Monday, October 25, 2010

The 12 Books of Christmas Giveaway: A Prairie Christmas Collection

Week #5 already, can you believe it? WOW! I know you'll love the featured author this week, not to mention the wonderful Christmas book she's offering. Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to enter.

RAH RANEY is at work on her 20th novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Almost Forever, first in her new Hanover Falls Novels series, released in May from Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four grown children and two precious grandsons, who all live much too far away.

Visit Deb's website at:


Favorite Christmas carol: Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

A family Christmas tradition: One of our favorite Christmas traditions inspired my story in A Prairie Christmas Collection. When we eat out together after our Christmas shopping spree (see holiday shopping below) we pray for the Lord to send just the right server to our table who needs a blessing, then we tip him/her a $100 bill and quickly leave before the server discovers the bill.

A memorable gift you've given or received: My engagement ring! And our first grandbaby, born December 15 five years ago.

Favorite Christmas television show or movie? A Christmas Story ("I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!" "No, you'll shoot your eye out.")

When do you start your holiday shopping? I'm a terrible shopper and always put it off till the last minute. For many years when our kids were at home, our tradition was to have only small "stocking" gifts on Christmas morning, and wait until after Christmas to take our kids on a shopping spree when we could combine our money with the grandparents' gift money and take advantage of the after-Christmas sales. Then we'd all go out to eat together to give our "Christmas Tip."

Ever been kissed under the mistletoe? I hang mistletoe in the doorway between the laundry room and the kitchen every year, so there's a whole lot of kissing going on at our house around Christmas.

Do you deck the halls in style or keep it simple? Definitely keep it simple. We always have a Christmas tree, candles, mistletoe, and decorate the mantle, often hanging the stocking collection my aunt and nieces started for us the first year we were married. When the kids were small and money was tight, we would have a Snowflake Party early in December and cut out snowflakes to hang in the windows for decoration. But we've always kept Christmas on the simple side.

What food do you overindulge in during the holidays? Cookies of every kind, especially Jewel Cookies (recipe below.)

Favorite recipe to share?
Here’s a recipe that’s a Christmas tradition in my family. Some might think the recipe gets its name from the colorful egg yolk paint, but in fact, these cookies are named after Jewel Fuson, a sweet neighbor from my childhood (to whom I dedicated my novel A Nest of Sparrows). Though Jewel and her husband, Don, had no children of their own, Jewel used to invite all the children of our little farming community to “paint” and decorate cookies at her farmhouse every Christmas. After Don and Jewel moved into town, my sister and her family moved into their farmhouse, and my sister continued the tradition for her children and mine. Jewel often stopped by as an honored guest to eat cookies and sip hot chocolate, always poured from a musical teapot that played “Tea for Two.” Jewel was spunky into her 90s. She died a few years ago, but I think of her often––especially at Christmastime. My sisters and I inherited some of Jewel’s vast collection of cookie cutters, and that teapot has an honored place in my sister’s house.

Jewel Cookies
1 cup shortening

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk
5 cups flour
Edible Cookie Paint (recipe follows)
Colored decorating sugar

In a large bowl, cream together shortening, granulated and brown sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. When well combined, add eggs and mix well. With wooden spoon, add milk and flour alternately, mixing until dough is stiff. Chill several hours or up to one week before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Edible Cookie Paint (recipe below). Divide cookie dough into fourths. Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time (returning the remainder to the refrigerator), roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Paint cookies with Edible Cookie Paint and sprinkle with colored sugar before baking. Bake just until cookies begin to brown lightly around the edges, about 10-12 minutes. Baking time depends on thickness of cookie dough. For crisper cookies, roll thinner and bake longer, for softer cookie, roll thicker and reduce baking time.

Edible Cookie Paint:
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon water
Food coloring

In a small bowl, beat egg yolks and water until smooth and frothy. Divide into several small cups and add a different shade of food coloring to each until colors are dark “jewel tones.”

As an alternate to painting, cookies may be baked, cooled, and decorated with frosting and candy sprinkles.


In this holiday romance collection, the warmth of Christmas will radiate new love from the high plains of Minnesota and Dakota Territory, across the rolling hills of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, and down into the flats of Kansas. Filled with inspiration and faith, each story will become a treasure to be enjoyed again each year. Along with Peterson and Raney, other contributing authors include Tracey Bateman, Pamela Griffin, JoAnn A. Grote, Maryn Langer, Darlene Mindrup, Janet Spaeth and Jill Stengl.

Enter to win a copy of A Prairie Christmas by leaving a comment on this blog post. Be sure to leave your contact information so I can get in touch with you if you win.

Contest ends at midnight on Friday, October 29th. The winner will be announced in a brief post on Saturday.

**Contest disclaimer: Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents. Odds of winning depend on number of entrants.**


annc999 said...

Anything Christmas is GOOD! I would love to win this book.

Jo said...

I really love reading Christmas themed books.


BECKY said...

I would love to win!! Writergal53(at)aol(dot)com.

Diane said...

The recipe sounds different but yum. Congrats on your book! :O)

Debra Collins said...

Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love Christmas themed books.
I start reading them the day after Thanksgiving,and this one is at the top of my list.
Thanks for the opportunity on a chance to win a copy!


Joanne Sher said...

What a neat lady! This sounds WONDERFUL. Enter me please! joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

Carole said...

This collection looks like a great way to enjoy the inspiration of the Christmas season. Novellas seem to fit in well with my busy December schedule and I appreciate the chance to win A Prairie Christmas Collection.

We also keep our decorations simple, Deborah.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Charity said...

I love Deborah's books!! Please enter me:) Thanks so much!


rbooth43 said...

Do you believe it's almost Christmas time again. Time sure has gotten away from me this year. A Christmas themed book giveaway is awesome. A Prairie Christmas Collection sounds like a great read and thanks for the cookie recipe.
God Bless You!

Renee Ann said...

I loved A Vow to Cherish! Please enter me! reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

suburban prep said...

The book rings to someone in the Mid-West--me. I love the feeling that comes across during the Christmas season.

msgb245 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love all books with a Christmas story.

Thank you for this giveaway!


Catherine West said...

Cookies??? NO. Still trying to lose weight from sitting around the lake all summer!! haha. Oh well. It's probably a lost cause. How are you? Shoot me an email some time.

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

I've made cookies with the edible cookie paint! Don't know if it's the same as Deborah's, but the idea was, the cookies looked like little stained glass windows!


Elaine said...

I'd love to be the recipient of this book. elaines44(at)juno(dot)com.

Sandee61 said...

I'd love to read "A Prairie Christmas Collection"...please add my name to your giveaway list. Thank you for the recipe...I plan on trying them for the Holidays, my grandaughter comes here and we bake. I enjoyed Deborah Raney's interview too.



karenk said...

would love to read this christmas novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Kristy said...

I would love to win this..Thanks for the opportunity :)

kristy.nicole3712 at gmail dot com

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Ann Lee Miller said...

Please put my name in the hat.

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book to share with my granddaughter.

stephanie craig said...

Please enter me too


Deborah Raney said...

Can't wait to see who wins! Thanks for a great post, Lynda. :)

Lourdes said...

Good interview. I too can say that one of my best gifts was my first grandson in December 17 years ago.


Kristi Peifer said...

I'd love to read some authors that are new to me!


Deborah Raney said...

Congratulations, Sandee!

Anonymous said...

Please ewnter me in this contest, I love all stories connected to Christmas!