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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Countdown to Christmas with Linda Swift

Hello and welcome to Day 17 of my Countdown to Christmas Blog! Today’s featured guest is Linda Swift. Linda is here to chat with us about her Christmas book

And before Oliver brings Linda out to the parlour where it is really beginning to look a lot like Christmas, here’s a blurb and excerpt from
Let Nothing You Dismay

Kala’s position as tour guide at a Kentucky Welcome Center isn’t enough to cope with debts left by her late husband’s illness, but she manages to make ends meet until her car quits running. To save money on repairs, she enrolls in an auto-mechanic class taught by Rex, a handsome part-time instructor whose heart needs repairing, too After recently losing his important job and family, he has sworn never to get involved with another woman.

Kala discounts her growing attraction to Rex when she learns he is years younger, until the winter storm of the century throws them together. When the Interstate closes down, Kala opens her home to a houseful of strangers.

Despite fire, flood and friction, she creates an old fashioned holiday rich in the true spirit of Christmas. In the process, Kala and Rex discover the greatest gift of love.

Refusing the offer of a ride, Rex put on his coat, preparing for the grueling trek back to his hotel. Kala walked him to the front door and stepped out onto the dark porch, already covered in a fine layer of white from blowing snow. “Come for pancakes and sausage in the morning,” she shivered in spite of her bulky knit sweater. “About eight or anytime after.”

Without thinking, Rex opened his jacket and wrapped her up inside, folding her into his embrace. Instinctively, Kala lifted her face and his mouth covered hers. The kiss, which began as a friendly goodbye, took on momentum as he deepened it into a hungry tangling of tongues when she responded. The effect left them
both breathless when they finally pulled apart. “Maybe,” Rex whispered, before he plunged into the drifts and disappeared in darkness.

Kala stood there for a moment, touching her lips with her fingertips, wanting to call after him, “Don’t go. I need you. I…I love you.” Love? Stunned by the unexpected realization, she hurried inside. She had guests to feed. She didn’t have time to worry over Rex now; her feelings would have to wait until later.

Although his feet were numb with cold, Rex plowed with dogged determination toward his apartment, wishing his mind were as frozen as his limbs. He could have stayed. So why did he invent an excuse not to? Because being with Kala, even with a houseful of people, would be too tempting. She made him lose control, forget his resolve. Like kissing her just now, the taste of her lingered on his lips. He wanted her, he admitted to himself candidly, in a way he never intended to want anyone again. And wanting her scared the hell out of him. She wasn’t the kind of woman to have a casual fling, and he wasn’t sure h
e was willing or capable of offering anything more. He saw the lights of the Ritz ahead and quickened his pace. He’d make a stiff drink and think about his feelings later.

Sharon: Let’s have a warm welcome for Linda Swift! Wow, talk about heating things up on a cold winter’s night! I love it. This is on my TBR wish list. Did you hear that, Oliver?

Oliver struts out, humming. His cheeks rosy from the cold, paper rustles as he unwraps his parcel, his hot off the press copy of Let Nothing You Dismay. Ignoring Sharon, he whips out his trusty pen and hands it to Linda. "I stood in line all morning for this book. Would you do me the honor of signing it, please?

Linda: I'd be delighted to sign this for you, Oliver. Here we go. She gives him a warm smile, then writes as she says aloud, To my dear friend Oliver with my best wishes for a happy holiday.

Sharon: Picks up empty bag, turns it upside down and frowns. I guess you left my copy under the tree perhaps?

Oliver swaggers off, still humming, turning to wink at Linda.

Sharon: Oliver, if you could control yourself, some hot tea and cookies might be nice. Well, anyway, Linda, you have a dedicated fan in Oliver! So tell us about Kala and Rex. What is the age difference between them?

Linda: About thirteen years, which wouldn't seem as much if she were the younger. Double standard, you know.

Sharon: What do you think of a relationship with a huge age gap, either male or female being older?

Linda: I have no problem with it, although I'm less than a year younger than my husband. I've seen some beautiful love matches with huge differences, many with older women. But it usually means one will live many lonely years without the other.

Oliver pushes the sterling silver tray out, pours steaming tea in the cups and unveils his one and only chocolate fudge pie. He slices Linda a huge piece and feeds it to her, his eyes glazing over as she licks the fork.

Linda:This is heavenly. How did you know I'm a chocoholic, Oliver?

Sharon: Oliver? About those presents you were to be wrapping?

Oliver struts off, grinning and pumping his biceps.

Sharon: I love the fact Kala, wanting to save money on auto repairs, enrolls in a class. What a novel place for your romantic hero and heroine to meet. What made you think of that? Any special behind the scenes reason?

