A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Monday, December 24, 2012

THE NIGHT BEFORE XMAS - with the NYUS authors

The authors of Not Your Usual Suspects share their holiday season with you! We wish all our readers, friends, family and colleagues - and people who are all of these *g* - the very best wishes for the season, and a sled-ful of luck, love, peace and success in 2013. We hope to share it all with you.  

Today we think about "The Night before Xmas...." 

What are your favourite rituals or routines to get ready for Xmas? Midnight Mass, putting up stockings, drinking a gallon of sherry, watching Jaws...whatever! Is it a lull before the storm for you - or the last panic? Share the news with us :)

Clare London
website | blog | facebook | twitter

Christmas Eve is the time to creep around in the afternoon doing my shift at Santa's Grotto - i.e. wrapping the presents behind closed doors :) - then in the evening, we toast the season with a glass of Kir Royale, hang the traditional stockings on our bedroom door(s), and try to get enough rest to face the long and over-exciting day ahead. What I love most is enjoying the mixed bunch of decorations on our tree - they come from all around the country, and the world, they're from differnt times of our lives, from friends and family, some made by the children, some from charity stalls, some from upmarket stores. It's the story each has to tell that's precious. This year, one of my best friends in the US sent me a decoration for the tree - she couldn't have chosen a lovelier gift! and it has pride of place.

Also this is the first year all the family are in the Adult bracket - Son#2 passed 18 this month - but we're still like giggly kids :). Last year, we all bravely stayed up to go to Midnight Mass among a rare sprinkling of snow (or it may just have been thick rain *g*), only to find it had been rescheduled to an earlier 9pm, because the church didn't think people could or would stay awake! Oh well - home again to more Kir Royale :)

Marcelle Dube

I love Christmas Eve. In my family, it’s the lull between the craziness of getting ready for Christmas and Christmas day itself. Christmas Eve is when my daughters and I cuddle up on the couch (usually under a warm blanket and accompanied by hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps) and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas – my all-time favourite Christmas movie. But it has to be the animated version, the one with Boris Karloff singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

Julie Wachowski

Our whole family (20+) gathers to share an enormous pot luck dinner, and then watch the kids open presents. Grown-ups pick names and are allowed to buy one gift with an iron-clad spending limit. The stories created to account for savage violations of the dollar limit are the best part of the night. (“It was double 50% off with a coupon at the after-midnight sale!”)

Jean Harrington

In the 19th century, my great grandparents immigrated to the US from Germany, bringing many Old World customs along with them. At Christms time, my mother recalled that her grandparents would set up a real fir tree in the front parlor, and the children in the family would festoon it with paper garlands and strings of cranberry and popcorn. Her grandfather would attached candles to the branches, taking care that each one had flame clearance above it. On Christmas Eve, the whole family would gather around the tree while grandpa carefully lit each candle. They would enjoy the glowing spectacle for ten or fifteen minute, and then he would carefully extinguish the lights. Oh, a very important part of the festivities was the bucket of water standing at the ready. Just in case.
pic courtesy of

Toni Anderson
Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Moving to Canada and leaving all our family behind meant we had to reinvent our Christmas rituals. Nowadays we head across to visit friends and have a sledding day. This can be good or bad depending on the windchill :-D I think the coldest we ever did it was about -40C and that was over PDQ :-) . When we get home we have mince pies and sherry and read 'The Night Before Christmas' in front of the fire.
Love it.

Anne-Marie Becker
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We set out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. We also read "Twas the Night Before Christmas." After the little ones have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, hubby (ahem, Mr. Claus) and I sneak off to have a glass of wine and watch "Die Hard," Trading Places," "A Christmas Story," "The Ref," or "Elf" (traditional Christmas movies, for sure) while we do the last-minute wrapping and assembling.

Elise Warner

Placing my red Snoopy candle holder on the piano surrounded by Christmas cards and notes from family and friends. An elf dangles his feet from the edge of the piano and a globe with drifting snow adds to the season's festivities.
pic courtesy of

Julie Moffett

When I was a child and with my children, we always open one present on Christmas Eve. It's so exciting. Then we have candlelight service at church and after we are home, we put out carrots for the reindeer and frosted Christmas cookies for Santa. No matter how hard we stayed up (or my kids try), they always fell asleep before Santa came. Sometimes before the present opening, we might watch a Christmas movie like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman.

Shelley Munro
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Christmas isn’t Christmas to me until I hear the song Snoopy’s Christmas sung by The Royal Guardsmen. This is my all-time favorite song. While searching YouTube I found this video.

Entries collected and posted by Clare - any pictures that haven't been provided by the authors have been chosen by me, and any queries about them can be directed here.


Marcelle Dubé said...

How wonderful to share Christmas Eve day with my NYUS friends! Thank you for collecting all the stories and sharing them with us, Clare. Merry Christmas, everyone!

JL MEALER said...


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