Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Christmas Scene from "Wish for the Moon."

Greetings--I've often heard authors speak of "the book of their heart," but I never really understood the meaning. When I wrote this story, though, I realized that Wish for the Moon came straight from my heart. Now I know the phrase means it is written with love and the memories I hold dear.

The setting for the story is a small self-sufficient farm in North Texas. The year is 1902, a time when rural Texans lived much as their ancestors did--and as my grandparents did. The farmhouse is my grandparent's home, the area is where I and all my family were born, and the small town is a fictional version of the county seat of Palo Pinto County.
The novel itself contains a sweet love story, but the focus is the coming-of- age of sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis.
I hope you enjoy this Christmas excerpt from Wish for the Moon.
Somehow, Annie had to get through December twenty-fifth. All she could think of was her mama, and she knew Grover was grieving during this first Christmas without her. It was important to her, though, to make the holiday as festive as she could for her papa and for old blind Jerral.

Even though she had to coax him, she managed to get Grover to go to the back pasture where juniper trees grew in big areas. She only wanted a small one, because she had little to decorate a tree. They weren’t pines, but they grew in a similar shape, and they smelled like cedars, sort of like a pine tree. He cut it for her and nailed the cut end to a piece of wood so it would stand up.

Since there were only three of them, she placed it on the end of the kitchen table in front of the window. She arranged a white dishtowel around the base. Jerral strung popcorn and red Nandina bush berries to decorate the tree. After Annie demonstrated what to do, he patiently sat and made one string after the other with a needle and thread, while she cooked, baked, and talked to him. Grover stayed outside most of the time during the day.

On Christmas Day, Annie placed her offerings in front of the tree. She sat two candles, one on either side, and lit them.

“Jerral,” she said, “give me your hand, and you can see the tree.” She helped guide his hand, so he could feel each part, and the gifts underneath. Carefully, she guided his hand to feel the candlesticks, and waved his hand over the flames so he would know they burned.

After breakfast, Annie told Grover to stay at the table so he and Jerral could open their presents. Grover, though, took Jerral to the bedroom first, and when they returned, each held a gift, wrapped in white paper with red string.

Jerral loved his suspenders, and exclaimed over them, how he liked the thick, woven texture, and the feel of the smooth metal clasps. She helped fasten them to his pants and adjusted them to the right length on his bony shoulders. “Oh, you look so fine, Jerral. These were just made for you.” He asked if he could kiss Annie’s cheek, and she happily let him.

Grover said little about his new blue-striped shirt, but he held it in his lap and stroked the soft fabric for a long time.

Finally, he told her the other two gifts were for her—one from him and one from Jerral. Jerral gave her the only thing he had—his family Bible.

Jerral said, “I can’t read it, Annie, and I don’t have any kin. You’re as close to a daughter as I’ll ever have. I want you to have it.”

Annie cried and hugged him around his neck and kissed his cheek. “Oh, thank you, Jerral. I’ll treasure it and add it to my bookshelf where I have the other books. And guess what? I’ve baked you a vanilla-raisin meringue cream pie!”

Grover gave her a small box of chocolates from the drugstore. They were in a gold colored box with a fancy seal on the top. The label read, “Golden’s Chocolates, Made in Chicago.” Each one had a different center—vanilla fondue, strawberry and lemon creams, nuts, coconut, and caramel. Tears ran down her face. Never in her life had she received such a grand present.

“Thank you so much, Papa. I will savor each one, and the box will look so pretty on my dresser. If I ever get a necklace, I’ll keep it in the gold box.”

“Annie,” he said gruffly. “I’m sorry I missed your birthday. I just plumb forgot. Helen would have my hide if she knew I didn’t remember our baby’s birthday.”

Annie laughed and cried some more, and soon, all three choked up.

Christmas had come, after all.


At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis wishes for a chance to see more of the world, since all she’s ever known is the family farm in North Texas. A mysterious visitor, Max Landry, arrives who will change not only her life, but her family’s as well. To save him from a bogus charge, she follows Max and the Texas Rangers back to the coal-mining town one county over where a murder occurred. The short journey sets Annie on a path of discovery—new horizons, an inner strength, and quite possibly…love.   

For the Christmas and Holiday Season, the publisher--Willow Moon Press--has discounted the price of the ebook from $6.99 to $1.99.
The ebook is available on the Amazon Kindle, the B&N Nook, and Willow Moon Publishing.



BARNES & NOBLE: Note: the reviews on B&N do not belong with this product.


Thank you! And Merry Christmas!



  1. What an endearing moment in your story, Celia. And so appropriate in sentiment for right now. Gifts from the heart are the most special of all.

  2. Maggie--thanks. Things were much simplier back them, weren't they? While I don't want to go back, it does make me appreciate those times.

  3. When an author writes a story straight from the heart, readers know it. I feel a kinship to you, Celia because I wrote The Violin from the deepest part of my heart about an ancestor of mine that died too soon and it took place in my grandfather's house. We may write many stories that we connect with and they're all good stories, but when we write one from our hearts, it's deeply emotional and satisfying. I know Wish for the Moon is going to be a wonderful story and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
    All the best...

  4. Sarah--yes, I remember The Violin. You definitely understand and know the feeling. I'd heard so many writers say they had written "the book of their heart" or at least, wanted to. But I couldn't connect with the meaning.
    By the time I was halfway finished writing Wish for the Moon, I knew it was the book of my heart. It hasn't been a big seller beause it's not a real romance--it's almost a YA novel, but written for adults, and it's a simple story.
    But I couldn't have changed anything in it at all--fortunately the publisher and editor at Willow Moon Publishing loved it. Whew! Thank goodness. If they hadn't published it for me, it might still be in my files. But of course now we have Rebecca! (Thank God for her.)
    Thank you.

  5. What a lovely excerpt, Celia! Very atmospheric!

  6. Thank you, Jenny--drop by anytime--I always like to see and hear from you.