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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: 'Tis the Season for Holiday Mysteries!

“I'll tell you a secret.

Old storytellers never die.

They disappear into their own story.”

-Vera Nazarian

Well, #HoHoHo hello, November, it's time to bring on the holidays! I thought the fabulous Lindsey Stirling video above, Snow Waltz, was the perfect way to shift from #Halloween to #Christmas season, LOL! The binge watching of the Hallmark Christmas movies has begun. I'm dreaming of chai tea, eggnog lattes. The lights are changing here at Cherrywood Hall West to bring in the holiday cheer. Now, all we need is:

A Novel Noel! 🎀❄👠 #SoundUp 👆

Rikkhe St. Claire is back with her family and friends for another evening of mystery and magical storytelling by the fire! Five tales will be shared throughout the evening by Rikkhe; her former nanny, now companion, Christine; Anna (Rikkhe's Mor); Pete (the main man in Rikkhe's life); and Henri (her papa). Their stories will be quirky at times, mysterious, heartwarming, magical, and always sprinkled with a dash of Christmas sparkle at the end!

Today, it's my pleasure & joy to share with you the first book review received for A Novel Noel from the fabulous Anita Dow (@GoAnitaDow)! I was so delighted to receive her incredible feedback and can't thank her enough for being an ARC reader on this project. For a writer, it doesn't get much better than this...


Short mystery stories with a Christmas theme

Hygge is a Danish word that encompasses a cosy feeling of well-being and contentment by enjoying the simple things in life. It is often linked to a lifestyle that evokes cosiness, such as open fires, hot chocolate drinks and comforting foods eaten in the company of loved ones.

The St Claire family like to embrace all things hygge and have a Christmas tradition of each telling a seasonal mystery story while seated in front of an open fire, and then they vote for a winner. With a Danish and French genealogy this storytelling makes for a delicious blend of tales as the five family members assemble in the Malibu home of Rikkhe St Claire just before Christmas.

Each story is linked to the storyteller in some way and, to enhance the mood, the person in the storytelling seat decrees which alcoholic concoctions – appropriate to each story – are to be served. In story #1, Krampus Wish, Rikkhe tells an intriguing tale of macabre happenings and retribution in the home of an acclaimed film producer. Story #2, The Snow Globe, is a wistful and romantic mystery story of unrequited love. Story #3, Pudding In The Mirror features a haunted room in an English aristocrat's home. My favourite story in the collection is story #4 – Shillelagh – set in an Irish pub just before Christmas. Here, author Veronica Cline Barton has conceived a particularly enthralling plot with sublime writing. The final tale, Star Of Noel, is a heart-warming story set in Paris decades ago, featuring struggling artists and a benevolent child ghost.

All five plots are imaginatively delivered, pace and delivery is compelling, and each story climax quite unexpected, with a memorable twist. For fans of short stories and cosy mysteries this Christmas holiday collection is another engaging offering from Ms Cline Barton, whose writing goes from strength to strength. It's also her second Christmas short story collection, every bit as good as Christmas Bizarre, and both are books you will want to savour and re-read in the lead up to every Christmas, for they will certainly get you in the festive mood. Each book would also make a delightful gift for book lovers. I received a free advance copy of this book and am leaving this review voluntarily.

#HoHoHo Thank You, Anita!

A special thank you to my stepdaughter, Danielle Gregorio for the fabulous front and back book cover design--I've bever seen anything like it and absolutely love it! It would make a great stocking stuffer (hint, hint) ... As always, this book took a village to make its debut: huge thank you to Theresa Snyder for the wonderful editing (and the magical voice in Shillelagh); Mark Schultz for his Hyper Speller proofing wizardry; promo graphics & animations by Kathleen Harryman; and finally, the uber-beautiful, book trailer design/production, and website/seller platform, technical services by Bibiana Krall's Compass Bespoke Services!

I could not do this without you! XOXO 🎀❄👠

Another year is coming to a close. For me, it's a time to savor and revel in the mystery and magic this wonderful season brings. I hope you enjoy the tales in A Novel Noel---have an awesome, magical, holiday season! Book 2 in the Rikkhe St. Claire Hygge & Bisous Holiday Mysteries series is now available on a seller platform near you 👇:

It's the first Wednesday of November, time for #DearDiary:

A Season of Scary comes to a Wicked Good End!

Bibiana and I want to thank you all for the incredible support and good wishes for our Wicked Mist anthology. What a fabulous experience this book's debut and launch has been, a GRAND PRIZE chapter I'll always keep close to my heart! I wanted to share the link for our latest Wicked Mist book review from the awesome Leonard Tillerman. It was the final cherry on a spooktacular #Halloween season--Thank You, Readers! 🎃💀🌹

Dark mystery in the jungles of Malaya this week from the writers of Twitter...

Author John Dolan, Land of the Red Mist, 5

A life changing move to his uncle's rubber plantation in Malaya takes Edward Braddock on the journey of a lifetime. He's looking to make his mark and escape the clutches of a controlling family in England. Amidst the shifting, political currents in his new country, will he achieve the legacy he aspires to, or one that will dim his soul?

The challenge of working the plantation presents Edward with raw experiences and shocking insights as the world around him evolves. Will his uncle's business survive? When a childhood acquittance unexpectedly arrives in his new homeland, will Edward balk, or take on the challenge of an unplanned romance?

Author Dolan weaves an intriguing tale of a man's journey into adulthood in the wilds and political upheavals of 1950s Malaya. It's raw, noirish narrative makes for a suspenseful, page turning story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book with its mystery and intrigue, highly recommended!

Pssst...Coming November 8, the final book in the fabulous The Martian Diaries series by author H.E. Wilburson, Gateway to Mars! I was an ARC reader for this one and it's fabulous! Book review is on Goodreads, I'll also feature it next week! A #MustRead for SciFi fans! Pre-order here 👇

Next up in the reading queue:

Time to sit back and relax...well, maybe not...

My, oh, my, oh, I do love this time of year. Everything looks just a bit brighter these days. I'm super excited too, because I am closing in on another cozy tale with Gemma and friends! The light at the end of the runway is approaching...get your stilettos ready! #Feb2023 🎬👠

Welcome to my world. Have a fabulous week and weekend, friends!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Thank you again for all the book love and support for the launch of A Novel Noel! It truly means the world to me, xoxo... Let's get these holidays started! 💟🎀❄👠 Rikkhe and Gemma approve! 💖👑

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