A Crime for Christmas?
Is it too early to start talking about holiday stories? Not if you’re trying to write one!
Every year I notice something. There are a buttload of Christmas titles released. Not only are they released, they SELL. Check the New York Times Bestseller lists for November and December. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Too lazy? Me too. Here are the holiday themed titles in mass-market paperback for the week of December 2 of last year. Full list here.
#7 MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS, by Robyn Carr. (Harlequin Mira, $7.99.) Patrick Riordan and Angie LeCroix thought they wanted to be left alone in Virgin River this Christmas — until they meet each other.
#9 1225 CHRISTMAS TREE LANE, by Debbie Macomber. (Harlequin Mira, $7.99.) For Beth, a basket of puppies and a surprise visit by her ex-husband make this Christmas in Cedar Cove one to remember.
#10 A WINTER WONDERLAND, by Fern Michaels, Holly Chamberlin, Leslie Meier and Kristina McMorris. (Zebra/Kensington, $7.99.) Four new offerings about love, faith and Christmas mysteries.
#11 A LAWMAN’S CHRISTMAS, by Linda Lael Miller. (Harlequin, $7.99.) After entering a marriage of convenience with the newly widowed Dara Rose Nolan, Clay McKettrick longs to make her his permanent wife; includes a bonus story, “Daring Moves.”
#19 A ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS, by William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone. (Pinnacle/Kensington, $7.5.) Attempting to rescue their leader, outlaws cause a train accident in the Rockies. As the Jensens and MacCallisters frantically make their way to the scene, Matt Jensen struggles to help the survivors.
#27 THANKSGIVING PRAYER, by Debbie Macomber (Harlequin)
#29 A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS, by Lori Wilde (Avon/HarperCollins)
#31 I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, by Fern Michaels (Zebra/Kensington)
#35 A CHRISTMAS BRIDE, by Susan Mallery (Harlequin)
There are plenty of holiday-themed murder mysteries (you can find some here and here) but aside from last year’s Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, I’m not really seeing them on the best-seller lists. Honestly, they are mostly ‘cozy’ type murders, which I don’t really dig. “Heavens to Betsy, something’s wrong with the vicar! Have Cook fetch the constable!”
It’s mostly romance that does well–as is pretty much the same sad story in the book business. I love the holidays, but not enough to read these Christmas romances. Partially because a) I don’t read romance. and b) I’m terrified that anything with a holiday theme will be as syrupy and vile as “The Christmas Shoes.” Full disclosure, my whole family hates that song so hard we actually use it in place of waterboarding two months of the year. It’s sort of like a Rick Roll. Example: I call my son and tell him, OMG this is hilarious. You’re gonna die. Listen to this. And then I play Christmas Shoes and he cries out in anguish and maybe pees a little and I laugh and hang up.
But I digress.
Anyway, last year my first Lexy Cooper novel released in November and I joked around about doing a Lexy Christmas story. And then the idea started to make more sense as the year went by. Lexy #2 was delivered in June, and I immediately started writing #3. But then, I had the thought again: What if I really did write a Lexy Christmas story? It would give me a chance to draw on my experiences at video game company holiday parties which are CRAZY. And the Christmas holiday never fit into the time frame of the main novels. And I could test the short-story/novelette waters. And do some #3 foreshadowing…
So. Lexy 2.5 will be a Christmas story. The title is I saw Lexy Kissing Santa Claus because, well, that’s the kind of thing Lexy would do at her company holiday party. It’s not the kind of tale to be read aloud by the fire on Christmas Eve. Unless your family is super dysfunctional. There are no angelic visits, shepherds, or revelatory moments when a sinner becomes a saint or a Grinch’s heart grows three sizes. No heart-warming message here–just a tale of drunken debauchery and crime. With mistletoe!
The goal is to make the story available digitally around November 1. Knock on…a yule log.
Do you read holiday-themed books?