Twelve Days of Christmas: Catherine Gayle

Drive By Lights!
by Catherine Gayle

Ever since I was a very little girl, on Christmas Eve night my mother would load us all up into the car.  As we lived in Texas, some years it would be very cold and we’d all have to bundle up in coats and scarves, and it was quite the ordeal.  Other years, we would be running the air conditioner in the car.

Whether it was hot or cold didn’t matter.  We were off to look at all the holiday lights people used to decorate their houses.

She would drive us slowly up and down the streets, pointing at particularly interesting designs while we all oohed and ahhed. In our town, there was one particular street where each house told the story of one of the 12 Days of Christmas.  This was a favorite street for us to visit each year.  Other neighborhoods might not have been quite as coordinated in their décor, but were no less extravagant.

When I was in high school, one of the houses in town started being lit up to the point that it was nearly blinding, and the lights were set to music.   As much fun as it was to stop by there on Christmas Eve, I was glad we didn’t live on that street.   It had to be really annoying.

No matter how old I got, though, that was a tradition my mother always held to.   She was still driving us around to look at the lights when I was home from college.

When I grew up and moved away, I found that Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas if I didn’t do the same.   I lived in Juneau, Alaska one year, and I worked part-time at the movie theater.   On Christmas Eve, after we closed the movie theater down, I loaded some of the teenagers I worked with into my car and drove them through Juneau, looking at the Christmas lights.   I’m sure that I’ll do something similar now that I live in North Carolina, too.

Do you decorate the outside of your house for Christmas?   Have you ever driven slowly through the decorated neighborhoods to take it all in?

Leave a comment for Catherine and be entered to win a $25 gift card to the book seller of your choice!


5960704An Unintended Journey, from A Summons From the Castle

Abby Goddard’s life is going along just swimmingly, apart from the disappearance of her life’s love—Wesley Cavendish, a man well above her station. Just before Christmas, Grandmama dies after revealing the identity of Abby’s grandfather. The Duke of Danby, no less. Now the entire family will travel to Yorkshire to confront Danby, hoping to gain a dowry for Abby. But then Wesley reemerges, sparking a hope Abby thought long destroyed.

Shall the prodigal son’s sole inheritance be an unsightly gash? Wesley Cavendish aspires to the political realm, despite his father’s near-murderous opposition…not to mention his opposition to Abby Goddard. But since Father died, will the new Earl of Fordingham rescind Father’s disgraceful allegations? Fordingham thwarts Wesley at every turn, threatening marriage to a prominent Tory family—which precludes Abby—to put an end to Wesley’s Whig involvement…unless Wesley can find a loophole.

Available at…

Barnes & Noble
And other ebook retailers!


I’ve recently released Seven Minutes in Devon, the first book in a new series.

SevenMinutesInDevon (1)During a minutes-long span three years ago, their lives were forever changed when Lady Morgan Cardiff nearly drowned.

Returning to the disastrous scene for the first time, Emma Hathaway is older, wiser—and ready to move on. With her parents quickly aging, she needs a husband. Alas, she is an awkward, bookish girl with no dowry to recommend her, and she is far from being an Incomparable or an heiress who might rouse a gentleman’s interest. Her hopes of changing the ton’s view of her are dashed upon the arrival of the others involved in that life-altering moment. Aidan Cardiff’s perpetual glares prove he blames Emma for Morgan’s scarred, blind condition. His unfounded hatred alone leaves Emma shaken, but his unbidden advances threaten to thwart her husband-hunt.

Ever since his sister’s failed attempts to take her own life, Aidan Cardiff has been a loathsome, brooding artist. He’s spent three years creating artwork to depict the revenge he’d like to exact against anyone, save himself, who can be blamed for Morgan’s pervasive melancholy. Yet his art has been far from enough to assuage the rage he’s built inside. Morgan is finally ready to live again, but Aidan fears letting her out of his sight—particularly with Emma Hathaway, the chit whose very existence sets his blood to boiling. But is the heat fueling his fire due solely to his anger, or is there something more?

You can find out more about me on my website, like me on Facebook, and Tweet me on Twitter.