Wednesday, March 16, 2016

D.E. Howard Winner of Rave Review Book Club's "Push Forward Week."

Congratulations to D.E. Howard for winning Rave Review Book Club’s “Push Forward Week.”

D. E. Howard -
Blog or Website:
Twitter: @dehauthor
Facebook Page URL:

            Assaie’s Gift
Human love can last a lifetime, the love of a Goddess is eternal.

Kia Deering is a normal teenage girl looking forward to celebrating her 18th birthday in style. What she didn't anticipate was the revelation that would change her life beyond recognition. 
The Goddess Assaie fell for a human and gave up everything, including her identity, to be with him, sacrificing everything she ever knew in the name of true love. 
When Kia discovered she was a descendant of the Goddess she had a year to embrace all that it meant or to turn her back on her destiny forever. 
Kia had always believed herself to be ordinary but now she was extraordinary she had no idea if she could handle the potential of the power within her. Perhaps the handsome young man she meets in a nightclub could be the distraction she needed, or perhaps he will open up a whole new set of questions himself. 

“A pantheonic love story with several twists on the theme, I can highly recommend this first novel by this author”
“Amazing book from start to end”
“I shall be recommending it to my friends”

Events from the past come together, in this fantastical romance, to change the present and nothing will ever be the same again, for any of them. 

Read D E Howard's début novel Assaie's Gift and follow a love that began in another era. 


Do you believe in magic?

Ellie Forrester didn't. 

Raised an only child by a mother who never hid her resentment Ellie learned from an early age to be self sufficient. 

Finally moving away from her mother's negative influence Ellie thought her small run down flat was a little piece of paradise. 

The old book she found hidden away didn't seem to be anything remarkable but Ellie soon discovered that it contained far more than just the words on the pages. 

Ellie soon discovered that not only did magic exist but it was within her reach. 

Do you believe in magic? 
Ellie Forrester does!

Patricia A. Guthrie

In the Arms of the Enemy
Waterlilies Over My Grave
Legacy of Danger (coming soon) 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Good Push Tuesday Morning for Linda M. Filler

Good morning!

Rave Review Book Clubs Push  Tuesday winner is Linda M. Filler and her book, "Target In The Sun."


An infant loses both his parents tragically and spends his youth and young adulthood in disconnected search and longing, surviving on the streets of coastal Mexico where the beauty and allure of his homeland mix with his relentless desire to belong. 

Anticipation builds as powerful human emotions span a search for love, acceptance and belonging to existence in a world wrought with escalating illicit drug trade from the depths of lush Mexican jungles across borders in a vast network of distribution throughout America. An expansive coalition of drug enforcement agencies on both sides of the border mount a fierce campaign of surveillance and seizure with swift and destructive assault on the drug lords their ultimate objective. 

All the while a young boy struggles with the heart-wrenching prospect of a life of loneliness, sadness, anger, and an unwavering resistance to commitment. Amidst the turmoil of surroundings and circumstance a boy becomes a man in a search for belonging that leads a troubled soul on a dangerous romp from the sultry Mexican Riviera beaches to the heat of coastal nightclubs and salacious entanglements behind closed doors. 

As time passes, Mia’s visits to Puerto Vallarta become more frequent and her relationship with Carlos becomes ever-clearer. At first mere carnal instinct, a conquest of pleasures, life events and new acquaintance bring discovery, emotional attachment and a burning desire for enduring love as it was always meant to be. 

‘Target In The Sun’ is an impassioned story of search and longing for the ultimate connection.

This looks interesting. Why not pick up a copy? 

Monday, March 14, 2016




Indie writer, Harmony Kent is an award winning multi-genre author. Her publications include:

The Battle for Brisingament (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved.
The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015
Elemental Earth (YA Fantasy Fiction)
Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)
Slices of Soul (Contemporary Poetry)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services.  As well as reviewing and supporting her fellow indie authors, Harmony works hard to promote and protect high standards within the indie publishing arena.  She is always on the lookout for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes. 

Well, that’s the official biography … Harmony also has violent tendencies and forced me to add a not quite so official version …

Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours. She is single and not admitting to her age.
Here are ten things she thinks you ought to know about her …
  1. Born in 2013 (at least the author was …)
  2. Really boring
  3. Has absolutely no sense of humour
  4. Biographer is a compulsive liar
  5. Reads … a lot
  6. Writes … even more
  7. Completely sane(in)
  8. Neighbours are nuts
  9. If you’re feeling extra brave, she’s around
  10. Online …

Here’s where you can reach her:
Twitter: @harmony_kent 

I hope you enjoy her books.

Patricia A. Guthrie

Friday, March 11, 2016

BOOK REVIEW I'm Not Crazy, I'm Allergic by Sherilyn Powers

I'm Not Crazy... I'm Allergic (Kindle Edition)

Allergies vs Depression or Allergies CAUSE depression? Who would have thought? 

I've had bad allergies from childhood (hay fever back then) and I've suffered depression all my life. I always knew I had allergies, but didn't really know about the depression until I researched material for a speech class that covered teen suicide. 

I discovered I had many of the same symptoms and discovered that I had better look deeper into this. This is he first book I've discovered that shows the possible correlation between allergies and depression, so I thank Sherilyn for discovering this. Sherilyn had to do a lot of research for this book, it's well covered, organized and well written. I'm giving "I'm Not Crazy...I'm Allergic 5 stars because the book DESERVES IT.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

And the Whippoorwill Sang by Micki Peluso

A book I highly recommend. 
I began writing after a personal tragedy, as a catharsis for my grief. This lead to a first time out publication in Victimology: An International Magazine and a 25 year career in Journalism. I've freelanced and been staff writer for one major newspaper and written for two more. I have published short fiction and non-fiction, as well as slice of life stories in colleges and magazines, including e-zine editions.Two of my horror stories were recently published in "The Speed of Dark", an anthology by author and publisher, Clayton Bye. I'm a professional book reviewer for The New York Journal of Books and Readertoreader, as well as a freelance reviewer. My first book was published in 2008; a funny true family story of love, loss and survival, called, . . . AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG. The book was reissued as a second edition in March of 2012 and won the silver award from NESTA CBC, for writing that helps make the world a better place. I am presently working on a collection of short fiction, slice of life stories and essays, in a book called, Heartbeat. . . Slices of life.
Background Information
Due to extenuating circumstances in my life, like a wacky mom and messy divorce, I eloped at the age of seventeen, with my high school sweetheart, replacing all my dreams with different ones. We raised six kids and had wonderfully comical lives. Butch was the regimental "Sound of Music' dad, whistling for his kids, while I was the nurturer. We crossed country twice, lived in a real haunted house and were living a wonderful life, if not wealthy monetarily, rich in love. A tragic accident happened, changing our lives forever. I could not speak of it, so I wrote and wrote, a long labor of love, until a book was born. . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, written as a catharsis for my grief and salvation for my sanity, as we learned to weep . . .to laugh . . .to grieve . . .to dance.

Micki and Butch face the horror every parent fears—awaiting the fate of one of their children. While sitting vigil in the ICU waiting room, Micki traverses the past, as a way of dealing with an inconceivable future.
From the bizarre teenage elopement with her high school sweetheart, Butch, in a double wedding with her own mother, to comical family trips across country in an antiquated camper with six kids and a dog, they leave a path of chaos, antics and destruction in their wake. Micki shows the happy times of raising six children while living in a haunted house as the young parents grow up with their kids. She bravely attempts to be the man of the house while her husband is working out of town. Hearing strange noises, which all the younger kids are sure is the ghosts, Micki tiptoes down to the cellar, shotgun in hand and nearly shoots . . . an Idaho potato that has fallen from the pantry and thumped down the stairs. The rest of her children feel obligated to tell the world. Just when their lives are nearly perfect, tragedy strikes--and the laughter dies.
There is a terrible accident in the placid valley nestled within the Susquehanna Mountains in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It occurs on a country lane just blocks from the family’s hundred year old haunted farmhouse. Micki , in a state of shock, muses through their delightful past to avoid confronting an uncertain future—as the family copes with fear and apprehension.
One of her six children is fighting for life in the hospital; in a semi-coma, hovering between this world and the next. Both parents are pressured by doctors to disconnect Noelle, their fourteen-year-old daughter. Her beautiful girl, funny and bright, who breathes life into every moment, does cartwheels in piles of Autumn leaves, singing and dancing down country roads--loves her family with all her soul. How can Micki let this child go? The family embarks upon its unbearable journey to the other side of sorrow and grasps the poignant gift of life as they begin. . .to weep. . .to laugh. . .to grieve. . .to dance--and forgive.
Tagline: Happy time, a sunny day, a driving drunk, eight lives forever changed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lori Soard "It's Hard to Go Home." Now on

Once again, I had to take a short hiatus from blogging. I've been spit polishing "Legacy of Danger" and have finally sent it to my publisher (LSPDigitalLLC) I'm back now, working on a marketing plan with help from Alinka Rutkowska (100 Review Book Launch) and 52 Ways to sell More Books by Penny Sansevieri

But, here's something for somebody else:  Lori Soard, author of "It's Hard to Go Home  won Rave Review Book Club's "Push Tuesday" award. 
Here's the synopsis. I just picked up the book and can't wait to read it. 

  Millie Jackson loves the freedom of running through the wooded mountains of wild and beautiful West Virginia. It sure beats going home to the strict mother who reins over her home. She has her two cousins, Josh and Aaron for company. And she can avoid Old Man Taylor, who scares her a little with his daily treks up a steep mountain to visit the grave of his wife. 

When Josh is killed in a car accident, Millie has a hard time accepting his death. At first she refuses to believe he is dead. It is surely a horrible mistake. But the cold, harsh reality starts to sink in and she realizes that he is truly gone forever. She never told him how much she loved him. 

As Millie defies her parents and takes daily treks to the grave, she becomes further involved with Renee, who begins urging her to try some drugs that will "make her feel better." 

Will Millie make the right choice that honors Josh's memory? Or, will she spiral down until there is no return?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Jessica, the Autobiography of an Infant: How Far Back Can We Remember?

Jessica, the Autobiography of an Infant
By Jeffrey Von Glahn, PHD
                This is the true psychological process of a troubled young woman who had no sense of “self” no sense of deserving of love, attention or anything good that came her way. Taken throughout over three years of psychotherapy, patient and therapist weave an true story that peals layer upon layer, until all she’s left with is her “me” her inner self. They take us back throughout her life until we reach the core of her birth and a bit beyond.
               This is an incredible journey. Not frightening, but intense none the less. We see her progress and regressions: one step forward, two back as we’re privileged to peek into their sessions and discover a trip few ever see.
                I didn’t realize anyone could remember back so far. Few have. It makes me wonder, could I with the proper guidance? It also makes me wonder, do I want to?
                Excellently written, as some other reviews pointed out, it reads like a novel, and it does. It was hard to put down.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Do You Set Goals? Jessica: The Autobiography of an Infant.

So do you? Set goals?

Usually, when I do, then don't take hold and my goals either change or diminish as time goes by. 

But, here are mine for the New Year, anyway. Hopefully, with setting deadlines and keeping up enthusiasm for tasks, they will not only take hold, but will become achievable. Here goes. 

1. Finish final edits for Legacy of Danger--deadline March 1st. 

2. Start new project, possibly a cozy mystery series. That seems to be popular and usually provides a fun read. (not sure I have that fun of a personality, but I'll try. Romantic suspense has ever been my forte) 

3. Read books and review them for Amazon. I'm on Rave Review Book Clubs a great source of inspiration where members read and review each others' books. 

4. Promote existing published books: In the Arms of the Enemy and Waterlilies Over My Grave (see  Patricia A. Guthrie) 

5. Keep up Writer's Rock, my Facebook writer's group. Many talented, professional and amateur writers are in this group at varying levels. In order to participate in the workshops, you have to be on AOL (Chapter One) Monday nights. You can join and get great information on Facebook. 

Currently reading: "Jessica: The Autobiography of an infant."  Wow, is this ever psychologically deep. If you like psychology this is the book for you. 



Monday, January 4, 2016

Read---Kill Devil: Mystery of the Cane by P.J. Erickson

Here's a book to read in the cold, cold days of winter. A red-hot novel by P.J. Erickson.

KILL DEVIL: Mystery of the Cane by PJ. Erickson (winner of Rave Review Book Clubs Push Week) For Sale on

Someone is clearing the streets of derelicts in a Florida town and the police have other things to do, but when a young girl disappears, Chase Larsen discovers a trail of kidnapping and slavery that leads to a bizarre plantation where two men plot the destruction of America.
Florida's diverse and awesome beauty becomes the backdrop for this novel of kidnapping and murder where one man must bridge the distance between centuries to prevent a deadly conspiracy.
Fast paced action once again embroils Chase and his private investigator, Annie, in mayhem and murder led by none other than their nemesis, Dominick Wilding. The plot weaves through pre-civil war to cyberterrorism with places so vivid you'll see them and characters you'll remember long after you've finished reading.
Don't miss this new adventure. What is Dominick up to now? Will he triumph or will Chase solve the puzzle in time?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt from Quotable Notes

Happy New Year to everyone who travels through my blogs. Here's a neat quote by FDR. 

" There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still. " Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

I've found writer's block (see my blog) and procrastination to be debilitating. I've also found many ways out. Sometimes it takes a long, long time to get there, other's not long at all. 

This year, I managed to finish a novel I'd started in the late 1990's. It was tough updating some information, trends, social media and electronics, but I THINK I manage to accomplish this. 

So, I did it. I finished the book. Then I enlisted the help from some very good writer/reader beta readers who managed to get me to make a great deal of changes, and MORE changes are still sitting in my files. 

Legacy of Danger is a paranormal romantic suspense novel. I'm hoping it will "get out" this year. Bye Bye baby. It's like sending a kid off to college or the workforce.

Getting back to the quote, I've found many ways back into the writing mode. But standing still is just that. Like sitting in the middle of a traffic jam that won't move. (brain is traffic jam).

Have a great day and a great year.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

From Quotable Notes by Joseph Brodsky

"Cherish your human connections: Your relationships with friends and family."

By Joseph Brodsky 

Have a wonderful holiday. God bless you all. 

Patricia A Guthrie   

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Santa Claus Came to Town and How He Got Here by Patricia A. Guthrie

    Santa Claus Came to Town and How He Got Here

By Patricia Guthrie

     “‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house . . .”  ‘Jolly Old St. Nicholas . . .’  ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town.’ What images come to mind?  A rather chubby, merry and ageless man with a twinkle in his eye, carrying a bag full of toys from a sled, way too small to provide gifts for more than sixty-million children around the world.  Nine reindeer, the lead having an overpowering red-glowing nose, paw anxiously, trying not to topple off a steeply slanted roof covered with ice and snow. Realistic? Hell no.  Fun? Absolutely.
     Does Santa Claus actually have anything to do with Christmas?  Nope . . . not really. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the namesake of its religious beliefs.  Except for Easter, it is the most holy of days in the Christian calendar.  Christmas is the only religious holiday that has survived the separation of Church and State in the United States, despite many attempts to have it stricken from the federal holiday calendar. 
     Santa Claus has come along for the ride–and what a ride it has been for all of these years. So what’s Santa Claus all about?  How did he get to be so popular?  Who is he?  Was he even real?
     There is some disagreement about that.  He is traced back to one Bishop Nicholas of Myra (d350) who, real or not real, became one of the most beloved saints to ever grace the face of this earth.  He was revered in both Eastern as well as Western churches, one of the few things they ever agreed on.  So loved was he, Emperor Justinian built a church in his honor in 540 AD.  It seems the good bishop could do no wrong.  He was the patron saint of children, mariners, merchants, countries and cities.  He saved dowerless maidens in distress by throwing money into their windows.  He is credited with saving ships at sea and somehow or other, saving countries from famine.  After he was dead, he was reported to have come down from heaven to distribute gifts to good little boys and girls and, later, seemed to have gained a side kick named ‘Black Peter’ who punished those children who weren’t so good.  It was (and still is) a dream come true for parents who could now dangle the proverbial carrot in front of their kids,  in anticipation of the arrival of good St. Nick.
     Those who disavow the existence of Nicholas seem to think his legend originated from the pagan gods of the pre-Christian era.  There were similarities between the Teutonic God Odin, who flew around in the air on a gray horse and wore a long white beard.  Thor was another God who seemed to have Nicholas’ attributes, i.e., he came from the North, wore a suit of red, rode through the heavens in a chariot drawn by white goats, and was friendly and cheerful and loved to drop down through chimneys for some reason or other.
     When Christmas was settled as a day to celebrate the Christian tradition, the Roman church decided on an old pagan day of celebration of Dec. 25th.  There was no way to pin down the real birth date of Jesus, and trying to keep their flock away from paganism, the church decided to bring their religious holiday into the pagan calendar–hoping to wipe out any trace of pagan celebration. The odd thing is, if indeed he did live, Nicholas was a Christian man himself, a bishop of the church and one of those to have been present at the first council of Nicea. That cannot be proved, as his name is not present on the list of attending bishops.

Santa Claus in America

     During the reformation which spread around Europe in the sixteenth century, the Feast of St. Nicholas all but disappeared.  Christkindl (Christ child) replaced Nicholas as the bearer of good tidings and gifts.  The Protestant reformers felt that their children should not spend their time worshiping a bishop, lured by presents and goodies.  They thought they could channel their energies instead into celebrating the birth of the Christ child.  The custom changed slightly with Christkindl being the main player instead of Nicholas.  The practice of gift giving, however, remained.  Despite this new emphasis, the Nicholas legends prevailed, especially among the Dutch.
     During the 1600s, exchanging gifts or celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas was forbidden by the Puritans in America.  It wasn’t until the Dutch settled in what later became New York that they brought with them their tradition of SinterKlaas.  SinterKlaas was just one variation on the name of St. Nicholas and they celebrated it on the eve of Dec. 6th, the anniversary of his death.   Switching the date to Dec. 25th came when the English took over the colony.  The English children wanted their own SinterKlass.  As the Protestants didn’t believe in celebrating saints days, the date was changed.
     Washington Irving, writing under the pseudonym of Diedrich Knickerbocker, mentioned the holiday in his satire, ‘The History of New York.’  Good old St. Nicholas, SinterKlaas, was depicted riding into town on a white horse, which later somehow learned to fly over the tree tops pulling a wagon.  William Gilley printed a poem about ‘Santeclaus’ and described him as wearing fur and driving a sleigh, now pulled by a reindeer.
     The most famous spin in the history of Santa Claus in America came with the poem written by Dr. Clement Moore, a dentist, who was also a theology and classics professor at Union Seminary.  He wrote ‘A visit from St. Nicholas,’ that went on to become ‘The Night before Christmas.’  At last, Santa had a description.  He was now a jolly, happy and a rather hefty soul who had a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer named: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen.  Later, Robert L. May created the ninth and most famous reindeer of all.  He was the guiding-light of the team and his name was Rudolph.
     So far, Santa Claus was pictured as elf-size, fitting in his compact sleigh, which made timely deliveries to all those homes around the world extremely difficult. However, Haddon Sundblom, an illustrator for the Coca Cola Company helped Santa with those shipments when, in 1931, he drew a series of Santa images and pictured him human-size for their Christmas advertisements.  Santa’s stature and the ads continue to the present time.
     The much loved Nicholas of Myra seems to have gained a reputation that even the greatest and most famous might envy.  Larger than life, his saga lives on as the patron saint of almost everybody; mariners, merchants, children, cities (including Moscow) and countries (Greece, Russia, Italy) and seems to have grown year by year.  As much as Christmas is a Christian holiday, it is also a holiday that celebrates generosity and kindliness of spirit even amongst those who might have the hardest of hearts during the rest of the year.  Despite all the holiday craziness that we must endure, Christmas and Santa Claus go hand in hand in featuring one of the most beautiful and reverent holidays for the human spirit. 

by Clement Clarke Moor  

 'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that ST. NICHOLAS soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash;
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of midday to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came.
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
'Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!'
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes, how they twinkled! his dimples how merry.
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf.
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh; to his team gave a whistle.
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


Bucher, Pastor Richard P. (1999); The Origin of Santa Claus and the Christian Response to Him.
Evangelical Trinity Lutheran Church.

Van der Meulen, Roel;  Sinterklaas, A Dutch Tradition, Project Galactic Guide

Religious Tolerance; All about Santa Claus,

Goode, Stephen (1996); After 17 centuries, Kris Kringle is still making his rounds; Insight on the News.

Dodd, Brian (1995); History of Santa Claus, American Origins. Quote from Encarta 95. Http://




Monday, December 21, 2015

From Quotable Notables

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.


Christmas: Past and Present by Micki Peluso

This is a reflection of the Christmases of today as compared with the past.
                                   Christmas; Past and Present 
                              Micki Peluso, Author and Reviewer

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Mall, last minute
shoppers scurried from store to store; short on patience and with little
evidence of the holiday spirit of love. The only ones smiling were the store owners and the costumed Santa, who gets paid to be jolly.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of talking dolls, video games, bicycles and other expensive toys, danced in their heads. Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap had just settled down to tackle the mountain of Christmas bills, which was larger than the national debt.

The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow, reflected the concern of
families awaiting the arrival of loved ones traveling on icy roads.
Years ago, Christmas seemed easier, less commercial and more enjoyable. Many families lived near each other, and most of the decorations, foodstuffs and presents were homemade. While there was stress and haste to accomplish the needed tasks by Christmas Eve, the stress was different than what is experienced today. Generations past did not seem to lose sight of the reason for Christmas; a birthday celebration of sharing and love.

The nostalgia of horse-drawn sleigh rides through wooded country roads is sorely missed. Bells jingling accompaniment to carols sung off key by bundled-up children in the back of the sleigh, is a thing of the past. Yet Christmas retains an aura of magic, nonetheless.

Originally, the Christian church did not acknowledge Christmas at all, as such observance was considered a heathen rite. The earliest records of any Christmas celebration dates back to the early part of the third century. Gift giving, as a custom, may have originated with the Romans, relating to their worship of Dionysus at Delphi.

The Christmas tree comes from the Germans, although its origin has been traced as far back as ancient Egypt. The tree replaces a former customary pyramid of candles, part of the pagan festivals. There is a legend that Martin Luther brought an evergreen home to his children and decorated it for Christmas. German immigrants carried this custom with them to the New World, but it did not gain popularity until 1860, when John C. Bushmann, a German, decorated a tree in Massachusetts and invited people to see it. Evergreens, a symbol of survival, date to the 18th century when St. Boniface, honoring the Christianizing of
Germany, dedicated a fir tree to the Holy Child to replace the sacred oak of Odin. The "Nation's Christmas Tree," was the General Grant tree in General

Grant National Park in California, dedicated May 1, 1926,by the town mayor. The tree was 267 feet high and 3500-4000 years old. Mistletoe, burned on the alter of the Druid gods, was regarded as a symbol
of love and peace. The Celtic custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from the practice of enemies meeting under the plant, dropping their weapons and embracing in peace. Some parts of England decorated with mistletoe and holly, but other parts banned its use due to association with Druid rites. Mistletoe was considered a cure for sterility, a remedy for poisons, and kissing under it would surely lead to marriage.

The 4th century German St. Nicholas, shortened through the years to Santa Claus, has become the epitome of today's Christmas spirit. St. Nicholas, taking pity upon three young maidens with no dowry and no hope, tossed a bag of gold through each of their windows, and granted them a future. Other anonymous gifts being credited to him were emulated and the tradition grew. The Norsemen enhanced the legend of Santa Claus coming down the chimney with their goddess, Hertha, known to appear in fireplaces, bringing happiness and good luck.

Sir Henry Cole, impressed by a lithograph drawing, made by J.C. Horsley, instigated the idea of Christmas cards. It took eighteen years for the custom to gain popularity, and then it was adopted mainly by gentry.

Christmas was banned in England in 1644, during the Puritan ascendency. A law was passed ordering December 25th a market day and shops were forced to open. Even the making of plum pudding and mincemeat pies was forbidden. This law was repealed after the Restoration, but the Dissenters still referred to Yuletide as "Fooltide."

The General Court of Massachusets passed a law in 1657 making the
celebration of Christmas a penal offense. This law, too, was repealed, but many years would pass before New England celebrated Christmas.
When Washington crossed the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War, it was the observance of Christmas that made his conquest of the British a success. The enemy was sleeping off the affects of the celebration.

Befana, or Epiphany, is the Italian female counterpart of Santa Claus. On Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, she is said to fill children's stockings with presents. According to legend, Befana was too busy to see the Wise Men during their visit to the Christ Child, saying that she would see them on their way back to the East. The Magi, however, chose a different route home, and now Befana must search for them throughout eternity. The sacred song traditionally sung on her yearly visit is the Befanata.

The number of Magi visiting the stable on that first Christmas Eve could be anywhere from two to twenty. The number three was chosen because of the three gifts; gold, frankencense and myrrh. Western tradition calls the Magi, Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, but they have different names and numbers in different parts of the world.

Though distinctly Christian, the social aspect of Christmas is observed and enjoyed by many religious and ethnic groups. Rabbi Eichler, during a sermon in Boston in 1910 explains why: "...Christmas has a double aspect, a social and theological side. The Jew can and does heartily join in the social Christmas. Gladly, does he contribute to the spirit of good will and peace, characteristic of the season. It was from the light of Israel's sanctuary that Christianity lit its torch. The Hanukka lights, therefore, justly typify civilization and universal religion."

Dr. Clement Clarke Moore, a professor at the General Theological Seminary in New York, penned the famous poem, "Twas the Night before Christmas." Dr. Moore never intended for the poem to be published. Miss Harriet Butler, daughter of the rector of St. Paul's Church in Troy, New York, accompanied her father on a visit to Dr. Moore. She asked for a copy of the poem and sent it anonymously to the editor of The Troy Sentinel. A copy of the newspaper
carrying his poem was sent to Dr. Moore, who was greatly annoyed that something
he composed for the amusement of his children should be printed. It was not until eight years later, that Dr. Moore publicly admitted that he wrote the poem.

Christmas is the favorite Holiday of children, who unquestionably accept the myth of Santa Claus. In 1897, one little girl began to have doubts as to the reality of Santa Claus, and wrote to the New York Sun, asking for confirmation. Her letter read: Dear editor, I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says,"If you see it in The Sun, it's so. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?" Virginia D'Hanlon.

Francis P. Church's editorial answer to the little girl became almost as
famous as Dr. Moore's poem. In part, this is what he wrote: "Virginia, your little friends are so wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe, except they see... Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exists....Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as if there were no Virginias...No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

It is sentiments like this that warm the heart of child and adult alike,
as Christmas nears. It is not the gifts, soon forgotten, that make Christmas a time of wonder and magic. It is the love within all people for God, for children, for each other. During this hectic holiday season, take a moment or two to savor the true meaning of Christmas.

"And I heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all,
And to all a Goodnight!"
Dr. Clement Clarke Moore