Christmas Traditions—Decking the Halls

Holiday traditions are as wonderfully diverse as the families who practice them. In conjunction with my new release Bear Creek Christmas, allow me to share some of mine!


The following excerpt is taken from my new release, Bear Creek Christmas.

Levi opened the box from home and took out some strange looking do-dads and funky homemade ornaments—all bearing the marks of time and frequent handling. Knox pointed to a particularly homely configuration of popsicle sticks, glued together in the approximate shape of a star. It had been spray-painted gold and then covered with glitter, topped with a bright red loop of yarn.

Levi couldn’t quite reach the top, so Knox picked him up to hang the gold star where it belonged. He received a kiss for his trouble, and they began placing the other items from the box. Afterward came the new decorations: balls, bows, ice crystals, candy canes, sleds, and several tiny teddy bears. Lastly, Levi spread the bright red tree skirt around the stand and snapped a photo.

Knox hung the stockings on the mantle and the pinecone wreath on the front door, while Levi found places for the knick-knacks, scented candles, and the centerpiece for the dining table. The holiday hand towels went up in the bathroom and kitchen, leaving only the garland, twinkle lights, and mistletoe.

The mistletoe came last since Levi knew Knox would be distracted by the kissing part of the project. By the time they finished, Levi wouldn’t be able to move more than ten feet before passing underneath a bunch of mistletoe—exactly what Knox wanted. It took a lot of snogging to complete the job, though neither of them minded.


My parents spent more on gifts than decorating, which we certainly appreciated as kids. Mom still made an effort to dress up the house for the season, and it all started with the tree. Dad always bought a real one and brought it home on the top of the car. No one ever went with him for this important purchase, probably so he could get in and out without delay.

My sister Lynn was their first child, born on December 17th. I’m not sure why, but mom decided that all things Christmas would begin on that day every year. Lynn even got a tree-shaped birthday cake, which she thought was so cool!

Once dad got the tree in the house and set up in a stand, he disappeared and let mom direct the decorating. She did the lights first, which for many years were the large (and hot) old-style bulbs. I still like them better than the tiny lights we use now, but they were a fire hazard and often left large sections of the tree without lights if one of the bulbs burnt out.

After that, we put up the glass ornaments; fragile and easily broken but oh so pretty.

There were other decorations, such as the ones we made in school or store-bought baubles of various kinds. The tree-topper changed over the years from gold glass to fabric angels.

Tinsel came last and it was the REAL THING, made of thin strips of aluminum foil. Mom tried to make us slow down and do it right, but we were always in a hurry to get it done. The foil easily creased and tore, and sometimes showed up as big blobs here and there.

The final touch was the red tree skirt which mom wrapped around the base and then placed the Nativity set front and center.

Afterward, we sang some carols around the finished tree and checked every day for the appearance of wrapped gifts.

The rest of the house wasn’t entirely ignored. Stockings were taped to the living room bookcase and garland wrapped around the staircase railing. Mom hung up a few sprigs of plastic mistletoe and there was always a festive wreath on the front door.

Two round glass jars filled with red silk balls and holly made an appearance too. On Christmas day, mom brought out a poinsettia tablecloth for the meal, but I don’t recall any centerpieces or other bric-a-brac.

Even the second floor got a bit of cheer with holiday coloring book pages taped to bedroom doors.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things, but too many years have gone by. Thanks to my parents, Christmas was always a special time and the good memories live on.

Your turn to share. Please tell me what you and yours do for the holidays!

Christmas Traditions—Sweets and Treats (holiday snacking at its finest)

Holiday traditions are as wonderfully diverse as the families who practice them. In conjunction with my new release Bear Creek Christmas, allow me to share some of mine!


The following excerpt is taken from my new release, Bear Creek Christmas.

Knox produced matching holiday aprons from one of the bags, and they got busy. Levi turned on the radio for background music, and they started churning out pan after pan of lightly browned pine trees, stars, bells, and other familiar shapes. The cabin soon filled with the sweet butter and sugar aroma of fresh-baked cookies. Per Knox, any broken or defective ones were immediately eaten as a part of “quality control”.

The delight on Levi’s face was obvious as he relived happy memories of doing this with his family, and they began decorating the cookies with frosting, colored sugar, sprinkles, and nonpareils. They decided to give away the best ones and keep all the boo-boos to eat—though if Knox kept chowing them down like popcorn, there wouldn’t be any left at all. But, it didn’t matter because they were having fun and making memories of their own.


Aside from store-bought candy, our holiday included cookies and other treats. My mother went all-out for Christmas, providing us with a steady supply of snacks that only showed up in December.

As mentioned in the above quote, sugar cookies were one of the things we got to help make and decorate. The mouthwatering aroma was distinct and provoked memories of warmth, family, and good times. Mom would roll out the dough and bring out a set of well-used aluminum cookie cutters in basic shapes: bells, balls, stars, and pine trees. After they cooled, we slathered on colored powdered-sugar frosting—concerned more about taste than presentation.

Other yummy seasonals appeared, including fudge with walnuts, divinity, snowballs, thumbprint cookies, meringue cookies, glass candy, peanut brittle, and popcorn balls. Despite the long list, I’ve probably forgotten some things. Another classic for us was an extra-large box of Russel Stover candies that included a “map” of what each variety was by its location in the box. The chocolate/caramel turtles always disappeared first, and nobody liked the ones with coconut.

The box I remember was a LOT bigger than this!

Two things come to mind as I reminisce. First, how did my mother find the time to make all this stuff for a household of thirteen? Second, I’m horrified by the amount of white flour, sugar, corn syrup, and margarine we consumed every year. I set aside those unhealthy eating habits long ago, but the dangers weren’t known or discussed back then. Still, the memories are worth savoring, and I lived to tell the tale.

Your turn to share. Please tell me what you and yours do for the holidays!

Christmas Traditions—Stockings (where they go and what to put in them)

Holiday traditions are as wonderfully diverse as the families who practice them. In conjunction with my new release Bear Creek Christmas, allow me to share some of mine!


Taken from chapter 20 of Bear Creek Christmas

“At length, Knox and Levi got up, turned on all the colored lights, and made a fire in defiance of the still-raging storm. Levi tuned in to some holiday music, and they teamed up to prepare a breakfast featuring banana walnut pancakes. Thus fortified, the giddy lovers returned to the living room to begin their celebration. First, Levi took the filled Christmas stockings from the mantelpiece, handing one to Knox.

“What’s this?”

“Our family has always filled them with candy and small gifts, but you can’t have any until Christmas Day. Next year, you get to decide what goes in them.”

They poured them out on the sofa cushion and began comparing and trading. Knox exchanged some of his licorice for chocolate, while Levi traded a keychain for emoji stickers. The rest went back inside the stockings, which were re-hung on the mantle.”


I came from a large family, and each of us had our own Christmas stocking emblazoned with our name. (There was less pilfering this way if you were dumb enough to leave it laying around!) They got ratty and soiled through the years but no one seemed to care. If I recall correctly, they were store-bought and made of green or red felt. After we all grew up and moved away from home, my mother began creating beautiful hand-quilted stockings for her grandchildren.

While tradition says you’re suppose to hang them on the mantle (providing the North Pole invader easy access), our home didn’t have a fireplace when I was young. This created two very serious questions in my young mind: how did Santa get inside the house without a chimney, and where were we supposed to hang the stockings? My mother told me in all seriousness that Santa simply used the back door to get in, and no, he did not need a key. She also said he knew exactly where to find our stockings—taped to the shelves of a built-in bookcase in the living room where the tree was set up.

We always hung the stockings on the same day we decorated the tree—December 17th, which was my oldest sister’s birthday. There they remained, empty, until late on Christmas eve when mom filled them with candy of all kinds, along with the largest oranges she could find. Evidently, this was one her own traditions, having grown up during the depression when fruit was a little easier to afford than gifts.

