consider each a gift. I collect them, one of my hobbies. Do you have a favorite tradition that has been passed down in your family from generation to generation?

Janet: Each year, especially since my son is older now, we go to the store and pick an ornament for the tree with the current year on it. Then we go over to electronics and pick out a movie we haven’t seen to bring home. Since I work every other Christmas, we either celebrate on Christmas or the day before if I have to work.

On our day, we get up and start the cooking process. It’s a lot of fun and a good way to spend time together since we are both so busy lately. When we sit down, the movie goes in and we enjoy great eats and a good show. Don’t worry, we still share with the furry family members. LOL

Sharon: Thanks for sharing such beautiful family traditions. This has indeed been a delightful visit. Thank you so very much for dropping in to chat with us today. I wish you and your son and your critters a wonderful and blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Oliver escorts Janet to the door, helps her into her coat and scarf and bids her farewell, but not before stealing a kiss under the mistletoe… (Janet grins from ear to ear before grabbing Oliver and dipping him for another kiss, making the most of a wonderful Christmas moment.)


I've been told "remember us when you're famous" by several people I know, especially
after they heard I've written three books. But that is not my intentions.
My intentions is to have something out there for people to enjoy, to talk about,
to wonder where in the heck the idea for that book came from. Not for fame and fortune.
After is a creation from love, love for my son. It became something fun and exciting
when he moved away from writing to other things. Stolen is a continuation of that
fun and Vengeance will close out that trilogy. But, fear not, other books are in
outlined form for those characters. Drayco, Shyanne, and Drizzle are too near and
dear to my heart to let them end so suddenly.
Innocence Taken was a step out of the norm for me. I seldom swear, much less use
the type of language used in that book. But it too was fun to write. It was a challenge.
A challenge that forced me to step out of my comfort zone. And I feel I met that
challenge. More books with Nature and Web are planned, and who knows, they may be
just as graphic. Just make sure to keep all the lights on when you read them.
I have other ideas ready when the time arises for me to get to them. And as long
as there are people who want to read my books, I will continue to write them. Even
if people forget who I am, I will still write. For it is not my intention to be famous
and without privacy. It is my intention to fulfill a dream, which I am
book at a time.
Hugs to all my readers,

To learn more about Janet Durbin and her books, visit:

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!



Sharon Donovan said...

Let's have a warm welcome for Janet Durbin. Janet, come on out! And here comes Oliver, still grinning from that kiss, with coffee, tea, hot cocoa and spiked eggnog for those who dare. He arranges chocolate chips and gingerboys and chocolate turtles on the coffee table. Dig in an enjoy!

Cate Masters said...

Hi Janet! Wonderful post. The part about the tree made me chuckle. We have a new puppy this year, and the lower half of our tree's undecorated because Lily's a chewer! She's been a good girl so far, though. I loved the hospital stories, too. So nice that you connect with patients in a personal way. It makes a huge difference, believe me.
Have a wonderful holiday!

Linda Swift said...

Hi Janet. I wrote a comment once and lost it. I do that kind of thing in early morning. I enjyed the post. And wish you success with your books.
It's nice to see Sharon and Oliver again. This site is such a lovely place to vist. And the refreshements are great, too.
Merry Christmas from another Florida author.

Skhye said...

Hi, Janet! I know all about trees and cats. Somehow, my 8-month old cats left the tree alone this year after one round of scolding. They are tree climbers! Up and down the backyard trees like racoons... We had a 3rd cat until Saturday--found her a home. She was dumped on our street and sniffed out the cat lovers. That cat just followed the two kittens up and down the trees... We'd go out to find the cats. They were all up the trees looking at us. At least they could get down!

With tree still standing, we're deciding whether or not to have a Cobweb party. I just don't know if I'll have energy Christmas Eve for one. :( I hope you and Sharon have a wonderful Christmas.

Huge prize: a cache of Time-Guardian treasure. To enter, join me at:

P.L. Parker said...

Morning Ladies - Oliver (she trembles). We got a new kitten a couple of years ago, and as soon as he saw the tree, he took a flying leap off the back of the couch into the tree. Had a heck of a time getting him out. He was so in love with that tree, finally had to lock him in the family room. The Christmas graphics are so wonderful.

Miss Mae said...

Hi Janet,

I don't see how you have the energy for everything! Mother, nurse, author, editor and publisher! Wow! What's your secret? LOL

And I bet since you're in Florida, you don't miss snow at all. I can certainly relate to that as it's not something I'm fond of!

Enjoy a cup of Sharon's eggnog. I've secretly added a splash of my homebrewed lemonade to it! *wink*

Janet Durbin said...

Hi, Sharon. Thanks for having me here. It's really cold here by Florida standards, the temp is in the 60's, but wearing a jacket with my shorts helps. lol

Janet Durbin said...

Hi, Cate. Thanks for visiting. So far the tree has gone down only once. Course the tinsel and the lights are definately not in the same shape as when they were put on the tree. Nothing chewed on, just relocated.

The one thing I've learned over the years is that a patient is a person, not just a patient or number. To help them feel better, you have to treat them with respect and have fun. Otherwise the job becomes a four-letter word called "w-o-r-k." Bad four-letter word! Bad! lol

Have a great holiday, Cate!

Janet Durbin said...

Brrrr! Are you freezing like I am, Linda? Oh Oliver...can I have another cup of that wonderful hot chocolate, please?

It's nice to have success with my books, but I like to have more success for the authors from Whimsical Publications. They are the important people, just like my patients at the hospital. And, yes, Sharon has a lovely place. Definately makes me smile and feel all warm and welcome.

Stay warm, fellow floridian! Happy holidays!

Janet Durbin said...

Hi, Skhye, pleasure to meet a fellow cat lover. I have five but they never go outside. Busy street and cats don't get along well. Guess that's why the kids, as I call them, like to redesign the tree so much. It's a new and exciting toy!

A Cobweb party sounds interesting. You'll have to let me know what that is. Could be another entertaining things for me to watch with the cats. (lol) I'm already entertained when I watch the largest cat tossle with the dog, which is smaller than he is.

Thanks for dropping by, Skhye. Have a great christmas!

Janet Durbin said...

Your cat sounds like quite the mischief maker, P.L. My cats do the run-across-the-room-to-leap-into-the-tree thing, but they also do the sneak attack thing. They like to scruntch down low then slowly climb up. I don't know they are in the tree until one of the branches crinkle. When I scold them, they drop and run...until the next visit to the tree. *shaking my head at those silly kids*

Have a warm and cozy Christmas! Thanks for visiting, P.L.

Sharon Donovan said...

Oliver struts out, hot chocolate in hand, presents it to Janet with a wicked wink.

Sharon Donovan said...

Well hello, everyone! Some party we're having here with Janet. Welcome, Cate, Linda, Patsy, Skhye and Miss Mae! So we're all cat lovers which means I must add my Freddy story. The darling demon is no longer with me after two decades of life, but the first Christmas was touch and go. During a Steeler/Brown game, he took a running leap, giving a fierce imitation of a linebacker, tackled the tree from the couch where he perched and toppled it over. Glass ornaments busted to smitherines. We most definitely had a little cat chat about that. And he peered at me through his owlish green eyes as if to say, "I ain't misbehavin'!"

Sharon Donovan said...

Kudos to Janet for all she does for her authors at Whimsical. I am pleased to announce I am one of the new authors with Mask of the Betrayer coming soon in 2010. And Janet's book After is for something near and dear to my heart. Janet, tell the readers about this common cause of ours.

Janet Durbin said...

Miss Mae!! Nice to see you. Had to step away for a second to get the roast cooking. Miss Mae is one of the authors at Whimsical Publications. Her book is fantastic and sweet for all ages to enjoy. Consider getting it for someone (or yourself) for christmas!

(I don't see how you have the energy for everything! Mother, nurse, author, editor and publisher! Wow! What's your secret? LOL)

Naps! Even if it's for only 10-15 minutes with your head resting on your desk (speaking from experience here, lol), it helps. I do have this really comfy chair in the living room that sucks me into the nap zone right nicely, though.

