Monday, 18 November 2013

Betsy J. Bennett: Santa Takes A Wife

Please help us welcome back, Betsy J. Bennett, to Heart of Fiction. Betsy visited us before with her book, The Frog Kiss. Today she sees the release of her next book. Santa Takes A Wife . . . just in time for the holidays!

Betsy is an avid reader and a prolific writer. When she's not spending time with her family, she can always be found either writing or researching her next novel.

Tirgearr Publishing is hosting their annual 5-in-5 Ring in the Holidays Event this week -- five books published over five days, all holiday inspired. Santa Takes A Wife is the first out of the gate.

Nicholas St. Noel is Santa's son. It's time to pass the reigns, so to speak, and Nicholas not only finds himself inheriting the Santa position, but also needing a wife. Every Santa needs a Mrs. Santa, right?

Beth Anderson has always been a Christmas enthusiast. Her collection of Santa figurines and memorabilia is quite extensive. When she meets Nicholas, he seems the perfect man for her, but his claim to be Santa . . . the REAL Santa . . . is quite unbelievable. Can Nicholas convince Beth he's the real McCoy, so to speak? What does Beth think about spending the rest of her life in the wilds of the North Pole? You'll have to read the book to find out!

Santa Takes A Wife is a romance in the classic style of romance storytelling, with all the glitz and celebration of Christmas. Love, the holidays, excitement, adventure . . . it's all wrapped up neatly in this lovely story. If you're looking for something inspiring to read over the holidays, this book ticks all the boxes. Maybe by the end, you'll believe Santa exists too!

Before we check out the excerpt, remember, Betsy is giving away a copy of Santa Takes A Wide to one lucky commenter today. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you.

Also, in Tirgearr's 5-in-5 event, all commenters this week will be put into a draw for the grand prize at the end of the week -- all FIVE books published this week. PLUS the three books from last years' event. That's *EIGHT* books to one lucky commenter. Be *sure* to leave your email address so we can contact you.

And if you're on Facebook, Tigearr is running the same event on their events page. Double your chances of winning by joining the event there and leaving your comments --

• • • 

He was Santa Claus...wasn't he?

Nicholas St. Noel knew what to do to make children happy and he knew where every gift in his over-packed sleigh had to go until one Christmas when there was a gift he could not deliver.

It was time to choose a wife.

Beth Anderson believes in Christmas and in Santa Claus. She'd been relentlessly teased her whole life since she caught the real Santa as a child. But was she willing to give up her family and move to the North Pole and live with a thousand miserable elves?

Marlett shuffled his feet in the clean straw. “Was there a problem?” 

“Problem?” Nicholas ground his teeth together and spoke sharper than he intended. 

Although a creature who laughed every day of his life, over the past twenty centuries, Marlett had clearly become sensitive to the moods of his Santas. “Come in the house, Nicholas. I’ve got hot chocolate waiting.”

“I can’t.”

“It’s easy enough to do. You put one foot in front of the other, it’s called walking.” Marlett’s eyes twinkled. He was used to being obeyed. Every Santa Claus for two thousand years had complied.

Nicholas looked past him into a morning sky where the sun wouldn’t rise for another three or four months. “I have to go back out.”

“No, you don’t. Don’t be ridiculous. It’s late, you need rest.”

Nicholas removed his hat, then ran his hands through sweat-soaked hair. This one day a year it was longer than he normally wore it, and his beard had come in, full and bushy. “You don’t understand. One present hasn’t been delivered.” 

Marlett must have heard the desperation that spoke of pain. “I was wondering when that was going to happen.”

“What do you mean?” Nicholas wasn’t a man who could swear, but at times like this, it would certainly come in handy. “Is this your doing?” 

“Then your father didn’t tell you?”

Nicholas snorted, sounding, oddly enough, like the reindeer which had just left. The previous Santa Claus had not been known for long heart-to-hearts with his son.

The jingling sound of Marlett’s bells was jarring, invasive. “Nicholas, get the present. I know what it is. The fact that you could not deliver this is not the disaster you think. You are still Santa. You haven’t lost any of your ability. I’ll explain.”

Nicholas released the top button of his suit and exhaled slowly, letting a long stream of breath escape. 

“The problems of the world cannot be solved over cookies and hot chocolate.”

“This one can. Your father—” he started, but Nicholas cut him off.

“I am not my father. I can never be my father.”

“No one’s forcing you to be, are they?” 

Nicholas growled. That was exactly what they were trying to do. He was supposed to be his father. Wasn’t that the whole point? The fear which had held him in such thrall hadn’t dissipated. It tightened his guts, made his muscles weak, his head spin. 

