December is I :::Heart::: the Holidays month at my blog. During these next twenty-two days, besides the usual blog posts, I’m featuring authors who write holiday romance. Today, I have M Lee Prescott in the interview chair. We’re discussing A Horseshoe Cove Crab Christmas, book seven in the Morgan’s Fire series. Be sure to check out the excerpt.
1. What draws you to writing holiday romance?
M Lee: I love my writing about the Morgan family so much, I wanted to share how I imagine they would spend their Holidays.
2. How many holiday romances have you written so far? And which one would you recommend for readers to try, besides the one you are featuring? Feel free to leave a link.
M Lee: I have written one for each series, “A Valley Christmas” is part of my Morgan’s Run Series, and “A Horseshoe Crab Cove Christmas” is part of my Morgan’s Fire Series.
3. What do you like most about writing holiday romance?
M Lee: All of my books are, at their heart, about family and community. My holiday books give me a chance to introduce new characters while bringing couples from past books together as they celebrate their love for one another and their community. This is a lot of fun and delightful work!
4. What do you like least about writing holiday romance?
M Lee: The stories weave together many threads that, at times, feel as if they’re unraveling or are jumbled in giant ball of words. Bringing all the stories and characters together as a community celebrates the holidays is challenging, but ultimately, after lots of revising and untangling, very joyful.
5. What inspired you to write your featured holiday story?
M Lee: I love the village of Horseshoe Crab Cove. While it might be a product of my imagination, the characters are very dear to me and I wanted to give them – and my dear readers – some warm, wonderful holiday memories
6. If a reader asked you why they should read your holiday romance, what would you tell them?
M Lee: Grab your copy of A Horseshoe Crab Cove Christmas and rejoice with a loving community. — adults and children, couples and singles — in this beautiful snow-covered New England village. Hop on the sleigh and celebrate two holidays—your own and the one you share with the residents of Horseshoe Crab Cove!
7. Lastly, how are you going to spend the holidays?
M Lee: With my family. It’s a moveable feast. We go here, there, eat great food, exchange gifts and laugh and hug a lot!
Title: A Horseshoe Crab Cove Christmas
Series: Morgan’s Fire, Book 7
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 186 pages, 89,256 words
Heat Rating: 2 Flames
Publication Date: December 14, 2021
Publisher: Mt. Holly Press
A kindling of a new relationship and a mini baby boom bring joy and resonance to the season as Joe O’Leary makes the difficult decision to leave the priesthood. Will he find peace with his decision or regret it?
Blurb: As the village of Horseshoe Crab Cove sparkles, community members gather for sidewalk days, tree lighting on the Green and family parties. Join your favorite couples from earlier Morgan’s Fire stories — Lucy and Richard, Kyle and Harriet, Lolly and Jack, Sandy and Pam, Murph and Greta, Gail and Tim, and others – as these beloved characters celebrate birthdays, weddings, and the holidays.
A kindling of a new relationship and a mini baby boom bring joy and resonance to the season as Joe O’Leary makes the difficult decision to leave the priesthood. Will he find peace with his decision or regret it? Will he forge a path that is right for him and the people he loves? Give yourself a special gift and grab a copy of A Horseshoe Crab Cove Christmas to celebrate along with this vibrant, close knit community!
Christmas on Main Street was magical, its twinkling lights and wreath bedecked street lamps laced with snow. Light puffy flakes covered Joe’s hat and jacket, some settling on his eyelashes, blurring his vision. As he blinked them away, he wondered if he would ever see clearly again.
Two weeks earlier Father Joseph O’Leary, priest of St. Mary’s by the Sea, had walked away from his life’s work. He had loved the priesthood and saying goodbye had been excruciating, however, he knew with certainty that he wanted a different life, a spiritual life, but one that held the possibility of a wife and family. The dream was there and after two years of struggle, he knew he must act. Tonight geography was on his mind. He must move out of the parsonage to make way for Father Flynn. He didn’t know where life would take him, but right now, Bayport, home to St. Mary’s, might be too close. Hence his solo walk down the snowy street in Horseshoe Crab Cove. After grabbing a coffee at the Crab Café, he headed to the village’s community garden at the far end of Main Street. As he strolled, the soft light from the shops and their festive window displays warmed his heart. Such a beautiful season, he thought. So full of hope, beauty and mystery.
