Saturday, December 24, 2005

Did Anybody Get the License Plate of that Sleigh?

It’s Christmas Eve. Now, that’s either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how many other trips you need to make to the maul to pick up last minute gifts today.

While I was having my coffee this morning, I started thinking about novels set around the holidays. Publishers obviously love them. Or at least they think this is something that appeals to readers. As for why I say this, well, walk into any Barnes and Noble today, cruise the fiction aisles, and you're likely to see lots of Christmas-themed novels. Personally, I've never written one myself but I do confess that I've probably bought a few over the years. (Usually either because they were written by a friend or were a gift for someone else.)

So, my question to you all on this snowy Christmas Eve is this: What are your feelings on Christmas-themed novels? To the authors, do you write them? (If so, are the sales for those books any better in your opinion?) To the readers, do you like reading them? (If so, do you make a point to seek them out in the bookstore?)

Now, speaking of Christmas, leave it to the folks at NORAD, the bi-national U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace defense of the United States and Canada, to find a way to keep tabs on Santa’s travels on Christmas Eve. This is their 50th anniversary of their doing it, too, much to the delight of children in Canada and the United States. You can track Santa here.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Nancy Morse said...

It's Christmas Eve. Why am I sitting at this stupid computer? Why aren't I baking or shopping or decorating? Oh that's right, I already did all those things.I've been known to watch a Hallmark movie or 2 about Christmas, but I can't say I've ever read a Christmas theme romance, nor have I ever written one, which is ironic since Christmas is my favorite time of year. I think it probably has something to do with themes. I'm not crazy about reading or writing anything with a seasonal theme. Sorry I'm not much help to you on this. I guess this is what happens when you don't have any last-minute shopping to do. Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

LOL. Good point, Nancy!

I did almost all of my shopping online this year - and THEY delivered it for me. I may never set foot inside a maul again. LOL.

As for books with seasonal themes, I'm never had an urge to write one. Yet, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Okay, the Comments section needs an Edit button. LOL.

Allison Brennan said...

I don't read Christmas themed books unless they happen to be written by a favorite author. I think the last one I bought was 2 or 3 years ago, the Stephanie Plum Christmas themed book by Janet Evanovich. I didn't think it was up to par with the others in the series, and it was unusually short. But it wasn't bad. I also bought Mary Higgins Clark's Silent Night which was outstanding. That was several years ago, though.

So I guess . . . I'd write one if I had characters that had a story that revolved around Christmas, but I wouldn't write a Christmas story just to write a Christmas story . . . does that even make any sense? LOL.

AND I'm done with my shopping; I don't bake except apple pies on Christmas Day; and all I have left is a ton of wrapping because we can only wrap at night when the kids go to bed.

Anonymous said...


Your explanation makes perfect sense to me. I'm the same way, I think. I wouldn't set out to write a Christmas-themed story just to write one but if I had an idea for one that involved Christmas (or Thanksgiving, etc.), I probably would go for it.

I think I'm witnessing a Christmas miracle here in Snow Hell. Seriously. We've been getting bombardbed with snow and ice since before Thanksgiving. (What? You thought I called the place Snow Hell as a joke? lol.) The temp today was 39 degrees! I've got snow sliding off the roof and melting all over the place. It's amazing!

Thanks, Santa! LOL. (Now, about that wonderful new agent I'd mentioned in my letter...)

JoAnn Ross said...

This is so cool. We've come back from dinner and are tracking Santa while we're waiting to go to Midnight mass. Going back and watching earlier trackings was a LOT of fun. (The NORAD report from Paris said that he's going to do 91,000 miles in this 24 hours which means -- gee -- there's someone who drives faster than I do! LOL)

JoAnn Ross said...

Oh, to answer the question, I've set books at Christmas, including the thriller that's due - yikes! - Dec 30th, but they weren't Christmas release books or marketed as Christmas stories. I did write one New Years Eve novella for a HQ anthology once; I was asked to do it, and it was a lot of fun, but I seem to recall the release being spotty due to the holidays. I think the only ones I've ever read were ones I judged in the RITAs.

The best earning theme book I ever did was a Valentines Day novella for HQ. That was least ten or twelve years ago and I'm still making money from it.

gailbarrett said...

My November book, Where He Belongs, takes place around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I didn't intend for it to be a holiday book but it had to take place in the hero's off-season (he's a smokejumper), which begins in the fall and ends in spring. Therefore, most of the story takes place in November/December and includes a Thanksgiving dinner scene. They ended up releasing the book in November, which was appropriate, and it has a snowy cover to match the epilogue. So the book turned out being rather holiday-related, but that wasn't my intention. I don't generally seek out holiday-type books.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, JoAnn,

(As always) You've made a good point. This time about Christmas themed books possibly not doing well because they never reached the shelves due to holiday snafus. I think this is true for almost any December release, and it's especially true for categories, which have the shelf life of what? Five minutes. lol. I remember several years ago when UPS striked, many category writers with books out that month took a big hit to their sales figures.

I also remember walking into a Crown in Glendale, California mid-cycle of one of my Loveswept releases, only to discover that they still had the previous months books out on the shelf. The current month's books, including mine, were back in a box somewhere.

But I just LOVE that you're still getting royalties for your Valentine anthology from ten years ago!

Merry Christmas - and you know we're all keeping our fingers crossed that you make BOTH insane deadlines, don't you? LOL.

Anonymous said...


Now, that's the way to incorporate a holiday into a book. Have the holiday celebration be part of the story but not have the story overshadowed by the holiday.

And your smoke jumper story sounds great, btw!

Merry Christmas!

JoAnn Ross said...

One thing about the Christmas books is that aren't they usually out in Oct? (I think that's when Kate Duffy told me the Brava anthology was out.) Which does give them time to find an audience.

Hope everyone is having a lovely holiday!

And thanks for the wishes on the deadlines. I've actually taken two days off and should be in panic mode (especially with grandbabies arriving in 4 days!), but right now, I'm just too filled with peace, love, and joy to care. :) said...

I've had a lot of books with Christmas themes and Christmas covers, and in general, they've done well. I don't particularly like READING Christmas books, though, although like someone else said, Mary Higgins Clark's SILENT NIGHT was exceptionally good. I still use that book when I teach classes on motivation. Hope everyone had a great Christmas!