Thursday, December 2, 2010

Friday's Friend Vivi Andrews

Today, I welcome one of my darling Ruby-Slippered sisters and world traveler, Vivi Andrews. Vivi amazes me. She is such a profilic writer, and oh so fun. Please welcome her.

Hi, I’m Vivi and I love the holidays. You know that Andy Williams song The Most Wonderful Time of the Year? Yep, that’s how I feel about the Season of Giving. Even though the temperatures are dropping, hearts seem warmer and more open. It’s a time of year when all of us – no matter our age – can reacquaint ourselves with the sense of magic that we might think we’re too grown up for during the rest of the year.

But it isn’t all candy canes and mistletoe. As countless Christmas movies filled with mishaps tell us, the holidays are also a time when our stresses can be amplified and swallow up our visions of sugarplums. Those To Do lists can feel a mile long – shopping, decorating, baking, caroling… and still keeping up with your day-to-day life? Good luck!

And it isn’t just the time crunch we’re feeling. Presents aren’t cheap and we’re in a recession. Even though Angel Trees and Adopt-a-Family programs are great ways to help those whose holidays might be a little darker this year, there are still going to be too many of us struggling under a stack of holiday bills come January.
And then there’s family. Even if you come from a wonderful, big, boisterous, amazing family like mine, it can still be stressful coordinating all the zany holiday gatherings. And for those who aren’t fortunate enough to be blessed with big loving families that get along well together, the holidays can be a time of keen loneliness and intense stress at tense family gatherings.

I still believe this season is the most wonderful time of the year, but there will also be times in our holiday stresses when we could all use a little pick-me-up.
That’s how I was approached for the holiday paranormal collection I’m a part of with Carina Press. They were looking for books that would be a fun escape from the holiday mayhem. I was flattered to be asked and delighted by the chance to write a story that featured my favorite season – even if I didn’t really go the traditional holiday route with No Angel.

My heroine Sasha finds herself on an angelic quest to march through Hell (literally) to rescue her boyfriend on Christmas Eve. And then if she succeeds, she still has to bring him to meet her parents on Christmas morning! The stress of introducing a significant other to her folks is bad enough, but add demonic minions to the mix and it becomes a holiday ride that breaks the mold – and hopefully gives the reader a few giggles as a break from the stresses of the most wonderful time of the year.
Are you gearing up for the holidays or ready for a break from the madness already? Do you love this season or think it’s just overhyped commercialism at work?

My Website:

No Angel Blurb: When Sasha's boyfriend, Jay, is sucked through a fiery vortex to Hell, an angel reveals that Sasha's been chosen as the Champion of Virtue in the battle for his immortal soul. As a perennial offender on Santa's naughty list, Sasha can't believe she's anyone's idea of a girl fighting on the side of the angels. But if she doesn't save Jay, he'll be stuck in Hell forever!
Jay—aka Jevroth—isn't surprised to find himself back in Hell. His visa to visit the mortal plane expired three months ago, but to steal more time with Sasha he's been ignoring his mother's demands that he come home to spend time with his new stepfather: Lucifer.

Sasha has until dawn on the twenty-fifth of December to fight the Legions of Hell and rescue Jay, or be trapped there for eternity herself. But now she must decide if the lying son-of-a-demon is even worth saving...

No Angel Link:

No Angel Excerpt:

Chapter One - Cloudy with a Chance of Angels

On the day Sasha Christian’s boyfriend got sucked into the fiery maw of Hell, she baked cookies.

This is not to say baking cookies will trigger abduction into the Underworld, but it is important to understand that this was not the sort of day on which one might expect one’s significant other to be kidnapped by demonic forces.

It was a Tuesday. And Christmas Eve.

Thirty minutes prior to the abduction, Sasha stood in the ten-items-or-less line at Ralph’s, holding a single bottle of molasses and fighting the temptation to count the items in the basket of the woman in front of her.

If she counted even eleven items, Sasha didn’t think she’d be able to stop herself from tackling the woman and bludgeoning her with her own canned yams until she retreated in blood-spattered shame to the three-mile-long non-express line. Since this would likely result in Sasha’s ejection from Ralph’s and force her to locate another grocery open at four-twenty on Christmas Eve where she could buy unsulfated molasses to finish her gingerbread cookies, she decided it was best to avert her eyes.

