Fiction Friday: The Christmas Wedding Quilt
Welcome to Fiction Friday. Each Friday I post an excerpt from one of my books or those of my friends and colleagues.
Today begins the build-up to the publication of The Christmas Wedding Quilt, an anthology by yours truly, Janice Kay Johnson and Sarah Mayberry, for sale on November 1st.
Last year when I agreed to write a Christmas novella , my publisher told me I could write about quilts. That’s all I needed. I agreed to be part of the anthology, but only if I didn’t have to coordinate closely with my fellow authors. Not because coordinating isn’t fun, but because I knew I was going to be extra busy moving this year.
In the end, Janice, Sarah and I “coordinated” constantly. The more the three of us tossed our ideas around, the more we realized we wanted our stories to connect, at first loosely and then, well, you’ll see when you read the book.
The funniest part? Each one of us was in the middle of a crisis. We were all too busy for this project, and yet we had so much fun writing our novellas anyway.
Janice and Sarah were great to work with. I was always delighted to get a new email telling me something new about their characters or stories.
I’m so pleased with the end result. I hope you will be, too. Here’s our premise.
Jo Miller is stunned when she returns home from a month in Hong Kong to find a package from her aunt. Aunt Gloria died while Jo was away, and she is still unhappy she didn’t abandon her business negotiations and fly home for Gloria’s funeral.
Jo has been estranged from her father’s family since she was a teenager, but memories of Hollymeade, the family home in Western New York, still sweeten her dreams. Summers there with extended family, particularly three cousins she was particularly close to, meant so much to her, as did those friendships. Sadly, though, through the years she’s lost touch with everyone except Aunt “Glo.” And now Aunt Glo is gone.
Mystified and shaken, she opens the package and finds this letter.
Please enjoy this excerpt from the prologue. For the next three weeks I’ll have excerpts from each of the three novellas at Fiction Friday for you to enjoy.
I know this will come as a surprise to you. I’ve been sick for some time and known for weeks now that I probably will not live to see Olivia and Eric’s wedding. If they had been given a choice, they would have moved up the date, but of course, they couldn’t, not with Eric serving in Afghanistan. I had hoped to live long enough to make a bridal quilt, but I know now that this first block is the most I will be able to finish.
I’ve thought about what to do next, and I’ve come up with a plan. I don’t have the strength to discuss it with all of you, so I am going on faith. You see, I am praying that you, Rachel and Ella will finish the quilt for me.
Do you remember the fun all of you had when you learned to quilt at Hollymeade? All those lazy summer quilting lessons with your wonderful grandmother? You, of course, were a natural, a serious quiltmaker from the beginning, just like I was at your age. I still remember the way you measured everything twice and restitched every seam that wasn’t perfect.
I know you haven’t quilted in years. But I don’t think you will have forgotten how.
Do you know what a round robin is? Here’s another quilt lesson you will need. A round robin quilt begins with one block in the center. Then the center is passed to another quilter, along with some of the fabrics that were used in the center, and the second quilter stitches a border, using some of that fabric and some of her own. The quilt is then passed on to another quilter until the final border is completed.
I hope you will add a border to this block, then pass it to Ella and finally to Rachel. Perhaps the three of you will reunite with Olivia to quilt the finished top before the wedding, so she will have it to display at the ceremony. Wouldn’t that be perfect?
You’ll see that some of the fabric I’ve enclosed isn’t new. In fact these are pieces of dresses Olivia wore as a little girl. I am hoping that you or your cousins will work them in to make the quilt that much more meaningful.
I know this is a project you probably wouldn’t choose. But please do this for me. I know this quilt will be in good hands, Jo. You always try to do the right thing without complaint, sometimes to your detriment. But this time, completing this project may have surprising results. I hope it will bring you closer to your cousins. I know Olivia will need her family once I am gone.
I have always loved you, Rachel, and Ella, Jo, like you were my daughters, too. I know you loved me, too. Never worry about that.
You can pre-order The Christmas Wedding Quilt online at Amazon, B&N, and BAM.
Don’t forget to come back next week for a preview of Jo’s story, “Let It Snow.”
A must read for me. Christmas and quilt & I’m sold.
I love quilts – and I love Christmas stories. As I get older and my grandchildren do not live ‘close’, I have stopped putting up my large Christmas tree. I have a little one, my mother made almost 45 years ago, where instead of the twinkie lights, she rolled purie marbles in a cast iron skillet, then put into cold water to crackle (if you do it right – the crackle is just on the inside of the marble). My mother is long gone, but her tree still gives me comfort every Christmas. As the holidays approach, I am so looking forward to reading “The Christmas Wedding Quilt” with my little tree lit up, with memories swirling inside my head.
What a lovely tradition to have your mom’s tree.
Just love all your books! Almost finished my quilt you and Pat Sloan designed. I donated the 3 books to my library so others could enjoy them. I would love to win your prize and be one of the first to read “The Christmas Wedding Quilt”! Your books are awesome!!
Oh, I need a photo of the quilt once you’re done. Good luck with the giveaway.
What a wonderful premise…I already love the book and will be buying it when it comes out. I’m hoping to save it for the holidays but then they may begin the moment I pick up that book!
I think it’s kind of funny how sometimes the best things come out of the times when we are so busy…looks like this book is that way for the three of you.
I keep a list of writers I enjoy and will be sure to add
Janice and Sarah to it.
Looking forward to this collection. I’m not a quilter, but I love the designs and beautiful results from those with the ability to quilt. And I love the Christmas season!
While the round robin quilt ties the stories together, they’re really about reconnecting with love and loved ones. And Christmas, too. I love the holidays, too.
Cozy, comforting, Christmas, all wrapped up in a quilt and a book, how jolly.
I can’t wait to read the book. Your mentioning that all three of you authors were in crisis during the writing made me remember the old adage: “If you want something done, ask the busy person.”