Our stockings were the first things we grabbed after being allowed to go downstairs on Christmas morning; mom’s warning not to eat it all ringing in our ears. I don’t recall much in the way of toys or non-edible things—it was all fuel for the coming sugar rush. My favorite was the round balls of chocolate, about the size of marbles and wrapped in bright colored foil. I never did like the traditional hard candies like ribbons, though peppermint candy canes were a welcome treat. We often traded with our siblings, looking for a better deal or just more chocolate.

Your turn to share! Do you hang stockings? Where? If you fill them, what goes inside?

The Writing of Abundant Moon

I never intended to write this story. Book three of the series was supposed to be Forbidden Moon, written right after publishing book two in February of 2019. I hadn’t counted on the mental fatigue resulting from an arduous writing journey of nine long months. In short, I was sick of the series and desperately needed to do something else for a while.

I’d been toying with the idea of trying my hand at short stories and had a really cool idea regarding a little orphan boy and a dragon. Just what I needed – something quick and different to focus on before diving back into the series, right? Nope. The sneaky little kid and his dragon friends got into my blood and I couldn’t stop writing! The result? A five-story collection published as Rise of the Draman in April of 2020!

Meanwhile, 15 months had gone by and I’d been receiving polite demands from readers, pleading for book three – the one I should have published already. What to do? If Forbidden Moon also took nine months to write and publish, my readers would have skinned me alive! I decided on a shorter, interim story to plug the gap, and then start working on the full length novel I’d promised so long ago.

After rereading books one and two, I decided to write about the birth of all the babies conceived towards the end of Traitor’s Moon. Perfect! Throw in a romance with a new character and you have Moon Pups – Book 2.5. However, once I got working on the manuscript, the story developed into a novel of its own! So, I changed the name to Abundant Moon, designated it as the new book three, and buckled down to write the thing as fast as I could. Three months from beginning to end is warp speed for me, and required many changes and personal sacrifices to get it done.

Part way through the manuscript, I hit a bump in the road which slowed me down. It also scared me! At first, I wasn’t sure I could fix it without starting over completely. You see, Robert’s character, who is involved in the major romance of the story, simply wouldn’t work the way I’d planned. He needed drastic changes to his personality, career, attitude, and integration into the pack. A ripple effect caused adjustments to other story threads, requiring a lot of rewriting. I’ll admit, the end result is much more pleasing and fits the overarching idea of the book better.

This story was intended to be less heavy and emotionally charged than the first two books, allowing Gladstone a bit of a breather. My characters and their experiences needed to match the happier themes of family, pups, and new mates. Fortunately, balancing this with essential drama and action wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be, and the book contains all the elements my readers have come to expect. The wild journey between books two and three is one I wouldn’t enjoy repeating, though I’m happy with Abundant Moon and believe my readers will be too.

NEW RELEASE! Expectant Moon

My latest book, Expectant Moon, is now available for purchase! Order from Amazon


Take a look at what others are saying:

“Expectant Moon is everything a great shifter romance novel should be. Steamy scenes, fantastic drama and some very surprising new ideas. I loved this book and look forward to the second installment. This is a series I already know I will be rereading multiple times.”

“Wonderful! Elliott introduces new ideas to the shifter genre and does it quite successfully, and I would love to meet some of the characters in person. It was a joy to read and I am anxious to get my hands on the next one!”

“Love, love, love it!!! Hurry up and write the next one!”

“Once again Alexander Elliott has created a world full of people I want to know, and a story I don’t ever want to end. The premise is completely plausible, the characters are robust and real, and the story line will grab you from the start.”



Tolerated. Ignored. Threatened. Modern gay shifters struggle for equality, but history paints a different picture. When Alpha Ben Blair challenges the status quo, he unintentionally ignites a controversy which divides the community.

While Gladstone soon becomes the focus of competing forces, Ben gains new allies who change everything: Evan Reid, a misunderstood Arctic wolf possessing unique gifts, and Jack Eby, an ancient shifter holding the key to their future.

Join the Gladstone shifters as they find love, acceptance and purpose in a time of monumental change. Expect the unexpected. Expectant Moon.

Notice: Contains male/male romance and sexuality. Recommended for readers 18+.


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