Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Holiday Romances

on November 13, 2021

This past week I took a great class with the Contemporary Romance Writers called, “Writing Holiday Romance,” taught by Robyn Neeley.

We did fun writing exercises with our opening lines, brainstorming lists of holiday activities and talking about snow in holiday stories.

I have written two holiday romances, very short novellas, that were published by Books to Go Now years ago called, New Year Heart Song and Love’s Christmas Gift, both which are no longer available.

Most romance authors have at least one holiday story, if not many, and about a year ago it came up in my writer’s sprint group that I did not have a holiday story published. Over the last year, I’ve been working on mainly my children’s stories with the publication of Some Stories Are Not Seen and the Kindle Vella, World is a Sniff.

In my Monday night writing sprint group, I’ve been working on drafting a rom-com about a quirky beach town and all the eccentric characters who live there.

So for my holiday romance class, I decided to return to my Cranberry Bay series.

In class, I posted my opening lines to a holiday novella, Sweetheart Santa, that I’ve had rolling around in my head for awhile for a holiday story in my Cranberry Bay Series.

Ivy replaced a light-bulb inside the body of the vintage, plastic Santa and tucked it into a box filled with three foot Santas. Every year helping the town’s home owners get ready for the annual historic holiday homes tour was one of Ivy’s favorite Christmas jobs. at the antique shop. The holiday homes tour was a fundraiser for the town’s historic train that on Christmas Eve turned into a Santa Train with hot cocoa and children bundled up in sleeping wear, all in the hopes of traveling to the North Pole to see Santa. Ivy wrapped a cord around a small tabletop lighted Santa and chuckled at the small bite on Santa’s beard. Her year-old Springer Spaniel sprawled across his bed under a roll top desk. He had been both a blessing and terror in the last six months, trying her patience with his constant chewing and bringing her laughter and joy with his puppy charm.  

Bells chimed as the door to the Red Door Antiques opened. “I’ve got room in the truck for one more box,” Josh’s blue eyes sparkled and his Santa hat tilted at an angle.  He grabbed a frosted tree cookie from the china plate on the counter.  Sasha and her son Tyler had dropped them off on the way to set up the tea and cookies at the library for people to enjoy as they strolled along the tree-lined streets and toured the homes later this afternoon.

“This one goes to Mrs. Perkins on Hemlock Street,” Ivy toed the box by her foot.  “I think she must have a hundred Santas. Every year she asks me for another box.” She smiled at her long-time friend Josh. Ever since the two had been in high school working on the holiday food drive, they’d been partners for the holidays.

Hallmark, Lifetime and Netflix have just begun rolling out holiday romance movies and since our dark, rainy winter season has set in, I decided to watch a few.

I started with Next Stop, Christmas which is a charming story about a heroine who gets one a train to take her back to Yonkers for the evening and instead finds herself whirled back ten years on a magical, Midnight Express, type train. Once she returns to the home of her childhood Christmas, she must revisit a marriage proposal she receives as well as a long time friend and how she feels about him.

The next night, I watched Open at Christmas which was another fun holiday romance about a heroine who finds a holiday card left in her high school text book that is filled with holiday love. She is determined to find out who gave her the card. It’s a charming story and along with the hero and heroine’s story, we also get to see the story of the hero’s best friend and her fiance and how their story entwines with finding out who gave the heroine the holiday card. I also enjoyed this one because the characters were slightly older than the typical romance characters and in their early 40’s.

Both will be aired many times over the next two months as well as many others. You can find the whole Hallmark line-up here. But don’t forget to check out Netflix and Lifetime too. Each network has a slightly different flair for their holiday stories and if you want to write for any of them, it’s good to do a little research!

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