I’m delighted to introduce bestselling author and fellow esKape Press author Patricia Kiyono, here to talk about her new book, Christmas Wishes. I can’t wait to read it! Here she is:
I think most of us can look back at our childhood and name a time when we had a big dream for what we wanted to do with our lives. Perhaps you harbored a dream of becoming someone famous, or perhaps marrying into royalty. Maybe your goal was to travel in space or discover the cure for a devastating disease. I remember wanting to be an actress, with my name in lights. I could see myself in an elegant flowing gown, my hair perfectly coiffed, my adoring fans reaching out to me.
As we get older, our dreams change – most of the them, anyway. I learned to play clarinet and oboe and dreamed of playing in a symphony orchestra, traveling the world to bring joy to all who listened. Sparkly evening gowns gave way to black concert dress, and the audience applauded politely from their plush seats.
Sophie Gardner has a dream of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter and she has a plan to pursue it. But first, she has to help her sister, and that sister still lives in the small town where they grew up. Mitch Carson has a dream, too. He wants a quiet peaceful life for himself and his daughter. Christmas Wishes is about their journey to discover how they can mesh their opposing dreams with their desire to be together. They make some interesting discoveries about themselves along the way.
As for me, I got my dream of playing in an orchestra. After college, I returned to my hometown and I now play in a local community group. I don’t travel the world (not with this orchestra, anyway) and our venues are not internationally known. But my life’s journey has brought me to where I am, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
About Christmas Wishes
Photographer Mitch Carson is tired of big city life. He just wants to settle down in a quiet town with his daughter, Angie. Even that doesn’t quell his fear of losing his daughter to his scheming mother-in-law.
Sophie Gardner wants to be a screenwriter. She’s ready to leave small town Zutphen, Michigan and go to Hollywood. With a theater degree under her belt, she’s busy writing scripts while helping out her sister Joanie, who’s bedridden with a difficult pregnancy. Unfortunately, Joanie has somehow coerced Sophie into directing the Christmas pageant at Zutphen Community Church.
When Sophie and Mitch meet, the attraction is instant and mutual. But each wants what the other is trying to get away from. Can they deny their feelings and pursue their dreams? Or will the holiday prove to them that their true wishes might not be what they’d thought?
“You know, that’s the second time you’ve looked at me as if I’ve done something strange. Apparently, opening the car door for you isn’t normal, and neither is pulling out your chair. Is that not done in Michigan? Should I give up those habits?”
Mitch nearly jumped out of his chair at the force of her answer. And then he realized she hadn’t spoken alone. The barista who’d poured their coffee, as well as two other women seated in the cafe tables around them had echoed Sophie’s answer.
An elderly woman seated behind him tapped him on the shoulder. “Young man, you’ve been raised with good manners, and you should never give them up. If Sophie was surprised when you opened doors and pulled her seat out, it’s because she’s grown up with young boys who don’t know how to treat a lady. She deserves the best, so you just keep right on doing what you do.”
“Yeah, and maybe some of the men around here can learn something,” the barista added.
The other ladies in the area nodded in agreement. Mitch nodded too, his ears burning. He hadn’t realized his voice had carried and he murmured an apology to Sophie, who looked anything but embarrassed. She seemed fascinated with her coffee, having it raised to her lips, but her shaking shoulders told him she’d enjoyed his discomfort.
“Okay, I’m going to speak quietly,” he said through his teeth. “I’ve got my notes app open on my phone and whenever you’re done laughing, I’m ready to write down the names of those potential babysitters and their phone numbers, if you have them.”
Sophie set her cup down. Her twinkling eyes were all that remained of her laughing fit. “Right. There’s Brenda Lou Hodges, who lives around the corner from you…”
Mitch typed as quickly as he could. Before he knew it, he had a half dozen names of junior and senior high girls Sophie knew and trusted. The younger ones lived close enough to walk over if necessary.
“And if none of them work, there’s always me. Until Christmas, anyway.”
The phone dropped to the table. “Until Christmas? What happens then?”
“Hopefully I’ll be moving to Los Angeles.”
“Wh— oh, do you have a job lined up there?”
She faltered. “Not yet.”
“You have family there? Friends? A boyfriend?” Hopefully she hadn’t caught the crack in his voice at the last word.
“None of the above,” she answered. “Well, an ex-boyfriend, but that doesn’t count.”
“So, uh, what are your plans?” He gave himself another mental slap. Why did he always sound like his father when he was with her?
“I’m getting my portfolio ready, and I’ll be contacting agents soon. Hopefully I’ll be able to work on a show and write scripts. And eventually I’d like to write screenplays.”
“Oh, that’s — great,” Mitch finished. His stomach churned, and he placed his hand on it. Must be the omelet I ate this morning. Maybe I didn’t cook those eggs long enough. There’s no way I could be so worked up about her leaving. “Well, good luck with that.”
“Thanks. Well, thanks for the coffee. I’ve got to get this stuff home to Joanie.” She got up and started to push her cart toward the checkout lanes then turned back. “I’m serious about watching Angie. She’s a doll, and it would be no burden at all to take care of her. She pointed to his phone. “Take my number down, too.”
He complied, and then watched her hurry away.
It’s a good thing I hadn’t started investing any feelings in her, he thought. She’s leaving.
But deep down, he knew it was probably too late.
About Patricia Kiyono
In a previous life, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school students by day and changed diapers at night. Now she teaches college students part time and changes diapers only when she’s taking care of grandkids. She loves to do anything that doesn’t involve exercise. Right now her favorite activities, other than writing, include scrapbooking, sewing, and making music. She and her husband live in southwest Michigan, near their five children and nine grandchildren.
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