Good morning, friends! Is anyone having an “End of the World” party tonight? I, for one, am not worried that the earth will be hit by meteors or whatever the rumor. My Bible says that no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return, and He can’t come back to an earth that doesn’t exist. But in all seriousness, if you’re having a party, eat some cake for me. Or a brownie. Or both. So let’s look forward to Tuesday. Christmas really snuck up on us this year. How about you? Are your stockings filled with presents or will Santa be a busy guy on Monday evening?
One of our favorite traditions growing up was opening stockings on Christmas morning before tearing into the presents snuggled under the limbs of the live Douglas fir in our living room. Traditions are important, and today, I am pleased as Christmas punch to host award-winning author (and fabulous dresser–love the shoes!) Elizabeth Ludwig, as she shares some traditions (and a giveaway) with us.
12 Cozy Mysteries of Christmas – Louisiana Traditions
by Elizabeth Ludwig
Some traditions are so old no one remembers how they got started. Some are so special, the argument isn’t worth having anyway.
Ask the people who live in one of the many small towns lining the banks of the Mississippi River. They’ll tell you that most of life’s lessons aren’t taught at home or in the churches dotting every other corner of every other street. Some things you just know from the cradle and act accordingly.
For example, you know that if the automatic barricade swings down at the railroad crossing outside an oil refinery, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a train is coming anytime soon. Since holding up traffic is just plain bad manners, look both ways, and then drive carefully around the barricade. If you want to be really polite, have someone get out of the car and hold up the bar until another 5, 10 or 15 cars get across.
And even as a child you know that Papa Noel, known in some parts of the world as Santa Claus, cannot possibly find his way into this dark, swampy pocket of Earth unless you light a really big fire to help him find his way.
There is some disagreement as to whether lighting fires began as a beacon for Papa Noel or just to light the way for travelers going to midnight Mass. Either way, these bonfires are not your typical “let’s roast a marshmallow” blaze. They are carefully constructed towers, built around a frame of willow and covered with cane reed. It takes as long as a month to do it right, and most families begin work on Thanksgiving.
Then, about 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, after the sun has set in the low country, the towers are doused with diesel fuel and lit, lighting up the riverfront with the glow of hundreds of bonfires.
For Louisianans, however, the finale to this tradition isn’t watching the fires burn. No, the best way to enjoy this tradition is to dish up a spicy bowl of gumbo and wander from fire to fire. After all, isn’t being neighborly what Christmas is all about?
Author Bio: Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of No Safe Harbor, Book One in theEdge of Freedom series. Her work has also been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Elizabeth’s debut novel, Where the Truth Lies (coauthored with Janelle Mowery), earned her the IWA Writer of the Year Award. Her first historical novel, Love Finds You in Calico, California, was given four stars from Romantic Times. And her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership.
Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and two grown children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com.
‘Tis the season for a great whodunnit!
If you love cozies as much as we do, then you’re in for a holiday treat! From December 12 – 23, we’re giving away one cozy mystery EVERY DAY! So light the fireplace and grab a cup of hot cocoa, because you just may have a free cozy mystery coming your way!
HOW TO ENTER… There are two ways to enter:
1. Create a Pinterest Pinboard entitled My 12 Cozies of Christmas. Fill it with 12 Spyglass Lane titles that either you want to read, or have already read and love! Be sure to use the #12CoziesofChristmas hashtag in the description of each pinned book cover. People who create boards will have to leave a comment here with a link to their board for their board to be entered. One pinboard will automatically enter you in each daily drawing!
2. Tweet about Spyglass Lane mysteries. Simply Tweet about the giveaway or one of your favorite Spyglass Lane Mysteries or authors and include the #12CoziesofChristmas hashtag along with the www.spyglasslanemysteries.com link. You may Tweet as many times as you want each day! Only Tweets sent out the day of the giveaway will be considered for that day’s drawing.
Follow us on the Spyglass Lane blog, Twitter @SpyglassMystery or Facebook for the latest info on the 12 Cozies of Christmas giveaway! Each day, we’ll reveal which Spyglass Lane cozy mystery we’ll be giving away.
1. Each day, we will reveal which Spyglass Lane mystery will be given away that day
2. A “giveaway day” runs from 12AM EST to 11:59PM EST.
3. There will be one winner per day
4. Winners will be announced the following morning
5. A Pinboard (see rules above) counts as one entry each day of the giveaway. Tweets (see rules above) only apply to the day in which they were originally Tweeted. For example, if you send 10 Tweets on Thursday the 13th, you will be entered 10 times in that day’s drawing. But those Tweets will not apply to the next day’s drawing.
6. Winners will be chosen via Randomizer.org, with Tweets and Pinboards each assigned a unique number
7. Winners will be announced via our blog, Twitter @SpyglassMystery or Facebook. Winners will be contacted via email or social media. If a winner does not hear from Spyglass Lane, they may contact us at SpyglassLaneMysteries (at) gmail (dot) com.
8. Winners will receive their prize in the form of a Smashwords coupon that they can redeem at Smashwords.com. Smashwords accommodates all ereader devices, though it may require the device to be directly connected to a computer for proper download.
9. The same person may win more than once!
10. There is no entry limit 11. Participants are expected to play nice! Inappropriate behavior (including but not limited to foul language, bullying, trolling, arguing) will not be tolerated and Spyglass Lane reserves the right to exclude such people from these and future giveaway.
**Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.