He sighed as he passed through the gate into Laura’s Community Garden. The raised beds were now covered with straw, ornamental cabbage and hardy spinach poking through their winter blankets. He’d visited the garden before and always found it to be a deeply spiritual place. Walking to the far end, he brushed snow from a teak bench and sat, surrounded by quiet.
As he sipped his coffee in the growing twilight, the snow let up and the lights draping garden fences and trees flickered on. Maybe I can make a home here, he mused, until I decide upon next steps.
An elderly couple strolled through the garden’s front gate and headed for a plot at the south end. They held tight to each other as they shuffled along finally pausing at a bed that appeared completely bare until the woman reached down then straightened up clutching a handful of rose colored blooms. She smiled offering them to her companion, his expression beatific as he stared at the flowers, then bent to kiss her cheek. As Joe watched, he realized that tears clouded his vision and streamed down his cheeks. Brushing them aside, he was surprised to see the couple approach.
“Good evening,” she said. “Lovely night, isn’t it? Nathanial, I believe we’ve found a kindred spirit who loves the winter garden as much we do.”
Joe stood, nodding to them. “It is, indeed, a beautiful spot. May I ask what those flowers are that bloom in the snow?”
“Our winter camellias,” she said. “My Nathanial’s favorite.”
Her companion remained silent, a slight smile on his face as his eyes darted about. Joe recognized the misty confusion of dementia and thought how lucky the man was to have such a loving companion.
“They are lovely,” he said.
She adjusted Nathanial’s brightly colored scarf and purple wool beret against the cold, then smiled up at Joe. “Do you live in the village?”
“Not yet. I live in Bayport, but I’m considering a move.”
“You won’t be sorry.”
“I expect that’s true,” Joe said, walking alongside them to the front gate.
“I’m Elizabeth and this is my husband, Nathanial.”
“Well, here we are,” she said, indicating a small sedan in the hardware store lot. “Can we offer you a lift?”
“Thanks, but my car’s just up the street.”
“Well then, goodnight Father Joe. I do hope you settle in our tiny piece of heaven. We will enjoy seeing you around town. Take care.”
With those surprising words, she turned and led her husband off, leaving Joe to stare after them. Small towns. Of course they’d have attended services at St. Mary’s over the years—weddings, funerals and such. He felt a twinge of guilt for not recognizing them. Perhaps without their winter clothes I’d have known them?
Joe made his way to the truck, tossing his empty cup into a sidewalk trash bin. Is that what I want? he mused, brushing snow from his front windshield. Loving companionship in my old age? Am I being selfish, abandoning my Lord and my congregation to serve my own needs?
I write romances, mysteries, and books for children and young adults. Among my titles are Prepped to Kill, Gadfly, Jigsaw, Lost in Spindle City and Poof! (Ricky Steele Mysteries), A Friend of Silence, In the Name of Silence, and The Silence of Memory (Roger and Bess Mysteries), Widow’s Island, Hestor’s Way, and Song of the Spirit. Song of the Spirit was a finalist The 2014 International Digital Awards for Historical Fiction for Young Adults. I am also the author of the popular Morgan’s Run romance series set in the U.S. southwest. This series begins with Emma’s Dream and nine books later, Gus’ Home. A spin-off series, Morgan’s Fire, set on the New England coast debuted in June 2019 with book #1– Lucy’s Hearth followed by Tim’s Hands and Pam’s Garden.
My “day job” is as a professor at a small New England liberal arts college. My scholarly work centers around social contexts within which children learn and I am the author of three works of nonfiction. My current research examines the impact of mindfulness on readers and writers, work that brings me tremendous joy and satisfaction.
I live on a beautiful river. When not teaching or writing, my passions revolve around family, yoga, swimming, walking, canoeing, and teaching mindfulness to people of all ages.
I love to hear from readers and always respond. I always appreciate followers on BookBub and Goodreads!