12 days until Christmas
Originally from Arizona, Traci Hunter Abramson has spent most of her adult life living in Virginia. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. She enjoys writing what she knows and considers it a bonus when her research includes travel and attending sporting or cultural events.
Since leaving the CIA, Traci has written several novels including the Undercurrents trilogy, Obsession, the Royal series, and the Saint Squad series. Her next novel, Deep Cover, will be released in March 2013.
When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and four children. She also enjoys coaching North Stafford High School’s swim team.
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LDSWBR: Do you top your Christmas tree with a star, angel, or something else? Does it have special meaning to you?
TRACI: When I was a kid, my sister and I took turns putting an angel on top of the tree and we both considered that to be the best part of decorating for Christmas. For my family, we don’t have really have a traditional tree-topper. For us, it’s the decorations that go on the tree that are special. When my oldest child was born, my mother decided to give each of her grandchildren a new ornament each year from somewhere she had traveled recently. We now have miniature Eiffel towers in four different colors, ornaments made from Hawaiian seashells, and all manner of eclectic adornments that the kids treasure hanging from the tree branches.
LDSWBR: What is your favorite Christmas movie? Why is it your favorite?
TRACI: I admit that I love all of the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies and enjoy watching a wide selection of those each year, but my all-time favorite has to be It’s a Wonderful Life. The message that each of us send ripples through countless lives is humbling and I think brings out the best in all of us, especially this time of year.
LDSWBR: What Christmas gift have you been most excited to give?
TRACI: A few years ago, a family I had become close to was facing their first Christmas without their twin boys who had recently passed away at a very young age. To get away from the difficult memories and the incredible pain the loss had caused, they had gone out of town for Christmas. At the time, they didn’t yet have a marker for the boys’ gravesite. I hated the idea of them coming back after the holiday to visit the grave, knowing they would face only the barren piece of ground.
With the help of a friend, I went out and got a large ceramic urn and filled it with different little toys and goodies that might have been given to the boys had they lived to see that Christmas. Then on the outside of the urn, we wrote the boys’ names along with the dates of their birth and of their death. We wrapped it all up in plastic wrapping, making it look like some sort of gift basket, and placed it on the grave.
Shortly after the family returned, they went to the gravesite and found the offering. Their four-year-old son delighted in the toys that had been left for his younger brothers. The other family members relayed afterward how touched they were that their precious little boys had been remembered. The question of who had left the gift became a frequent topic of conversation over the ensuing days and weeks. Often my silent partner and I sat in their home, listening to them try to figure out who could have been behind the anonymous gesture. Nearly a month passed before they finally figured out the truth.
The ceramic pot with the boys’ names written on the side marked the grave for several months following the holiday. I was always amazed at how strong the Spirit was there every time I visited and I found myself drawn to go to the cemetery often when I was in the area. The experience became a reminder to me of how many people in my church and community had poured out their love, time and energy to help this family deal with such a devastating tragedy. It also served to prove that people want to open up their hearts to those around them and are ready and willing to do so when needs arise.
LDSWBR: What a touching way to show your love and support for your grieving friends. Thank you, Traci.
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Purchase Code Word:
The media portrayed the military operation as a complete success, but Navy SEAL Jay Wellman wouldn’t describe it that way. He was there. As he tries to come to terms with his role that fateful night, he notices something different about his teammates and wonders if there may be more to their beliefs than he first thought. When she heard the gunshots, Carina Channing knew the past had caught up with her. She may have changed her last name, but she can’t change who her father is. Carina understands the evil that lurks in The Family, and she is determined to steer clear of that life and any other emotional connections. When they meet, it seems Jay and Carina have only two things in common, mutual attraction and the fact that they are both struggling to overcome devastating trauma. But when a member of The Family arrives and upsets the delicate balance in Carina’s life, Jay chisels away at the barrier Carina has erected around her heart and offers himself as her protector and friend. But can Jay’s Navy SEAL skills, military connections, and loyal Saint Squad friends keep Carina and her sisters safe? And with their different beliefs, can Jay and Carina’s friendship grow into anything more?
Do you have any ornaments on your tree that came from far-off places?
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To enter the LDSWBR Countdown to Christmas 2012, leave a thoughtful comment below.
Be sure to comment on each Countdown to Christmas 2012 post for more chances to win. Please click through to the website as only comments submitted directly on this post will be accepted.
Prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and the author-donated books listed below. This is raffle-style drawing where all entries throughout the contest period are entered into the same “hat” for all prizes. US only. 18 years and older please. See all contest rules and restrictions below.
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By leaving a comment and entering the Countdown to Christmas 2012, you agree to the contest rules below:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY; entrants must be 18 years or older; open to residents of continental US only; giveaway begins December 3, 2012 and all entries must be received by 12:00 Midnight December 23, 2012 Mountain Time; to enter, complete the required entry on each post and any additional entries of your choice if listed; LDS Women’s Book Review reserves the right to determine what is considered a thoughtful comment as per each posts required entry; giveaway prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and a variety of book prizes donated by featured authors; the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning; LDS Women’s Book Review is not liable for technical problems which may affect entry into the giveaway; winner identity will be verified by email address; winner will be selected December 27, 2012 by use of a sequence generator on random.org; winner will have until January 3, 2013 to claim their prize; if any prize winner forfeits or does not claim prize, prize will be re-awarded to next winner in sequence; all prizes will be awarded; limit of two prizes per entrant; this contest/giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other entity unless otherwise specified; by entering the giveaway you give LDS Women’s Book Review the right to publicize your name on the LDS Women’s Book Review blog; winner agrees to release LDS Women’s Book Review from any liability as a result of winning; email comments & questions to LDS Women’s Book Review – ldswbr (at) gmail (dot) com; giveaway subject to Utah regulations; VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Book Prizes (as of December 10, 2012 – many more to be added to this list!)
- Tres Leches Cupcakes by Josi S. Kilpack (signed paperback copy)
- Not Your Average Fairy Tale by Chantele Sedgwick (paperback or ebook)
- Deadly Undertakings by Gregg Luke (personalized paperback)
- Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston (personalized paperback)
- Athena by Heather B. Moore (autographed paperback)
- The Kindling by Braden Bell (paperback, signed if desired)
- Sudden Darkness by Margot Hovley (personalized paperback)
- Code Word by Traci Hunter Abramson (paperback)
Previous Countdown to Christmas 2012 posts:
- 22 days until Christmas: Tres Leches Cupcakes by Josi S. Kilpack
- 21 days until Christmas: Not Your Average Fairy Tale by Chantele Sedgwick
- 20 days until Christmas: Deadly Undertakings by Gregg Luke
- 19 days until Christmas: Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston
- 18 days until Christmas: Athena by Heather B. Moore
- 17 days until Christmas: The Kindling by Braden Bell
- 16 days until Christmas: Sunday – no post
- 15 days until Christmas: An Unlikely Match by Sarah M. Eden
- 14 days until Christmas: Sudden Darkness by Margot Hovley
- 13 days until Christmas: After Hello by Lisa Mangum