Skip to main content

Excerpt - THE CHRISTMAS LAMP by Lori Copeland

Camy here: I have had the honor and privilege of meeting Lori Copeland and chatting with her, and she is one of the most wonderful women on the planet! She's warm and sweet and energetic and just a really nice person. Her personality and love for Jesus really shines through in all the books that I've read from her. I hope you see it too as you read this excerpt!

The Christmas Lamp
by
Lori Copeland

Christmas trees, twinkling lights, skating in the park, and holiday displays are the hallmark elements for celebrating Jesus birth for the sentimental residents of Nativity, Missouri. Will fiscal responsibility replace Christmas their traditions when times are tough? Though their priorities and methods clash, Roni Elliot and Jake Brisco want the same thing, for the town to prosper. As the two get to know each other better, each begins to gain a new perspective on what the real wealth of Nativity and the season might be.

Lori Copeland has been writing for twenty-five years and has over three million copies of her books in print. She began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that she began writing for the Christian book market.

To date, she has more than 95 books published, including Now and Always, href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0310263506/camysloft-20" target="_blank">Simple Gifts, href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0310272262/camysloft-20" target="_blank">Unwrapping Christmas, and href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0310263492/camysloft-20" target="_blank">Monday Morning Faith, which was a finalist for the 2007 Christy Awards. Lori was inducted into the Springfield Writers Hall of Fame in 2000.

Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. They have three sons, two daughter-in-laws, and five wonderful grandchildren. Lori and Lance are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.

Excerpt of chapter one:

Chapter 1


Roni walked to the break room refrigerator and took out a piece of cheese and a handful of grapes. Bumping the door closed with her hip, she heard it; the telltale sound of a crash, and then lights and ornaments hitting the pavement.

Judy sprang from her chair. “Good grief! This is a record even for Nativity.”

Moving to the window, the women peered out. Roni heaved a sigh of disbelief when she spotted a silver Acura SUV buried in spruce. Tinsel dangled from the headlights.

A man peered out the driver’s side window. Moments later the tall, well-dressed man wearing corduroy slacks and a sports shirt unwound his frame from the driver’s seat and got out of the vehicle.

Closing her eyes, Roni drew a deep breath and announced. “The new consultant is here.”

The two women reached the door simultaneously. Bounding toward the accident, Roni quickly assessed the situation. The city crew seemed untouched. One or two looked slightly dazed, but the consultant’s expression was more “what hit me” than angry. “Is everybody okay?” Roni called as she approached the chaotic scene.

“I’m fine,” the newcomer said. He glanced at the workers. “Anyone hurt?”

The men shook their heads, eyes scanning the mess. Roni extended a hand. “You must be the new consultant.”

He took the outstretched hand. “Jake Brisco.”

“Roni Elliot. I manage the City Administration Office.” Her gaze assessed the dark-haired consultant, and then moved to the third finger of his right hand. Empty. Her eyes snapped back. “I am so sorry. Someone should have warned you about the tree.”

Jake brushed spruce needles off his slacks. “Does it always sit in the middle of the intersection?”

“Always,” Roni assured with a smile.

And it always got hit. Nativity wouldn’t be itself without their holiday decorations. And the tree was always first to go up, and the first to come down. Literally. It was hit at least twice every Christmas, and sometimes more.

“Well.” Jake studied his vehicle, hands on his trim hips. “I guess there’s no real harm done.”

“Come inside while they clean the mess off,” Roni invited. “We have fresh coffee.”

“No thanks.” He set to work picking tinsel out of the bumper. “I’m going to check into my hotel room. I’ll be in first thing tomorrow morning.”

Roni glanced at Judy, who was busy assessing the new boss. She glanced at Roni and gave her a thumbs-up.

Was she kidding? The man couldn’t drive! Roni turned back to Brisco, who was now crouched on his hands and knees parting the spruce. “You’re Mary Parson’s grandson?”

“That would be me.” He tossed a handful of boughs aside, grumbling under his breath.

“We heard you were coming.” For the past few weeks that had been the town buzz. The new consultant is coming. Mary Parson’s hotshot grandson. Everything is going to be different. The town will be saved. She assessed the good-looking Superman. Right. He couldn’t miss a twelvefoot spruce sitting in the middle of the intersection.

This man was going to save Nativity from going under?

***
That evening, Roni locked the office, relieved to have the hectic day behind her. Jake Brisco wasn’t exactly friendly, but then having a spruce hit your fancy car, as Mom used to say, “would sour a body’s disposition.”

The new consultant had appeared to have a sense of humor. Once they separated his car from the tree, he calmly picked spruce needles out of his grill and noted that his decorating was done for the year. Roni was grateful he wasn’t coming into work until morning. There’d be a little breathing space between the incident and getting down to business.