Linda:Not really. I personally don't know how to do anything to a car except drive it. But this story is set in an actual Interstate Welcome Center in my hometown, just as I describe it. And my son-in-law is currently working on a video for this book, using real photos that I made there. We have a community and technical college nearby and my husband were taking dance classes at the college as I was writing the book so it all came together somehow. I don't question how the muse works, I just accept it.

Sharon: And then there is the winter storm of the century. National disasters have a way of pulling people together, bringing out the best in folks. And Kala is no exception. How would you describe her personality?

Linda:To answer your question, Kala is a coper. New word here? She is a strong woman, the backbone of her family, a wise and nurturing person. But she is temporarily overwhelmed by the loss of her beloved husband. And I don't know if you will remember that last winter, Paducah really did have the storm of the century. But the book came first!

Sharon: And Rex? He seems to have taken a vow to never get involved again. But when the right person comes along, all bets are off. Do you believe in fate and destiny?

Linda:Absolutely. And isn't it reassuring to think that even when we are not aware of it, a plan for our life is in effect and surely all things are working together for good?

Sharon: Absolutely. Christmas is a time for hope and a time when wishes come true. What is your special wish this Christmas?

Linda: I wish for our country and the world to be a more peaceful place. Do I get two wishes? I also wish for a more positive outlook for the homeless and jobless around us.

Sharon: Amen to that, on both counts. Raises her cup for a toast. Well, we are really getting close to the final days before Christmas. Thank you so very much for being with us today. But before you go, tell us where we can buy Let Nothing You Dismay and your other books?

Linda: Let Nothing You Dismay is available now at The Wild Rose Press. Circle of Love is also available there as an ebook and in print. The Twelve Days of Christmas is being released by Awe-Struck Publishing this month and they have just released Single Status. Here are the buy URLs for both. and
Thank you so much for having me as your guest, Sharon. It's been delightful to see you and Oliver again. And I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season.

But suddenly, the parlour rings with static from the Christmas carols softly playing in the background. Then realization dawns. It’s Oliver, sitting at the Baby Grand, singing his heart out, his eyeballs glued to Linda.

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy,
Comfort and joyyyyyyyy!

He takes a sweeping bow, dashes to Linda with the mistletoe and holding it high above her head, steals his third kiss.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She has been writing since she was ten and is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. Her first two books were published by Kensington. In addition to her holiday e-book, Let Nothing You Dismay, Linda also has Circle of Love available as an e-book and in print from The Wild Rose Press. Linda's Awe-Struck Publishing books include Single Status, available as an e-book and in print. Another holiday book, The 12 Days of Christmas, will be released in December and her first published historical in 2010.


Sharon Donovan said...

Let's have a warm welcome for Linda Swift. Oh, Linda, come on out! And here comes Oliver, sporting his copy of Let Nothing You Dismay, along with tea, coffee and gingersnaps and chocolate chips.

P.L. Parker said...

Omygosh - Oliver sings as well!!! Good morning ladies. Good blurb. I am 13 months older than my husband, not much but I am the "older" woman. LOL.

Linda Swift said...

Good morning, Sharon (and Oliver) I'm beginning to feel like a resident here. And I can't think of a more wonderful place to be. Such a happy holiday atmosphere. Food, fun, and fellowship. And Sharon is such a great hostess. Of course, nobody bakes better than Oliver.
And he's a musician as well. I have a special place in my heart for musicians. My whole family is musical except me.In fact, all of them are playing the music for my video of Let Nothing You Dismay which will be on YouTube soon.

Linda Swift said...

Dear Older Woman. I know quite a few older women, a couple of them by at least thirteen years like Kala in my book. And their husbands seem to adore them all. I think there is a mistique about an older woman that attracts men. Shades of Mrs. Robinson, I guess. Thanks for stopping by so early. You must be a morning person? So am I, morning as in after midnight.

Linda Swift said...

I think I mean mystique, don't I? Where is spellcheck when I need it?
It's morning, right?

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Patsy. Yes, sigh and double sigh. Oliver sings his little heart out, so he does! Linda, how lucky you are to have such a talented and musically inclined family. We'll be looking forward to your video. And shhhh. Oliver's chest is puffed out enough and so is his head. He dotes on prais and is wildly winking at you from the kitchen. About the older woman thing. I have never dated or had a relationship with an older man. Ooops...once and he was ten years older than me. (sorry Tom) But mostly, they have been between five and ten years younger. LOL

Cate Masters said...

I'm loving these Christmas posts! Great interview, ladies. And wonderful excerpt, Linda.
And wow, Oliver's incredibly multitalented!

Linda Swift said...