Instead, Sasha concentrated on the flat-screen above the checkstand where a twenty-four-hour news channel recapped the holiday frenzy in a highlight reel. Tinsel, holly, rosy-cheeked celebrity faces, blah blah blah.

She’d already seen the segment twice. Her oh-so-brilliant idea to pop out to the store had turned into a marathon shopping expedition. Just finding a parking space had taken more time than she’d planned for the entire trip.

Damn holiday crowds.

Sasha gritted her teeth and reminded herself that she loved the holidays. Jay was the Grinch in their relationship. During the rest of the year she might be the misanthropic one, but at Christmastime she was Tiny Tim, bouncing around God-bless-us-ing everyone…when she wasn’t entertaining violent fantasies about women who got in the ten-items-or-less line with at least eleven items, making her even later than she already was.

Four-twenty. Jay was due at her place in ten minutes and instead of the Christmas utopia she’d planned as a surprise for her bah-humbug boyfriend, he would find an empty apartment with a bowl of gingerbread goo in the kitchen.

If the apartment was still there at all. Sasha was reasonably certain she’d left the oven on.

The fact the news channel hadn’t broken in with a live aerial shot of her apartment building in flames was somewhat comforting. The holiday montage continued with footage of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels from earlier that afternoon.
A slow, panning shot of the courtyard showed a throng worthy of Times Square on New Year’s Eve, jostling and chorusing a barely identifiable rendition of “Hark the Herald” as they stared skyward. The first angel mass always did draw a crowd.
Dark clouds—imported from Seattle for the occasion, no doubt—layered the Los Angeles sky above the blocky, geometric cathedral. On cue, as the bells began to peal, a hole opened in the clouds like a camera iris widening. Spears of sunlight streaked down to gild the tan stone of the cathedral, lighting the alabaster cross that thrust out over the plaza, but no one in the crowded courtyard was looking at the building.

All eyes were on the gap expanding in the clouds as a figure appeared, riding the rays of light.

Gold-kissed wings spread wide in an eight-foot span to slow his approach until the white-robed figure seemed to float on his graceful descent from the heavens
Sasha rolled her eyes. How cliché can you get? Trust an angel to play it up for the crowd. The holier-than-thou bastards were worse than starlets when it came to mugging for the cameras.


  1. ZOWIE!!! sounds like the perfect book to escape from holiday madness with.

  2. Thanks, Rita! And thank you, Autumn, for letting me play at your blog today!

  3. You know how I feel about the holidays. But I like my twinkling tree (which is up, blinking and twinkling - hubby says I cannot keep it up year around - why did I marry such a narrow Oh, because he turned said tree on before he left for work so it would work its magic on me all day long). I like me a holiday movies, dripping with cheese and sap. And I like to be reading a Christmas story. Many happy sales Vivi.

  4. I'm a Christmas Manic--at least I was in years past. Our children's friends loved coming to our house--one compared the decorations to Macy's! It was lovely. I miss it, but this house is smaller, and many decorations have no place, and that makes me sad. Still, there's magic in the holidays. I'm a sap for Christmas movies, though newer ones tend to be cheezy.

    Good luck with your book, doll. Demons for Christmas? Definitely a new take, but thank heaven True Love does conquer all!

  5. Kelly - Waking up to a twinkly tree sounds heavenly.

    And Gwynlyn - Macys! That's high praise. I love the window displays in the big department stores.

    Thanks for the good wishes, my kindred spirits who cram twinkly holiday goodness in every square inch of space!

  6. Great excerpt, Vivi! And I so agree with your post. This is the most wonderful time of the year. (Yeah - I'm a sucker for the song too!)

  7. I'm glad you liked the excerpt, Maeve. Thank you. Three cheers for all us Christmas saps! :)

  8. Vivi, that's a cute excerpt!!. Yes Christmas is a wonderful time of family reunion, of giving and resolutions. It can also be a stressful time if we let the commercial side of it overwhelm the real sense of Christmas.