“Merry Christmas!”

Roni turned to see Dusty Bitterman, who owned the insurance office two doors away, striding toward her. The affable grandfatherly figure flipped her a piece of peppermint candy.

She caught it with both hands. “Thanks, Dusty. You’re my first holiday greeting of the season.”

“It’s the best time of the year. You doing okay this fine day?”

“Never better.”

“I’m on my way to see Mary. I understand her grandson blew through town earlier.”

Blew through was correct. Mary Parson lived on the outskirts of Nativity, a woman who rarely joined community activities anymore even though she’d been a founding area resident. Folks said that until she had her first heart attack she’d been involved with everything, but once her husband passed away she’d turned into a recluse. Everyone knew of Mary but most knew little about her. Dusty visited her weekly to see if she needed anything, but even he admitted that she rarely did, and that she preferred her solitude.

Sobering, Dusty bent forward. “You know the plan if this thing gets out of hand.”

Ronnie nodded. “Ten-four.”

Tipping his hat, he walked on as Roni turned toward home. Dusty worked hard to keep the season. He’d lost a nine-year-old son fourteen years ago about this time of the year, so the holiday held even more significant meaning to him. The boy had chased a baseball into a line of traffic. Though Roni was a distracted teenager at the time, she could still remember the sight of Dusty sitting in the middle of a busy highway, all traffic stopped as they watched the grieving father cradle his son’s lifeless form, rocking the child gently back and forth.

After that tragic day, Dusty was determined to keep Pete’s legacy alive. The boy loved Christmas and all that went with it.

Turning up the collar of her light jacket, she started toward home. The house was a short walk from the office, so she didn’t need to invent an excuse to exercise. Her aging blue Volkswagen convertible remained in the garage until Saturdays, when she did her shopping.

A smile touched the corners of her mouth as she thought of the new consultant’s arrival. Residents expected the town tree to be knocked over. It wouldn’t be a Nativity Christmas if it sat untouched for the next five weeks, but the incident had to be disconcerting to the newcomer.

Drawing a deep breath of fresh air, she dismissed the worry. The annual tree lighting would take place this Saturday night and then holiday activities would be in full swing.

“Roni! Merry Christmas!”

She spotted a familiar face. “Merry Christmas, Wilma. How’s Lowell today?” “I took him to the doctor this morning. He’s doing fine. Just a case of indigestion.”

“Good — It’s nice to see you.” By now Steil’s Hardware was coming up. Usually Roni breezed right past the store. Hammers and screwdrivers didn’t interest her, though she was handy with both tools. Aaron Steil stood in the window setting up a Christmas display.

And then she saw it. The lamp. A gaudy, black-net stocking leg with a fringed shade, an exact replica of the one featured in the movie A Christmas Story.

Her gaze riveted on the object. The sight brought back rich memories of the hours she’d spent watching the classic movie with her mom and dad. Images of Ralphie, the kid who longed for a Red Ryder, carbine-action, two-hundredshot, Range Model air rifle for Christmas raced through her mind. The renowned line rang in her head. You can’t have a BB gun, kid! You’ ll shoot your eye out!

Aaron waved and Roni lifted a finger, pointing to the price tag.

He frowned, and she motioned to the white ticket dangling on the cord. Tracing her gaze, he brightened and glanced at the price then mouthed, one ninety-nine.

A hundred and ninety-nine? Dollars? He had to be kidding. He held the lamp closer to the window, brows lifted expectantly.

She shook her head. No. Too much. She couldn’t.

Smiling, he set the lamp on a round table and pulled the chain. Soft light pooled over the sidewalk where Roni stood. The effect brought a lump to her throat. Mom. Christmas! The smell of fresh pine in every room, cookies baking in the oven. When Mom was alive she had insisted on a fresh cut tree every season, and Roni still observed the tradition. It wasn’t Christmas until a huge tree filled the parlor corner, decorated with childhood ornaments and family keepsakes.

It was silly to continue family traditions with no one to share them with, but she did — and most likely she always would, but she needed to start her own customs.

She’d turned into a creature of habit. Her biological clock wasn’t exactly running out, but her dream of filling the house with children had started to look less likely. She’d be thirty in January, and there was not a marriageable prospect in sight. Nativity had only a few single men, and she didn’t get to Springfield or Branson that often.

Life was passing her by, but she had no inclination to stop it. She was content, even happy, with small-town life. She made sure that she was involved with community work, and the town was her family.

Darkness closed in as she continued to stare at the funky lamp until the wind picked up. Dry leaves skipped across the street and landed in yards already piled high with dying vegetation.

Snuggling deeper into her jacket, she took a final look at the lamp, and then walked home to her empty house.

Comments

  1. This sounded so good I put a hold on it from our library. I will enjoy reading this during the holidays.
    Diane

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 2: Berserker is now on sale!