Hi, Cate. Thanks for coming by. Your name is new to me. So glad to meet you. And thanks for your kind comments. Merry Christmas. And aren't the graphics for this blog simply great. It give you such a warm, friendly feeling just to visit Sharon's site. And I won't forget to give some credit to Hywela (AKA Lynn) also.

Mary Ricksen said...

Linda I love the sound of this new story. I am six months older then my DH and he acts as if it's ten years. I likes to tease as a matter of fact, he told me he lives to tease me.
So I'd need a mature younger man next time around.

Linda Swift said...

Hi Mary. I'd like to suggest you just retain and re-train this one. It would take too long to start over. And speaking for myself, I haven't got enough years left to do the job right Just kidding. His mom did an excellent job before I got him. Thanks for coming by. Merry Christmas.

Sharon Donovan said...

Big waves to Cate and Mary. You know, Linda. You mentioned earlier about The Graduate. How true. No one really does it any longer, but I can remember back in the day when I would tell one of mygirlfriends I had a date with a younger guy, they would giggle and break into a verse or two of "And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson!"

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sharon and Linda,
Great interview. Oliver up to his usual tricks I see.
Let Nothing You Dismay, sounds like a great read, I like the concept of an older heroine. Maybe that is because I am, well I won't say old, but the firsrt flush of youth has gone - well and truly.
Best wishes for the festive season.

Judy said...

HI! Great interview!! Let Nothing You Dismay sounds like a very good read. I also like the concept of the older woman ( maybe because I am older now). Really enjoyed the excerpt!!

Julie Robinson said...

Hello Linda and Sharon! I am only 2 years older than my hubby, but during the summer, it looks like I'm 3 years older. So, he likes to call me his 'old lady.'
When I was teaching 7th & 8th graders over a decade ago, I did have a few (male) students ask me about the movie in relation to my married name. I just laughed and told them we weren't going there!!
Mrs. Robinson

that is, Julie :-)

Julie Robinson said...

Oh, and I used to love that Simon and Garfunkel song, never dreaming it would eventually be my last name.

BTW, hello to Oliver . . .

Linda Swift said...

Hello Margaret,
I read recently that "age is a case of mind over matter; if you don't mind, it doesn't matter." I love that. I had a friend who was 25 years older than I who used to say "Now, Linda, people our age do this or that....." She really felt that she was my age and I think this is what enabled her to have a long and active life. Thanks for stopping by and a Merry Christmas to you, too.

Linda Swift said...

Hi Judy, thanks for your nice comments. Yeah, I like older women, too. Wonder why????Take a look at my web site for a hint.
I used to write for an "over 40" line at Kensington. It folded after about two years due to the fact that older women seemed to want to read about eighteen year old virgins (historicals, of course, or there probably wouldn't have been any of those!) Thanks for stopping by.

Linda Swift said...

Ah, the real Mrs. Robinson shows up. I've taught 7th and 8th graders, too, and I know about those young kids who have crushes on the teacher. They could do worse, except of course, in the case of that teacher who returned the infatuation. A real sicko, IMO. How neat about your name. And I loved that song, too. And speaking of S&G, I really loved Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Still do. Thanks for stopping by.

Linda Swift said...

Sharon, I think when one is really young and dates a younger man, she is considered a cradle robber, but when she is 35 or 40, just coming into her best years, why not date a younger man? And marry one. Since men die younger, she might have a husband much longer! And as for remarriage, it seems the best way to go for sure. Words of wisdome from Dear Linda (Dear Abbey's clone)

Linda Swift said...

Sharon, this has been a fun day for me and I want to thank you once again for inviting me to be here. And thanks to all who stopped by and left comments. I'm going to miss being catered to by Oliver. And I'll be stopping in to visit with you and your guests as often as I can. And meanwhile, I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas holiday.

Sharon Donovan said...

Well, ladies, what a fun discussion this has turned into. From giggles to reflecting, the romantic couple in Let Nothing You Dismay has taken us all somewhere back in time or reminded us of our own lives. It's been years since I saw or chatted about The Graduate, but I loved it. And being the older woman in any relationship, fiction or real life is all in the eye or mind of the beholder. Since the loss of my vision, I have learned how truly inmaterial age is. It's all about the level of maturity and that special click you feel when it's right. It's either there or it isn't and age has little to do with it.
I would like to thank my special guest Linda Swift for such a great day. Thanks, Linda! You have no doubt drawn us into this storyline. So let's all run out an buy it for a stocking stuffer. Oliver gives it the thumbs up and he's just finished it and is smiling.
As always, special shout out to Hywela Lyn for the beautiful decorations. Thanks, Lyn! Hope you are having a wonderful visit in Wales.
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings,