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Christina Romeril’s Back with Favorite Holiday Traditions

This is the time of year when I’m more excited about Christmas than a kid on Christmas Eve. I’m eyeing up the boxes with the decorations in them and making holiday baking lists. I’ll have the house decorated by November first. This is not something I get from my parents. Growing up we didn’t decorate until after the first week of December. In those couple weeks before Christmas my mother did a bit of holiday baking and bought festive chocolates and candies. Every Sunday in December we would light the candles on the advent wreath as well.

My parents are both from Germany and so we had lots of German traditions in our holiday celebrations, one of my favorites was the advent calendar. We always had one hanging in the kitchen with chocolates in it and another that just had pictures behind each window. My brother and I had to alternate which calendar window we got to open each day, so we only got a chocolate every other day. Oh, the hardships.

I have four children so we had more than one advent calendar in the house, though I do recall them having to share a bit too. These days I have multiple advent calendars. There is a giant fabric one from Pottery Barn Kids hanging on the front door. I fill each pocket with something for either my husband or I, or something we can do for or give to others. There is a wooden one in the kitchen with little drawers that I fill with special chocolates. In the hall we have a quilted one I made years ago. On the kitchen counter there is also one where you move the old fashioned truck each day. And finally, in my office I have a paper one just like when I was little with the pictures behind each window. That one brings back so many nostalgic memories.

My love of Christmas is what sparked my decision to set my debut cozy mystery, A Christmas Candy Killing, during the holidays. Identical twin sisters, Alex and Hanna, also sport a German heritage. Quite the coincidence, eh? They also have a love of decorating and there are lots of descriptions in the book to get you into the holiday mood. There’s enough talk about chocolate in the book to keep you drooling to the end. You will want to stock up on your favorite chocolate treats before you sit down to read. I’d love to know what Christmas traditions you celebrate at Christmas. Catch up with me on one of my socials. Until then Merry Murder.

Thanks so much for sharing your Christmas traditions.

 You can find Christina on Facebook and Instagram@ChristinaRomerilWriter as well as at www.christinaromeril.com.  

Sidekicks

Favorite Sidekicks by Christina Romeril

Christina Romeril

Christina and I have become friends through agency Zoom meetings. I’m excited she agreed to spend time talking sidekicks with us.

There is a truth universally acknowledged, that sidekicks, especially interesting and quirky ones, are a necessary staple of cozy mysteries. A cozy without its sidekicks would be like a hot fudge sundae without the hot fudge. The sidekick(s) give a cozy the pizzazz.  

When I was young, in my Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew phase, I was determined to be either a sleuth or a sidekick. On one occasion, I actually set out on my bicycle to solve a mystery, but I got tired halfway to my destination and went to Dairy Queen instead. If only I’d had Trixie by my side to keep me focused. 

Let’s review the purpose of a sidekick in a cozy:    

  • They give the MC (main character) someone she can bounce ideas off. 
  • Some of these quirky characters help solve the mystery.  
  • The sidekick provides the MC someone to involve in their hijinks. 
  • Sidekicks can help add some humor to the story.  
  • They can provide information or clues. 
  • A good sidekick can help the MC get into or out of trouble. 
  • They also provide the opportunity for interesting subplots. 

There are several sidekicks I particularly enjoy in the many cozy mystery series I read. But one of my absolute favorites is Lance from Ellie Alexander’s Bakeshop Mystery series. He is the artistic director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and has such a fun and quirky personality. I adore his sarcastic sense of humor. I can see us going for many a yummy beverage at a local coffee shop while he tells me the inside scoop on the town’s inhabitants. I would definitely want him to be my BFF if I lived in Ashland. 

Sidekicks come in all shapes and sizes. Some sleuths don’t have one particular individual that helps them solve the crimes, but instead have a small group of characters that collectively help, or hinder, as the case may be. I love Libby Klein’s Poppy McAllister’s senior sidekicks’ shenanigans. J.C. Eaton also have a fabulous set of senior sidekicks in their Sophie Kimball Mystery series. And finally, Jackie Layton’s got a plethora of fun and interesting side characters in her Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series, including a darn cute German shepherd named Sunny. 

If I were to advertise for a sidekick it would sound something like this: Seeking sarcastic, funny, adventure loving sidekick over thirty (better make that forty, I’m no spring chicken.) Will even consider furry, four-legged canine over two. Quirky, eccentric, and unconventional traits would be considered an asset.  

My upcoming debut novel, A Christmas Candy Killing, also happens to have a cast of quirky sidekicks. My favorite of the bunch is a retired pharmacist and hypochondriac named Drew Fletcher. My sleuth even has a twin sister, Hanna, to help her explore her inner Miss Marple 2.0.  

A Christmas Candy Killing

Now that I’ve told you about my favorite sidekicks, tell me about yours! You can find me on Facebook and Instagram @ChristinaRomerilWriter as well as at www.christinaromeril.com.  

Christina, thanks so much for visiting today. It’s been fun!