For seven days, from January 30th until February 5th, book 2 in the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series is only 99 cents. If you haven’t gotten it yet, be sure to snatch it up while it’s at this sale price. Here’s the back cover description: A Christian Historical Adventure set in Regency England with romance and a supernatural twist Part two in an epic-length serial novel A dire situation Mr. Solomon Drydale and his team are reeling. After only a single act of mayhem by underworld lord Apothecary Jack, one of their group is down and another is missing. An urgent plea Desperate, Sol acts on his forbidden knowledge of an agent for the Crown who is known only to the highest levels of government— le petit prince , master of disguises. He defies his superiors and asks the Prince for help. A hazardous hunt Now, the team must learn to work with a new member to save one of their own. But time is running out before Jack finds him and breaks him—and puts all of their lives at risk.

Just another day at youth group

My Christian contemporary romance, Single Sashimi , includes some of the wilder tales from my and my husband’s stints as youth staff workers at our church. The Steven character in the book is actually the same Steven who’s the associate pastor and youth group leader at our church now, since I wrote Single Sashimi when he was still in youth group. :) He’s a young man in his late twenties (maybe early thirties?), and he’s full of great ideas and lots of energy. On one particular Saturday, my husband and I were at youth group as usual. Steven had bought a tug of war rope—the really long, thick kind that looks like it belongs on a sea trawler. The opening game for the kids was, of course, tug of war. Then we came indoors for a three-song worship set. After worship, we usually split up into Junior High and High School for lessons, but this time Steven had an idea: “Okay guys, we’re going to have a tug of war--staff versus kids. If you guys win, we’ll ditch the lesson and go out t

Year of the Dog serial novel

About Year of the Dog : A month or two ago, I remembered an old manuscript I had completed but which hadn’t sold. It was a contemporary romance meant for Zondervan, titled Year of the Dog . The book had gone into the pipeline and I even got another title ( Bad Dog ) and a cover for it, but eventually my editor at the time decided she didn’t want to publish it, for various reasons. She instead requested a romantic suspense, and so I cannibalized some of the characters from Year of the Dog and thrust them into the next book I wrote, which was Protection for Hire . Honestly, I didn’t take a lot from Year of the Dog to put in Protection for Hire , aside from character names and a few relationship ties. I was originally thinking I’d post Year of the Dog as-is on my blog as a free read, but then it occurred to me that I could revamp it into a romantic suspense and change the setting to Hawaii. It would work out perfectly as (yet another) prequel to the Warubozu series and introduce

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 9

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Aunt Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

A new tier in my Patreon

I started my Patreon for my fans and for people who didn’t want to buy my books on Kindle. My patrons get each new ebook 2-3 weeks early for only $3 (which is usually the newsletter-only price), and they only get charged when I release a book, not every month. At the moment, I’m releasing my Christian historical romantic suspense series, Lady Wynwood’s Spies. But after I finish that series, I’ll be releasing my Christian contemporary romantic suspense series, the Warubozu Spa Chronicles, and those in my Patreon will be able to get those books early, too. I just added a new $1.00 tier for fans who would prefer to read my books in Kindle Unlimited or buy the Kindle ebook, but just want to support me. Click here to read more about my Patreon. Thank you so much for reading my books!

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

ひとり寿司第28章パート2

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** キッチンテーブルの上にごちゃごちゃと置かれている食べ物を見つけた。フルーツが入ったお皿は、すでに子供たちがめちゃくちゃにしていたが、新鮮なマグロの刺身は、巻き寿司の隣にきれいに並んでいた。天ぷら鍋から取り出したばかりのもち粉チキンは、まだ湯気が立っていて、祖母の自家製たくあんが、その隣の小皿に置かれている。 「わあ、叔母さんか誰かが、エビの天ぷら作ったんだわ」トリッシュはエビの天ぷらを紙皿に取った。 レックスはお皿をつかんだ。ここに来た唯一の理由。祖母ですら、美味しい日本食を食べていると

A List of my Free Blog Reads

Curious about what my writing is like? Here’s a list of all my free books and the free short stories, novellas, and novels that you can read here on my blog. I’ll update this post as I add more free reads. Christian Humorous Romantic Suspense: Year of the Dog (Warubozu Spa Chronicles series, Prequel novel) (Currently being posted monthly on my blog as a serial novel) Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, finally has a chance to buy a facility for her business, but her world is upended when she must move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate. When she stumbles upon a three-year-old missing persons case, security expert Ashwin Keitou, whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier, is tasked with protecting her. However, danger begins to circle around them from people who want the past to remain there. Can they shed light on the secrets moving in the shadows? Christian Romantic Suspense: Necessary Proof (Sonoma series #4.1, n