Sunday, December 2, 2018

Christmas on My Heart: "Sugarplums and Second Chances: A Lake Endwell Romance" by Jill Kemerer

Switch It Up This Christmas

A guest post by Jill Kemerer

Happy jingles fill the air, and snow falls gently to the ground. Commercials tug at our heartstrings as they show joyful family reunions. Christmas is coming!

My new Christmas novella, Sugarplums and Second Chances, just released. I love writing Christmas stories. This one is set in fictional Lake Endwell, Michigan, and both the main characters are facing very different holiday seasons from what they’re used to. Courtney Trudesta not only lost her beloved husband a few years ago but she also recently lost her mother to cancer. Chase McGill just spent three years in prison for attempting to avenge the murder of his son’s mother. He’s filled with regrets and not sure how to move forward. Neither Courtney or Chase know what to expect this Christmas, but I can’t say the same for myself.

I keep our family’s Christmas traditions alive and well each year, but I can abuse them, too!

Does this sound familiar?

You get out your Christmas decorations and place them around the house in the same spots as you did last year and the year before…

When your family asks what you’re having for the big Christmas dinner, you list off the exact items of last year’s meal.

On the first Saturday in December, you jump in the car to drive around to see the lights. And if the lights seem familiar, they are. Because you drove around the same neighborhood as you did last year and the year before…

The cookies you bake are the same ones you bake every year, too. Ditto for the Christmas movies on television. Let’s face it, you could recite It’s a Wonderful Life word for word!

And we wonder why it all feels a tad dull…

Traditions are great. I personally love baking peanut blossom cookies every year and watching White Christmas for the umpteenth time. But when I go on autopilot with everything related to Christmas, I don’t enjoy it as much.

To keep Christmas feeling…well…Christmas-y, try switching it up!

Last year, my husband and I opened our bins of decorations, and we just couldn’t do it. We’d had the same tired ornaments and candles for twenty years! It was time to switch it up. We headed to HomeGoods and bought new things for our mantel. Every time I sat down in our living room, I smiled at the pretty display.

When I bake, I still make our favorite cookies, but I try one or two new recipes as well. Some are keepers, and others aren’t. It’s fun to sneak new treats into the rotation.

One year on Christmas Eve, we hiked at a local park and stared in awe at two deer standing in the fresh snow. I’ll always remember the quiet peacefulness of that Christmas Eve. We don’t have moments like those very often.

If you always go to the Nutcracker ballet, by all means, go! But if you want to skip this year and attend an orchestra instead, it might be just the change you need.

Other ways to switch it up are really easy. When I start to feel stressed out or stale from Christmas prep, I buy myself a decadent coffee drink and people watch at the coffee shop. Or I head to one of the local libraries and browse their children’s book section. Checking out a stack of beautiful picture books reminds me of how much I enjoyed them as a child. I also like to spread out a difficult jigsaw puzzle right before Christmas break. The whole family adds to it here and there, and it takes us days to finish it. I buy new puzzles to keep it fresh, but if we get bored of those, we’ll find a different activity to replace it.

One thing I’ve learned? Just because you always do it, doesn’t mean you always have to!

Find ways to make this Christmas extra special and meaningful for you. And don’t be afraid to switch it up! You might find you like your new way better!

Author Bio:

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of inspirational romance novels through Harlequin Love Inspired

Her essentials include coffee, M&Ms, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children.

Please visit her website,, and sign up for her newsletter.

Book Blurb for Sugarplums and Second Chances:
Are some mistakes beyond redemption?

When former NFL star, Chase McGill, invites Courtney Trudesta, the widow of his former teammate, to spend Christmas with him and his son in Lake Endwell, he simply wants to repay her for the weekly letters she sent while he was in prison.

He didn't expect to fall for her.

Chase regrets his past and knows it will take more than sugarplums and wishful thinking to heal Courtney's lonely heart. But with a dose of small-town charm and plenty of Christmas cheer, they might have a second chance at happiness...with each other.

Buy Jill's book on Amazon

Connect with Jill:
Facebook -
Twitter -
Instagram -
Pinterest -

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Your book sounds great and I love your thoughts on how traditions are great--until they aren't!

  2. Thank you so much, Glynis! And isn't that the truth? Traditions are great until they aren't!

  3. I have not read this one yet, BUT it is on my TBR list. My husband says I have to wait to buy it until my list shrinks a little bit.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.