Saturday, December 3, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: DECKING THE HALLS by Marji Laine

Marji Laine is a romantic-suspense
author and the new executive
director of Write Integrity Press.
Learn more about her at her author
page at
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. Family, laughter, food, decorations, lights - I love it all. In fact, I was married in December. Sweet hubby and I celebrate 30 years in a couple of weeks.

I remember the Christmas after our first anniversary. We had a little four-foot tree that we stuck in front of a window. We splurged on a box of twinkle lights and some assorted plastic ornaments. And we had a little, gold-dressed angel for the top. She didn't even light up, but she had such a sweet face, I couldn't resist.

We also had the hurricane lamps, adorned with poinsettias, that had been carried by my bridesmaids in our wedding. They became my dining table centerpiece for several Christmases.

Every year, sweet hubby and I added a little more to our decor. A NOEL sign hung beside our door, a stuffed Santa and reindeer, and a couple of new ornaments. Before our third Christmas, we moved into our first house and got to enjoy a "real" tree. We invested in some yard art the following year, a pair of singing mice, and of course continued to build our stuffed Santa collection.

With the addition of children, our decorations focused on them - a Santa calendar, a couple of ladders
and elves, a long shelf full of various festive items, and blue jean stockings. Our tree has grown and we've even gotten a second one to display in one of our front windows while our main tree graces our family room.

And no, the sweet little angel does not grace the top of this tree. She was simply too small for such a large tree and with no lights, she didn't show up. But she looks outstanding on the new smaller tree on display in my office.

And she still has the sweetest face.

About the Author:

Marji writes what she loves to read: mystery, suspense, and romance all with a deep thread of faith and hope. A home-schooling mom of four, she's nearing retirement with her youngest two, twins, in their senior year. In addition to her writing and editing, she  is also the high school coordinator and web designer of a large co-op, and works at her church as the children's music director, a teacher in the Sunday youth classes, an assistant in the youth choir, and an alto in the adult choir.

Learn more about Marji at her author page on the Write Integrity Press website:

Recipe for Christmas Toffee:

My twins have figured out the easiest way to make toffee - which is good because I'm a reluctant cook! Be careful, though. The toffee is terribly addictive!

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 sleeve (or so) Saltine crackers
1/2 bag chocolate chips
sprinkles, crushed peppermint, or M&Ms  for decoration

Apply foil to a jelly roll pan and spray it with baking spray. Spread the crackers across the jelly roll pan to cover it completely.

Heath's Point is a fictional small town
in Northeast Texas, but living there can
be ... well, murder. Book 1,  COUNTER
POINT, is available at Amazon in
print and e-book.
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Continue to stir it as it boils for 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture over the crackers and coat them evenly. Put the pan in a 350° oven for 6 minutes.

As soon as you remove it from the oven, sprinkle the hot coating with chocolate chips which will melt fairly quickly. Spread the melted chips and decorate before storing the entire pan in a freezer for at least an hour to thoroughly chill the candy. Break the pieces apart before serving.

12 Books of Christmas:

You can win a copy of Marji's COUNTER POINT along with 11 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While your commenting, tell us: What is your favorite Christmas ornament, and why is it special?


Shirley Crowder said...

What fun to think back on the Cristmas trees I have had through the years-beautifully unique. My mom used to tell me that the lights and decorations shout out, "Look at how beautiful we are! Didn't our decorator do a great job!" Reminds me of Psalm 139:14, "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works. And that my soul knows very well." As creations of God, do our lives shout out how a great Creator God we serve?

Marji Laine - Faith Driven Fiction said...

I LOVE this thought, Shirley! How great is our God!

Heidi Kortman said...

Our Christmas tree was a mixture of inherited ornaments, 'filler" ornaments that changed color as the decades passed, ornaments that my mother received as gifts from her grade school students, and there was a family tradition of purchasing one new ornament every year. Frequently, those were bird-shaped or depicted birds, especially Cardinals.

For the table-top tree that is mine, I have several varieties of ornaments: quilled paper, and straw, simple colored balls, knitted Santas, drummer boys, and snowmen, and one set of knitted dogs of varying breeds.

Marji Laine - Faith Driven Fiction said...

Knitted dogs? Those sound so cute!

I painted wooden clothespins one year. My favorite was a lady on skates in a blue felt skirt and cape. And she had a little muff between her "hands." She was so pretty, well, except for her mouth. It sort of resembled a jack-o-lantern. I was never very good with mouths, but in my defense, I was only six when I painted her! :)

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

My favorite Christmas ornaments are the doily angels my oldest children made in pre-K. They're mounted on toilet-paper tubes and we use them as tree toppers. My youngest had a different teacher for pre-K so he never made one--he feels left out every year as the big kids vie to have their angel on top of the tree. (Did I mention that my oldest is 24? hahahaha)

Loraine Nunley said...

Our Christmas tree is filled with so many memorable ornaments that it is hard to choose a favorite. When I was little, my mom made ornaments our of the old flash cubes that you used on cameras. She would put family pictures in them and decorate them with glitter. When she passed on, they were handed down to me and my kids love to hang them on our tree while listening to me tell the stories about them. I am looking forward to reading Marji's book. Thanks for the giveaway!

Marji Laine - Faith Driven Fiction said...

Hahahaha, Barb. That's a battle I'd love to see. Isn't it funny how those goofy little gifts can become so special?

Oh, Loraine! I can just picture those ornaments. My mom was a camera-queen, so I'm very familiar with those little cubes! What a brilliant idea! And I hope you love COUNTER POINT!

Unknown said...

I have been wanting to read Marji's books since I first heard she was writing. Procrastination is a bad, bad thing, no? This blog is a great catalyst. Merry Christmas everybody!

Marji Laine - Faith Driven Fiction said...

Hi Cynthia!
Hahahaha! Now is your time! Woohoo!

Lucy Reynolds said...

My favorite ornament is a ball with my grandkids handprints. Thank you. Merry Christmas!

Cindy said...

Your new book looks like one I'd really like! I don't have a favorite Christmas ornament but I love colored lights rather than only 1 color on the tree. It's fun to reminisce about the ornaments as they get hung on the tree. We have lots of ornaments from different times in our lives so it's fun to talk about them and remember that "season" of life.

I'd love to win your contest! :)

Marji Laine - Faith Driven Fiction said...

Lucy, I have a couple of "ornaments" that are cut-outs of two-year-old's hand-prints. Can't part with them for the life of me!

I get what you mean, Cindy. We've been reminiscing about ornaments a lot this year. I think mostly because this article I needed to write made dear daughters and I think about them all more than normal. We sure have some special ones!