December Newsletter

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Stone of Love Launch Events

Join the ARC readers and

Love Street Team today!


December Promo for ARC group

Click here to join.


What's coming next?

STONE OF FEAR, Book 2 Stones of Iona Series, and THISTLE IN THE MISLETOE, a bonus Christmas book to the series, are coming 2024.

Holiday Weekly Scavenger Hunt

Starting November 1st until January 1st, I will run a Holiday Weekly Scavenger Hunt.

All entries will be due January 1st by midnight to enter the drawing. To qualify, you can enter the completed lists here by midnight US Central Standard Time.

The prize? $25 Amazon Gift Card.


I will email out reminders each Monday, but here’s the list.

All answers are in one of the following places., my Facebook, my Twitter, my Instagram.


Nov 6 – What is the first name of the main female character in Stone of Love?

Nov 13 – What is the first name of the main male character in Stone of Love?

Nov 20 – Why is the main female character at Dunstaffnage Castle?

Nov 27 – Jazz Band Concert Tonight – check out any of my social media for a pic of my son, Aaron, at Jazz Band Concert the evening of Nov 27th

Dec 4 - What is the title of my debut Christmas book in 2024?

Dec 11- What is the plant featured in my 2024 Christmas book?

Dec 18 – Share your favorite dish for Christmas dinner…

Dec 25 – Share your favorite holiday tradition…

Happy Hunting!

Scottish Christmas Traditions

Working on Christmas Day is now a distant memory for many Scots, but there are other old traditions that people still hold onto—for example, some folk like to bake unleavened Yule bread for each family member. Whoever finds a trinket in their loaf will be blessed with good luck for the year!

Other traditions include burning a rowan twig as a way to get rid of any bad feelings between friends or family, and the ‘first-footer,’ a special name given to the first person to arrive on Christmas Day (this tradition is now more commonly associated with New Year’s Day). First-footers come with gifts such as coal, whisky, salt, and bread to bless their guests. Black buns are also a popular first-footing gift – they’re made with raisins, currants, almonds, citrus peel, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon and topped with pastry.

Modern Scottish Christmas traditions are similar to those of other Western countries. People sing carols (wassailing) and decorate their houses with lights, putting a Christmas tree in the window and a wreath on the door. Children write letters to Santa Claus, and on Christmas Eve, leave something for him to eat (like a mince pie) and drink (like sherry or whisky) when he visits at night.

On Christmas Eve, some families like to attend midnight mass, and on Christmas Day, people give and receive presents before gathering around the table for a hearty lunch. People pull crackers, tell (bad) jokes, make toasts, and then relax for the rest of the day, often in front of the television to watch the annual King’s speech or a festive film.

Hogmanay In Scotland

In Scotland, New Year’s Eve is called Hogmanay. This joyful gathering was especially celebrated in the years when Christmas was ‘banned’, and celebrations could last for days! Edinburgh now hosts one of the world’s biggest and most famous Hogmanay Street parties, with an amazing fireworks display. Scottish people all over the country brighten the dark winter with music, poetry, and bonfires.

There are plenty of Scottish Hogmanay traditions, some dating back centuries and some only a few decades old. Certainly, the most famous is the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, which was written by the iconic Scottish poet Robert Burns and saw people gathering together and linking arms to sing in unison. This became a popular convention by the mid-20th century. There are other poems and songs by writers like Robert Louis Stevenson that celebrate Hogmanay and the passing of the year, but nothing holds a haggis to Burns’s classic song.

Scotland also has some weird and wonderful Hogmanay events. The Stonehaven Fireballs Festival has its roots in pagan traditions – for nearly a century, residents of this Aberdeenshire town have paraded along the streets on Hogmanay, swinging giant fireballs to drive evil spirits away and purge the old year.

In Orkney, you’ll need to fight for a view of the Kirkwall Ba’ on New Year’s Day, which sees almost the entire town turned into a football pitch for a chaotic and competitive kickabout! In Burghead in Moray, the ‘burning of the clavie’ involves carrying a flaming tar-filled barrel through the streets on 11 January (the Gaelic New Year’s Eve, dating back to the time before the Gregorian calendar was adopted).

Some Scots like to encourage good luck in the new year by doing a spot of ‘redding’ and cleaning their house from top to bottom (a good one for getting the children involved) on Hogmanay. It’s also meant to be bad luck to clean or do laundry on New Year’s Day – in case you sweep or wash away the good luck!

So instead of cleaning, the more thick-skinned of us may participate in the Loony Dook – a modern tradition where people dip in the Firth of Forth on New Year’s Day.

And finally... How do you say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Scottish Gaelic?

Nollaig Chridheil!


Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce in Puff Pastry



1 sheet puff pastry (thawed according to package directions if using frozen)

1 round or wedge Brie cheese (do not remove rind), about 8 ounces

2 tablespoons cranberry sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup



Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Slice the top off the Brie:

If you want, start with chilled Brie and use a sharp knife to carefully cut off the thin top rind of the cheese. This may help the crust stay with the cheese when served. The rind is edible so you don't have to do this step if you don't want to.

On a lined baking sheet, lay out the puff pastry or the crescent rolls flat. Place the Brie round or wedge on top of the dough.

Spread the jam on the Brie, fold dough over top, cutting off excess dough. Drizzle maple syrup and sprinkle brown sugar on top.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers.



Whiskey Warmer



 2 oz whiskey

1 oz caramel sauce any type but I make my own bourbon caramel sauce (See Notes for URL and it was perfect!).

4 oz half and half

To Garnish:

Cinnamon sticks and grated nutmeg



Put the caramel sauce and half and half into a microwave safe glass and heat on medium power until warm. Remove and add the whiskey and warm for about 10 more seconds on medium power.

Grate nutmeg over the cocktail and add a cinnamon stick.



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