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.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

NOTE: the blog is currently dormant but please enjoy the posts we're keeping online.

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 25, 2017

Does your Christmas Tree Reflect your Reading Choices?

by Sandy Parks

Hardly a week goes past when someone, somewhere asks why people read “that” kind of book. It might be a romance reader wondering why anyone wants to read about how a killer dismembers a corpse, or a non-fiction reader commenting on space opera, or a thriller or literary fiction reader wondering why someone likes romance when they know there will be a happily-ever-after ending. For me, it’s reading or watching horror, which scares the heebee geebees out of me and gives me nightmares.
By Thomas Wolf (Der Wolf im Wald) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0
 (], via Wikimedia Commons
What does this have to do with Christmas trees, you ask? At the start of the holiday season, I noticed the wide variety of decorated trees in stores, at friends' homes, and pictured on the covers of magazines. Tons of ornaments in every shape, color, material, and size hung for sale in stores or lined the shelves. I found myself wondering, who would want particular decorations on their tree. It reminded me of similar comments I'd heard about books. Decorating your tree is as personal as selecting your reading material. So, before you put your tree away after the holidays, reflect for a moment on how your choices of things on your tree fits your taste in reading.

Is your tree color specific? Is it decorated in blues, silvers, and whites, or reds and golds to match your house décor? Blues in different shades indicate you are poised, complex, and passionate, like stability and things clean and tidy. If you’d risk putting glass or crystal on your tree, it's because you are in control (your cat might disagree). Does that fit with what you like to read? A mystery or detective crime story where the bad guy is caught in the end and mystery solved? Or any type book with a satisfying ending achieved by a strong protagonist.
What if you prefer a mishmash of colors or even atypical holiday colors like oranges and yellows? Those are fun-loving and intellectual colors. Lavenders and purples represent something creative and unconventional. Are your lights twinkling or changing colors or even multicolored? Or, are you like me, just thankful they light up at all. That could mean you are a risk taker who likes something out of the ordinary like science fiction, paranormal, urban fantasy, or romantic bad boys. Any motorcycles, planes, spaceships, or fast cars on your tree? You might be an adventurer and eclectic reader willing to try many types of books, or even a story with an ending that is left unresolved until the next book in the series. You might be okay with an unhappy or all too realistic ending.
An F-16 is fast.
Are you a traditionalist, with plaids, old fashion ribbons, and holiday greens that give off a fresh, living smell? These historical touches might aim you towards historical romance, historical fiction, or biographies about historical figures. Greens also are a peaceful color, often associated with those who are affectionate, loyal, and frank. You might prefer cozy mysteries, romance, or women’s fiction. You likely are a fan of a happy ending.
The drummer drums out traditional carols.

A dozen of these little socks were originally made
for gift decorations years ago.
A book with characters and plots is layered just like a tree. Some people like them simple and others crave complexity. For example, you start with the tree (live or artificial). Then the lights of many shapes as well as colors are added. Are your lights steady and white or a LED spectacular light show? Next, garlands like ribbons, beads, or popcorn are added. Lastly are the ornaments. Are yours large and a color statement, or small with their own story to tell?

How do ornaments tell stories? Some are picked out of a store because the giver believes they fit a particular person (rather like how we follow characters in a series) or have music and lights that will delight their children (or themselves). What would your favorite character have on his or her tree? Any ornaments on your tree handmade for you by someone special or for a special occasion? Are your favorite characters down-to-earth or people who work with their hands?
Hand crafted by a friend to celebrate graduation from a special flight school.
Perhaps your tree and its ornaments come from someplace you or a loved one travelled. Do you like to read about adventure and travel?
My sister sent this from Paris.

A son sent one from the island of Palau.
Or maybe your ornaments represent an achievement like a university, or an award, or even a given profession. You likely would enjoy stories that combine history, mystery, science, and thrills like Dan Brown or John Grisham.
Many will find their tree is decked with something they are passionate about, like a sport, a team, or hobby. We have a special ornament celebrating the Cubs World Series win (understandable as it took over a hundred years). Are your favorite book characters passionate about something?
My hubby is passionate about his morning trip to Starbucks
for coffee and to read the news.
Or is your tree full of memories and things personal to your family, like kids ornaments or patriotic and religious sentiments? That might indicate you prefer stories about characters more than plot driven books.
Take some time to study your tree before you take it down and see if it really does reflect your reading choices. Mine, no doubt, shows an eclectic family and we call ours a memory/family tree. It has a little of everything from family to fun to good or poignant memories. Our lights shine steady. There are some breakables, many that have survived animals, kids, and the years. Our household reading habits are eclectic as well. We like true stories, non-fiction, and history, but like our fiction to have satisfying endings or a promise of a good ending with a series. We like science fiction, which is reflected by the aviation and space ornaments hanging on our tree. Crime thrillers and adventure novels are also big in our house, but we like our heroes and heroines intelligent and honorable even if a bit flawed.

Hope you are having a great holiday and find time to settle down with a good book. Let me know what you discover about you and your tree.

Sandy writes adventure thrillers and will soon be releasing the first three in a science fiction adventure thriller series called the Infinity Solution. Her website is


Lisa Q. Mathews said...

Love this post, Sandy! What a cool way to think about our tree choices.

Sandy Parks said...

Thanks, Lisa, for stopping by on the holiday. Hope you had a delightful Christmas and holidays.

Billie Jackson said...

I had never thought about it, but it is true that the traditionally leaning variety of ornaments does reflect my reading taste and reflected Mother's whose taste was similar to mine. Enjoyed the post.

Sandy Parks said...

Hey, Billie. Thanks for stopping by. My mom started giving me what she read when I was a teenager as we both had similar likes in our reading, too. Mom is still a huge reader and she proofs and gives editorial advice about my books now.

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