Saturday, December 3, 2011

MY Muse, Christmas Time with Judy Baker

I’m one of those ‘weird’ people that others don’t understand – yup, you’re right - I start listening to Christmas music in August. Once I started writing a Christmas themed story in December and listened to Christmas music all the way through April, when I finally wrote “The End.” I about drove my hubby crazy when I decided to write two more books (during the summer months) to complete my Santa Series: Santa’s Pretty Lady, Santa’s Secret Gift, Mainland Santa. And, yes of course, you have to have the music while writing. All my e-books are written under my alter-ego Anna Sugg. Read a blurb on my website:

A copy of Homeless Santa (now an eBook titled, Santa’s Pretty Lady) has been donated for Tonya’s Christmas Gift Basket for the lucky person that wins. Good Luck.

Excerpt from Santa’s Pretty Lady:

“Ah, gee whiz, lady,” hollered a man down the end of the counter.

LenaBelle raised her eyebrows at Santa and turned to the man who spoke.

“You gotta have dinner with Santa.”

“Yeah, you can’t turn down Santa,” joined a man from across the room.

“Yeah,” remarked another listener.

A quick glance around the tables found all eyes glued to them. LB turned back to Santa and from his expressive eyes, she could tell he was thoroughly enjoying the moment.

“Keep it up, guys,” Santa’s deep voice encouraged as he motioned with black gloved hands. “She’s weakening.”

“Hey,” echoed the man from the far end of the counter, “a lady that has Here come Santa Claus on her cell phone can’t turn down an invitation from him.”

Then to her shock, the man bellowed out “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Clause-” and everyone joined him.

Dropping her head in her hands, she couldn’t help but laugh. Finally, she threw up her hands toward the crowd and agreed. “Okay, okay, I’ll have dinner with him.” Turning to Santa, she noted a satisfied expression.

He leaned over, put an arm around her shoulder, and whispered close to her ear, “Meet me at Metish around eight. Will that give you enough time?”

“Yes, but-”

Standing, he turned to the customers and waved. “Thanks guys, it’s a date. Ho, ho, ho, and a Merry Christmas to all.”

With a twinkle in his eyes, he left her sitting there with a red face, a latte, and everyone clapping their hands.

I have so many wonderful Christmas memories that I have often started out writing a

Christmas story, until my characters head into a different direction. That’s what happened when I wrote Secret Past, A Yellow Creek Novel.

My family always went to my grandparents’ farm in Tennessee for Christmas when I was a child. To this day, the memories of so many special Christmases put a smile on my lips. They’re so dear to me since both my grandparents and parents are gone. In Secret Past, my character returns to her grandmother’s farm and while taking a journey through the past, she remembers a fun Christmas Eve spent at the farm. While there a vision of her grandmother appears…and, so, my story is off and running in a different direction. But, those Christmas feelings are still living within me to this day.

“Her feet seemed to be focus on a certain track as she gazed into the opening that once closed the large foyer off from the rest of the house. She glanced down as if to see the antique leather-bound traveling trunk her grandma used for all her good linen.

Sarah giggled, recalling the times she had sat on that old trunk while listening to the pitter-patter of rain on the tin roof. To this day, she loved the sound of a pounding rain on a tin roof.

Once again, she was a little girl, snuggled in her grandmother’s feather bed. Long ago on a special Christmas Eve, her mother had put her to bed, but Sarah had been too excited to sleep. Her eyes closed quickly though, when she heard Santa's sleigh bells. It wasn’t until years later, while a teenager that she had learned her dad had used grandpa’s cowbells.

As if in a trance, Sarah turned and floated into the living room, stopping short. A spirited, unearthly feeling washed over her. This was the room she had spent so many happy hours in with her grandparents.

While she stood in the mist of the rotten walls, a presence grew stronger. It was effortless to feel the warm glow of the woodstove and see her grandpa rocking while reading his Bible. She turned her gaze toward the kitchen door. Her eyes widened.

She chewed her bottom lip. If she didn't move or breathe…

Whether imagined, or not, the image of her tiny grandmother stood in the doorway. The same soft, gray eyes stared straight into hers, like so many years ago.

Sarah’s heart ran rapid.

The experience…so surreal, she stretched out her hand, wanting to touch her shiny white hair wound up in a figure eight, held in place with a hairpin. Her grandmother wore the familiar

long red and white apron, as if stepping from the kitchen.

Sarah was afraid to blink, much less breathe. She stood frozen in time.”

When visiting my family in Tennessee during the early 80’s, my sister, Sherry, gave me a recipe that I thought would make the best holiday cake ever. Now, twenty-five years later, I’m making the same cake for our Christmas dinner dessert. We make traditions sometimes that can last a lifetime. I would like to share my Christmas recipe with you…

Sherry’s Carrot Cake

2 cups of sugar

1 ¼ cups of vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 ½ cups cake flour

2 ¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 cups finely shredded carrots

3 ½ cups black walnuts

Combined sugar, oil, egg (one at a time) Mix well after each egg

Stir in carrots

Add nuts

Sift together: flour, baking soda, cinnamon

Stir into mixture

Pour into 3 greased 9 inch round cake pans

Bake 30-35 minutes


Cake Icing

1 8oz package cream cheese – softened

1/4 cup butter – softened

1 lb box soft confection sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoon lemon juice

Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth

Add sugar, gradually mixing

Stir in lemon and vanilla

If frosting seems too soft – refrigerate for a few minutes

I decorate our entire house for Christmas and I start at Thanksgiving. My husband drags the Christmas tree from the storage area and sets it up in the living room. We don’t decorate the tree, but always have the lights on for Thanksgiving dinner which adds to the festive atmosphere. Once Thanksgiving dinner is over, I sat back, relax, have a glass of wine, and watch the grandkids decorated the Christmas tree. My hubby likes that tradition. They always do a beautiful job, with their parent’s help of course, or else, only the bottom half of the tree would be decorated. I put up two more trees the next day and by the weekend I decorate the rest of the house, including the bathrooms. I would love to hear from you at and please visit my website:

This has been fun Tonya and I appreciate the chance to share my love for Christmas. I

wish you all a blessed Christmas season.

1 comment:

  1. I think decorating the tree with the grandkids is a lovely tradition. When our children were younger they loved to put their own ornaments on the tree.
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