Monday, October 11, 2010

Week #3 in The 12 Books of Christmas Giveaway: A Door Country Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

Week #3 already in the 12 Books of Christmas, can you believe it? Me, neither! We're down to only about 9 weeks until Christmas. Wow!

I know you'll enjoy this week's giveaway, A Dorr County Christmas, offered by Cynthia Ruchti. I had the pleasure of meeting Cynthia at the 2009 ACFW conference and I can't tell you how sweet and just plain real she is. She is an amazing ACFW president and a beautiful person.

Here's a brief bio:

Cynthia Ruchti writes and produces a 15-minute drama/devotional radio broadcast The Heartbeat of the Home. She is the current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her debut novel--They Almost Always Come Home (Abingdon Press) released in May. A Door County Christmas released September 1. She lives in the heart of Wisconsin with her plot-tweaking husband, not far from her three children and five grandchildren.

Visit Cynthia online at:


Favorite Christmas carol: Traditional: O Come, All Ye Faithful; Modern: Mary, Did You Know?

A family Christmas tradition: Dad had a habit of waiting until Christmas Eve to go shopping for Mom. So we kids held our breath waiting to see what he found at the gas station or hardware store. One year he bought and wrapped a hockey puck, just to throw her off. Something she could never guess. She was surprised, all right. None of us can remember what he REALLY gave her that year. We only remember the hockey puck.

A memorable gift you've given or received: When microwave ovens were a brand new concept, mysterious, only slightly smaller than a stove, and cost $300 for a simple model, my mom (who must have gotten some kind of inheritance we didn't know about) gave each of her five grown children a microwave. Their first. We have a picture of my then 8-year-old daughter and me opening the huge package together and finding not our normal Christmas pajamas but nuclear technology!

Favorite Christmas television show or movie? I suppose it's obvious I write women's fiction if I cry at Cindy Loo Who's soliloquy in "The Grinch." The "Charlie Brown Christmas" is always a favorite, too.

When do you start your holiday shopping? I used to take great joy-bordering-on-pride over finishing my Christmas shopping before the start of the school year. Those days are gone. I pick up things throughout the year, but have let my schedule infringe upon my original good intentions about being organized in September, purchasing in October, wrapping in November, and done before the first of December. But...I do not shop on Christmas Eve!

Ever been kissed under the mistletoe? Every time my husband and I walk under the bunch that hangs in the doorway between our dining room and family room. High traffic. :)

Do you deck the halls in style or keep it simple? We could probably live in a smaller house if we didn't need storage for the Christmas stuff. Some years, I decorate glitzy. Sometimes rustic, which fits better with the northwoods lodge decor in my family room. One year, my daughter and I thought it would be cute to decorate the tree with teddy bears, but the only small stuffed teddy bears we could find were wearing satin and lace angel outfits. We wanted Christmas in Wisconsin. So we ripped off their angel costumes and knit sweater vests and scarves for dozens and dozens of stuffed bears. I embroidered snowflakes on some of the vests. We're talking four-inch bears, so you can imagine the size of their winter-wear! By the time we were done knitting, my daughter and I laughed at our obsession with the project. She mentioned something about hand-painting little wooden magnet train cars this year.

What food do you overindulge in during the holidays? I have to eat gluten-free, so most Christmas cookies and other goodies are out. But a friend of mine makes the best peanut brittle. If it's not that, it's good, high quality toffee.

Favorite recipe to share?

Good Enough to Gift Caramel Corn:

Melt 2 sticks of butter (real butter) in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add 1/2 c corn syrup and 2 c brown sugar. While that blends and comes to a boil (for 5 minutes, stirred frequently and watched carefully), microwave two bags of popcorn, one at a time. Dump the popcorn into a massive bowl, then lift handfuls of it into another massive bowl so the old maids fall out to the bottom of the first bowl. Discard old maids (resist the urge to explain).

When the sugar/butter mixture has bubbled hard for five minutes, remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1/2 tsp of baking soda. Watch it foam. Pour over popcorn. Stir very carefully as the caramel will be screaming hot. Coat popcorn as evenly as possible. Let cool just enough to eat without burning something. Yum.

Now for the giveaway! Here's a blurb about Cynthia's book, A Door County Christmas:

A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS is a novella collection from Barbour Publishing with ACFW authors Eileen Key, Rachael Phillips, Becky Melby, and Cynthia Ruchti. Peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?

In Cynthia's novella, "The Heart's Harbor," Amanda Brooks escapes Chicago, hoping for a quiet getaway. In one jaw-dropping moment, she's drafted into managing the Heart's Harbor Victorian Inn and its legendary Christmas Tea. Quirky guests, a bare-bones budget, and the innkeeper's exasperating son make her wonder if Christmas and love have anything in common.

Leave a comment on this blog post to be automatically entered in this giveaway. 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 15th. 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.**


Cara Lynn James said...