And you're right, Miss Mae. I don't miss the snow. It's another one of those four-letter words that makes me cringe. I like warmth not (shudder) cold. It's pretty to look at on the

Thanks for the "supplimented" eggnog. I promise not to hiccup after drinking it. *wink back*

p.s. these word verifications are a bit of fun. Some of the words it comes up with...histerical!

Sharon Donovan said...

Miss Mae added some of her lemonade to the eggnog? Oh, dear! The cats may be rescuing us from the tree!

Janet Durbin said...

Your story about Freddie, OMG I laughed!

As to the cause we share, you more than me, I'm helping to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. I have helped the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) for many years, since 1997 in fact.

Right now, through Whimsical Publications (WP), when someone donates $10 from the WP site to JDRF, I will autograph my book, After, and mail it to you. The donation can be done through the paypal button located on the book page, or, if you feel more comfortable, through the JDRF donation button located on the JDRF page. (Click on a shoe on the main page to get there.) If you use the JDRF button, leave a comment requesting the book and who to autograph it for. If you just want to leave a donation without getting a book, that's okay too. (to learn more about the book, After, follow this link: )

For your donation you will get a nifty, colorful JDRF shoe posted on the WP site with your name on it, and the joy of knowing you've helped. If you wish to have another name on the shoe, simply leave a comment with your donation.

I personally do not have diabetes. I just take care of a lot of people who do. But diabetes causes a lot of other health issues such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, numbness to the feet, kidney disease, and so many others, and I will not miss this one when it is cured.

If you want to learn more about how you can help, follow this link: . I'm sure Sharon and others like her will thank you for your support, as I will.

Thanks for letting me talk about this, Sharon. As you said, it is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

Janet Durbin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tiffany Green said...

Wonderful Christmas traditions! Thanks for sharing them, Janet.

Mary Ricksen said...

Oliver you devil, you're such a flirt.
Our Christmas memories are a gift, wrapped in our minds, that we can open and again feel the thrill.
Great interview Cate.

Sharon, bring it on!You'll have to save it for a couple of weeks. (grin)

Janet Durbin said...

Thanks for dropping by, Tiffany. It's always a pleasure to swap Christmas tradition stories. Hope you will share yours, too.

Janet Durbin said...

Mary, you are a person after my own heart. I love reading Piers Anthony (who lives in Florida, btw), Anne McCaffrey and her son Todd, along with Terry Brooks.

Thanks for visiting and commenting. Have a warm Florida Christmas!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello to Tiffany and Mary. Thanks for joining the party. Mary, ha ha. Did I mention vengeance is my middle name? But in the meantime, have some eggnog! Isn't Christmas great? And I adore all these cat and dog stories. My aunt once heard some tweeting in the middle of the night. She came down to investigate and lo and behold, what did her wandering eyes see in her Christmas tree? A bird's nest with a tweeting baby bird. No cats in the house, thank God!

Judy said...

I really enjoyed the post. You have some great traditions. I enjoy hearing about the way we all do at least one or two things different.

Janet Durbin said...

Thanks, Judy. Christmas is a wonderful time of year for sharing and enjoying family. Right now I'm surrounded by my four-legged family, since my child has moved on with his life. Believe me, sometimes they make it very difficult to type when they are trying to sit in my lap or to read when they are sitting in front of the monitor.

I tell all my co-workers I plan on being know as the crazy cat lady when I get older: lovable with clothes covered in cat fur. LOL

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello Judy, and thanks for stopping by. Yes, aren't traditions the best? And keeping them alive each year is a wonderful way of preserving memories of loved ones who have left footprints on our hearts...or pawprints! I would like to thank one and all for sharing your stories and a special thank you to my featured guest. Janet, you've been a delight and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to showcase Mask of the Betrayer at your house. Three cheers for Whimsical Publications!
A big shout out to Hywela Lyn for decorating my blog with such festive delight. Thanks, Lyn.
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings,