Merry Monday! And in spite of the light-speed Christmas is galloping toward us, we still have time to put feet up and read some good, entertaining, and enriching Christmas novellas. Maybe have a cookie or two.
May I recommend “Clear as Ice?”
Won’t take you long.
Neither will reading my interview with the author, Penelope. Marzec. I’m so glad to have her visit the Prude today! (and isn’t this cover great???)
Here is the blurb: When Ethan’s prayers for his mother’s life go unanswered, he abandons his faith, tossing it out with his mother’s Christmas ornaments. The loss of his hope leaves him empty and he begins to shy away from relationships, but when his dog Rufus, a rescue from a shelter, develops a fondness for a woman skating on the frozen lake behind his house, he’s annoyed. Not only does he resent her using his pond, he doesn’t understand her fear of dogs. Haylie, once an Olympic figure skater, is afraid of more than just Ethan’s dog. She lives in constant fear due to threats from a stalker, but one day Ethan’s dog chases the danger away, so Haylie decides to try to lose her fear of dogs…But then the stalker’s plans expand to include revenge toward Ethan as well. If they are to remain safe and live to see a happily-ever-after, Haylie and Ethan must put aside differences and learn to trust each other. This Christmas season promises to be the most challenging and the most meaningful of their lives.
Penelope, welcome! Jumping right in to the intersection of reality and fiction: Do you know as much about ice skating as Haylie does?
I never took formal ice skating lessons so I don’t know as much about skating as my character in Clear as Ice. I watched the other kids on the ice and imitated their moves. The girl who lived across the street from me was considerably older, but she was the best in the neighborhood so I tried to do what she did. I fell all the time, but that’s one way to learn.
Do you have four seasons where you live?
Yes, New Jersey has four seasons. It gets bitterly cold here at times during the winter though in general it is not as prolonged since the ocean tends to moderate the temperature. Small lakes freeze over quickly. However, despite the fact that most of the rivers are tidal estuaries, they, too, will freeze solid if the temperature remains cold long enough. Then the ice boats come out of storage to race. If the freeze continues, the ferries to New York City stop running. Sometimes we get a lot of snow, and sometimes not too much. But we have a snowblower so we are prepared.
Rate the seasons in order of your preference.
Fall is my favorite season. Next is spring, Then winter and last comes summer. Summer is too hot and there are far too many mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are vicious.
Why is No. 1 on top? (Fall is my favorite here in the Midwest, too)
The temperatures in the fall are ideal in my opinion. Most often, autumn contains a wealth of sunny days—unless there’s a hurricane. But then we get nor’easters during the winter, which are just as bad as hurricanes. After spending my career teaching, I still think of fall as a time of new beginnings—new faces and new challenges, too.
As a writer looking for inspiration all the time, I wonder what gave you the idea for “Clear as Ice?”
The idea for Clear as Ice came to me from a convergence of events. One of my daughters went through a stalking experience, another daughter was an EMT for a time, my granddog needed a story, and seeing turtles underneath the ice in suspended animation is quite amazing. Also, I would love to go ice skating again, but with my wonky knees it’s not going to happen.
There is a lot of loss and heartache in “Clear as Ice” (although it also is filled with hope). Why did you choose to put these issues and the pain the cause in the story?
I wrote the story because everyone needs hope.
My brother died a few days before Christmas while he was in the Air Force. His plane, an F-111 crashed. He was only twenty-five. I was twenty-four. It was a difficult, sorrowful time, but no one in my family lost their faith. However, I have known others in similar situations who stopped believing due to the loss of their loved ones. When horrible things happen, some people decide there is no God because if there was, they assume such tragedies wouldn’t occur. This indicates to me that they don’t understand the Lord’s promises or they would not have lost their faith. The world is a very, very sad place without hope.
Oh Penelope. So sorry to hear about your brother. So glad you could stay leaning on the Lord. And glad you have the dog, Rufus, in this story. He is pretty appealing! Are you a dog person? Cat? Both/neither?
I am a dog person. Cats are too aloof and independent to my way of thinking. When I was five years old, our family got a dog we named King—such an original name. He was part Husky and who knows what else. He lived outside—as most dogs did in those days—but we brought him inside the house during hurricanes and blizzards. In my early twenties, I bought a full-bred German shepherd who I named Orion. He was delightful and smart, but died at too young an age and broke my heart. My youngest daughter now has a dog—our granddog. Rufus is based on my daughter’s dog—at least in looks. I think Rufus is a bit more intelligent than my granddog, but not by much.
Describe your perfect Christmas for us.
For me a perfect Christmas is a family gathering on Christmas Eve with a nice dinner, followed by going to church. Afterwards, everyone opens gifts. It’s a simple schedule. It was different when our daughters were little. We still had our nice dinner along with attendance at church, but the gift opening happened early in the morning.
Nowadays, I like to stay in bed on Christmas morning.
I hope you get your Christmas wish! How about a favorite Christmas Carol?
There are a gazillion wonderful Christmas Carols. I really enjoy many of the ancient ones—like “Good King Wenceslas” and “The Holly and the Ivy.” After years teaching young children, I am fond of many of the secular songs, too, like “Up On the Housetop.”
Favorite Christmas movie and/or TV special?
Hubby plays the accordion so his favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life because there’s a scene at the end with an accordion. I have seen It’s a Wonderful Life just about every year. So I think it became my favorite Christmas movie by default. One of hubby’s accordion friends bought an accordion from him because it looked very much like the accordion in It’s a Wonderful Life. That man then donated the accordion to the museum in Seneca Falls, New York, which many believe was the inspiration for the town in the movie.
We watch It’s a Wonderful Life every year too! Thanks for the extra information on the movie. (And my dad played accordion, hearing accordion music makes me happy.)
One last thing before you go. If you could have any Christmas wish for your readers, what would it be?
I pray my readers will cling to a strong faith so they will continue to believe in the Lord’s promises and never lose hope.
Amen! Thank you for visiting. Readers, Penelope is also a musician, artist, a crocheter, and probably many more things that I don’t know. A delightful lady. I hope you get to know her through her books!
Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore. She started reading romances at a young age and fell hopelessly in love with happy endings. Two of her inspirational romances won EPIC’s eBook Award and another was a finalist in that contest. Her paranormal, Irons in the Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award. Visit her website at penelopemarzec.com for more information.