I love Christmas books and would love to read Cynthia's. I remember how my uncle used to shop on Christmas Eve and drive my aunt crazy--and everyone else too.

Cara Lynn James said...

I forgot to leave my addy:

caralynnjamesat yahoo dot com.

Christina said...

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. I find the spirit in people is so much nicer than any other time of the year. My Daddy use to say "Christmas should be everyday of the year". That feeling of warmth and kindness! The wonderful birth of our Saviour and coming King! All the new Christmas books coming out just make me want to have Christmas everyday! In my heart Christmas lives there!

Wendy said...

Fun interview. But I don't like knowing there is 9 weeks until Christmas!

Jennee said...

oh cactus? I never thought much about a cactus blooming...

jenneethompson@ yahoodotcome

Jo said...

I love reading Christmas stories. They are always so much fun to read. Please enter me in the giveaway.


Anne Payne said...

The Caramel Popcorn recipe sounds really good. I'll have to give it a try this year. Love Christmas books. Can't wait to read this one.


Cynthia Ruchti said...

I had a moment of panic, readers, thinking I'd left off a major element in the recipe, since I wrote it from memory. But I checked my faded, butter-stained recipe card this morning and was right. The only thing to note is that if you only make air-popped popcorn, you'll need to add 1 tsp salt to the sugar mixture. This book--four romantic comedies--was fun to write. We authors hope it will be as fun for you to read!

Cynthia Ruchti said...

Can't wait to see who shows up during the 12 Books of Christmas blog adventure!

Charity said...

Please enter me:) I would love to win this book. Thanks!


Debra Collins said...

I just love to curl up in front of the fireplace at christmas time with a good book, and "A Door Country Christmas" sounds like it's going to be a good one! And, the Carmel Popcorn as a added treat...yum!
Thanks for the opportunity on a chance to win a copy.


tammy said...

Christmas stories are my favorite,and this one sounds great!The popcorn sounds really good too.

cheryl Klarich said...

I am a hopeless Christmas addict! Love all things Hallmark and Lifetime for Women...

Great interview!!

cherbleusky/at/yahoo/dot com.

Gail P Smith said...

Hi Cynthia,
Please feel free to post this info on our Christmas Miracles FB page. (I'm sharing it today.)
Great interview and the recipe made me long for Caramel Corn!
The book looks soooo good. I love Christmas books, too!

Gail P Smith said...

Sorry Linda, I forgot to add my address, too.
And please feel free to post on our Christmas Miracles page on FB.!/pages/Christmas-Miracles/176697121959

Merry said...

I'm a teddy bear fan, so the tree with teddies in sweaters sounds so fun! I'd love to be entered for A Door Country Christmas. Thanks.

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

I'm having a hard time picturing only 9 weeks left too! I actually can't wait! Maybe it's because I love the decorating, baking, and celebrating. Or maybe it's because my daughter and her hubby will be home to join us and her two brothers.

Anonymous said...

Would love to read this one...please enter me. Thanks!!!

Ivy said...

Haha, that picture on the cover looks just like my friend who's from Wisconsin! Weird coincidence.

My email is ivystrader at yahoo dot com.

Cynthia Ruchti said...

Oh, this is fun hearing from everyone. Yes, do try the caramel corn recipe. Warning: Can be addicting. But as you can see, it helps support the dairy industry! The Christmas addict will appreciate the fourth novella in the collection. Becky Melby's main character is hopelessly Christmasy. :)

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cynthia Ruchti said...

All this talk about Christmas made me start my Christmas list today. My grown son said, "Well, put down my traditional jeans and...oranges." He knows we're cutting back this year due to economic need and remembers that I tuck an orange into everybody's stocking toe. Won't this be a fragrant and fun Christmas? Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Renee said...

Looks like a fun read! I'd love to be entered in the drawing! reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Ann Lee Miller said...

I've never been to Door County and would love to read stories set there.

Theresa N. said...

Sounds like a great story I especially like the Victorian Inn and Tea.
Theresa N

Cynthia Ruchti said...

I've always had a secret desire to renovate a Victorian Inn. How much fun it was to live the experience of running the Inn (with through Amanda. I so appreciate the bed-and-breakfast atmosphere when I have a rare getaway. I can picture myself in Amanda's shoes...but I'm probably more like Lola in real life...trying to navigate wearing swim goggles that don't belong on my face!Thanks for your comments. See you in the pages!

Stephanie Craig said...

Nine weeks until Christmas? Yikes! I saw this book at the store and almost bought it, but had to put it on my wish list. I like the Barbour Christmas stories; they put me in the holiday mood.

Stephanie Craig

robert said...

An interesting post. Your favourite carols especially caught my eye. If I may, for a moment, shamelessly promote my book, Discovering the Songs of Christmas, both of the songs you mention are in there, with the story behind their writing.

If you don't have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at mine. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)