12 Days of Christmas: What’s Inspirational About These Collections?

12 Days of Christmas promotionBoth my September 1, 2013 releases are Christmas books shelved in the “inspirational fiction” section of your bookstore–if you still have a local bookstore.

But what does “inspirational fiction” mean?

The Charlotte and Mecklenberg County Public Library in North Carolina defines it this way:

“Any good book can be an inspiration, but many of these books highlight people overcoming adversity or reaching new levels of understanding. Whether they pull themselves up by their own bootstraps or have help from a higher power, these books will uplift and entertain you.”

When you add in Christmas, as is the case with both my A Log Cabin Christmas Collection and A Pioneer Christmas Collection, you should have novellas that remind you of the reason for the season, as well as leave you with hope and a warm feeling of contentment.

I’ve found that to be true with the stories in both books. They don’t take more than an hour to read and take you all through American history. They include romance, some more gentle than others, and a happy ending usually at Christmas time.

I was surprised two years ago when A Log Cabin Christmas released, at how many people I met read a Christmas book every year. Click to Tweet

It never occurred to me to do that!

That’s partly why A Log Cabin Christmas ended up on the New York Times best-sellers list, because enough people saw in that beautiful, charming cover, an invitation to cuddle up with stories that would allow them to abandon the whirling snows of their lives and enjoy someone else’s happy ending. With nine stories in each collection, these novellas enabled readers to take a break from hectic Christmas activities and reflect on different elements of the holiday season.

In my Log Cabin story, “The Dogtrot Christmas,”  I incorporated the Mexican posada tradition to explain why the romance worked between an Anglo blond woman from Tennessee and a Tejano–third generation Spanish-descendent Texan. Using the metaphor of the dogtrot–a two room cabin with a ten-foot breezeway between the “pens,”–Molly explained how the two traditions could be bridged by their mutual faith in Jesus Christ. (In this case, Jesus was the roof, not the foundation!).NYTimes best seller Log Cabin Christmas

What made the story inspirational, alongside the posada tradition and the dogtrot metaphor, was the faith element. Luis had to come to learn to forgive over the course of the story. He had to be reminded of the truths he had been taught while learning English from a tutor years before. Once he could accept the forgiveness for what he had done–in his case in fighting against the Anglos during the war of Texas independence–he could make peace within his own family. In forgiving the brother-in-law who stole and then sold his land to the Anglos, Luis was freed to accept and love Molly as his own.

The story ends with hope, because a man recognized the value of forgiveness.

My Pioneer Christmas story, “The Gold Rush Christmas,” comes at romance, inspiration and Christmas from a slightly different angle. Set in 1897 Alaska, it features a young woman struggling with her mother’s death and her towering twin brother’s need to control everything–including her. She balks at the assumption she should marry the bumbling boy next door. That bumbling boy, a seminary student, learns important lessons himself when he tags along on the adventure. His form of Christianity doesn’t work so well in the raw frontier of gold seekers.

All three learn lessons about growing up and where a true mission lies. When they stretch out of their comfort zones to help those in need very different from themselves, they gain important insight into who they are and what God has called them to do. By the end . . . well, it’s an inspirational romance. Christmas comes to mean something very different.

I’ve read the stories in both books. Some of them have familiar inspirational themes. Some of them take on romance from a surprising angle. They all are founded on the good news that Jesus was born for God’s purposes and that birth is reason to rejoice.

Everyone lives happily ever after.

What could be better than that?

A Pioneer Christmas Collection releases on September 1. It’s got an embossed cover and deckle-edged pages. It’s beautiful.

 A Log Cabin Christmas Collection re-releases on that same September 1 with a smaller, less glamorous cover but bearing a proud silver sticker.

Rejoice with us–that many readers will be able to savor a heart-warming Christmas story this holiday season.


Inspirational fiction: books to uplift and entertain Click to Tweet


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