She needs a Christmas Miracle #mfrwhooks

Alien Contact for an Enhanced Nutcracker, a holiday novella, is the sixth installment in my Alien Contact for Idiots series, though it can stand alone. The book opens five years from next November on a dark, rainy side street in Tacoma, Washington. Here’s the opening of the book.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Holly Jansen said to the Thug.

The Thug didn’t answer.

“The age of wisdom, the age of . . .” Her voice trailed off. Trudging through the first winter storm of the year wasn’t conducive to quoting Charles Dickens. “I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it’s the best of times because, well, Black Friday is over and it’s now the Christmas season. The time for Christmas miracles.” When a gust splashed her face, Holly bent her head into the biting rain. “Yeah, we need one of those, maybe two, but this is still my favorite time of the year. Yours too, Thug?”

No answer came from inside the cat carrier.

The rain made the side street in front of her former apartment seem dark and threatening. It was cold, close to freezing. Close to snowing, too. A drop, suspiciously solid, hit the tip of her nose.

Reaching a fire hydrant, she balanced the carrier on it while she unzipped her rain jacket and wrapped it around the cat carrier. Icicles of wind shot with vicious joy through the open coat and assaulted her t-shirt. Tacoma wasn’t supposed to get this cold this soon. She didn’t have gloves, scarf, ear muffs, or a winter coat, because she hadn’t gotten out her winter clothes yet.

And now she couldn’t. They were behind a padlocked door. Might as well have been on the moon.

She couldn’t see the fat tabby through the top of the carrier, but she kept talking, hoping her voice would soothe his wet fur. “Where was I? Oh yeah, the best and the worst of times. The worst is easy. Now.”

Thug mewled piteously.

“No, I told you, this isn’t my fault.” Which wasn’t quite true: she could’ve chosen a more practical career than conducting an orchestra. Like flipping burgers at McDonalds.

A gust of wind, arctic gods laughing at her, turned her coat into a sail; she held onto both cat and coat with difficulty. “I gave my half of the rent money to Deidre every month. How was I to know she was keeping it for a one-way flight back to Perth?”

Be sure to check out the hooks by other great writers in the Book Hooks blog hop.

Alien Contact for an Enhanced Nutcracker

They both need a Christmas miracle

Holly Jansen, a young orchestra conductor down on her luck, is secretly hired by an alien king to conduct The Nutcracker on Kwadra Island as a Christmas present for his American wife. This big break seems like a Christmas miracle. But after she meets the lead dancer, she wonders if it’s a curse, instead . . .

. . . because the queen has secretly ordered Rafe Sekwa, dancer extraordinaire, to produce a potlatch ceremony honoring her husband’s ancestors — on the same day, time, and stage as The Nutcracker. The stubborn genius is determined to do so no matter what. Soon Holly finds her ambition melting in the face of her growing admiration — and love.

~ ~ ~

Alien Contact for an Enhanced Nutcracker will be available October 21, 2019. Pre-order your copy now.



  1. Thug is one of your best characters.

    Did Effing provide any inspiration?!

    1. Your comment reminds me of a workshop session I went to ages ago. An agent promised to share THE SECRET to capturing reader’s affection. After talking for an hour, she still hadn’t shared the secret, and of course the audience reminded her. Her secret — make sure there’s a dog or cat in the book!

      Her secret works for you, I guess.

  2. You caught me with Thug. What an interesting premise! Best wishes on your new release!
    JQ Rose

    1. I must admit that I came up with his name solely so the first couple sentences are ambiguous enough to catch people’s attention.

  3. Awesome totem pole!

    All blog post today have been shared on Excerpts & Promotions Facebook Page.

    #ExcerptsPromotions #PMInc

    1. Thanks, Dee. The totem pole is at the limits of my graphics abilities.

  4. Cold weather ugh. Feel sorry for her and the cat

    1. Don’t worry — things will get worse (and colder) before they get better.

  5. I agree with JQ – a very interesting premise.

    1. I hope readers agree!

  6. Yes, very interesting premise, and having a pet in the story is always a plus. Tweeted.

    1. With The Nutcracker being such a Christmas staple, I always thought it would work well with my ‘aliens’ in the Alien Contact for Idiots series.

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