Exhausted, bone-weary, Nicholas slumped against a barn wall, sinking slowly until he sat in the straw. His head dropped low on his broad shoulders. His hands shook. “Tell me what it is, before I take another step.”

Marlett climbed into the sleigh, pulling himself up, then disappeared momentarily. He reappeared with the gift. The wrapped package was small, tiny almost, compared to the size of most gifts Santa delivered. 

Odd, Nicholas thought, he hadn’t known it was there and he’d always known before.

“Here, open it,” Marlett said, after he climbed out again.

“Are you telling me this is my gift?”

“Yes, and no.” 

“Which is it?” Nicholas didn’t have strength in his arms to reach out.

“Open the gift, then we’ll talk.” Marlett tossed it gently and the present landed unopened into his lap. Nicholas wasn’t certain he could control the tremors in his hands enough to get them to tear ribbon and paper. “I can’t do it,” he said. He closed his eyes as a dozen conflicting emotions battled within him, topped by the two most prominent: exhaustion and despair.

Marlett retrieved the box and did the deed himself. He revealed a small jeweler’s box, and inside a diamond ring, the stone modest, probably a half carat. He handed the box over to Nicholas, who handed it right back.

“I know what that is,” Nicolas said. “Although my experience is limited, I can tell you this isn’t the type of present Santa normally delivers.”

Marlett laughed until the barn rafters echoed with the sound. “Have you never heard how Santa takes a wife?”
• • •

Betsy J. Bennett lives in Michigan with her husband, two adult daughters, three obnoxious cats and an English bulldog. She has five grandchildren. She collects dragons, creche's and Santas. She has always believed in Christmas and in Santa, and although she has yet to meet the real Santa, she has hope that with the publication of this book he'll seek her out. She is currently at work on her next novel.

Find Betsy online --


  1. Welcome back, Betsy! Congratulations on the release of another fabulous story. I love the premise of this one. Tell us where did you get the idea for this story.

  2. I'm not a big Xmas fan and usually do what I can to avoid it; but now that there are kids, I'm at least enjoying it on their behalf. The three year old is just old enough to really go wild on it for the first time.

  3. Congrats on your new release. The story sounds great.

  4. Thanks for the comments. I'm happy to be back with another novel. I read tons of romance novels, but no where had I found one with Santa as a hero. That was an oversight I clearly had to rectify.

    I agree, children make Christmas special. I've got plans for almost every day through the rest of the year, decorating, cooking, and making ornaments with my grandkids.

    I hope you enjoy the novel, and the other Tirgearr books out this holiday season.

  5. Congrats on your new release Betsy! Sounds like a lovely story. :)

  6. I appreciate your comment.

    On my blog I am giving away a free download of my short story "The Missing Present". Santa makes an appearance in the story, as does Marlett, Santa's chief elf. It's a fun holiday story and hopefully will give you an idea how I write.

    I hope you enjoy it.

  7. Oh this sounds like a fun story! Good luck with your sales!

  8. Thanks for your comment. I am looking forward to your Trouble with Holly.
    It's miserable cold here in Michigan, just right for wrapping in a warm blanket and sharing the Christmas loves found in our novels.

    Also before I forget, I'd like to thank Heart of Fiction for hosting us.

  9. Betsy, we're always happy to host you. You'll be back in the new year with The Puzzle next. :-)

    Tell us something interesting to pique our interests in Santa Takes A Wife . . . like, who did you picture as Nicholas St Noel as you were writing. He's not really the Nicholas Cage type. We girls want to know the nitty gritty on your holiday hero!

  10. With the understanding that Nicholas Cage is getting old (I mean, like the rest of us), in his prime there was no one better, was there? But as to who would play him in the movie, I'm going to leave that up to the director, producer, etc. of the Hallmark channel. I'm really bad at choosing actors.

    But something to pique your interest in Santa Takes a Wife? It's a traditional romance but Beth's family is at the core of it, with a nephew with cancer, a grandmother getting too old to be in control of the party planning, the stress of the season of trying to do everything right, and right this minute. There's gingerbread and mistletoe and a sleigh with reindeer. Hopefully you'll feel love and tears, and a very strong belief in Christmas

    And something else about this book, I fell in love with it so much, that I am writing a sequel. Not to give too much of the ending of Santa Takes a Wife away, but the sequel is called Yes, Virginia, the title taken from the 1897 Francis Church editorial in the NY Sun newspaper. If you haven't read it, (the editorial, not the book, that's not finished) you should find it. It's a beautiful statement of belief in Santa.

  11. Great excerpt! It sounds like an awesome story!

  12. Thanks for your comment. It was a fun book to write.

  13. I love the idea of Santa taking a wife but is the woman ready to take on everything that entails Love the excerpt. Looking forward to reading. Happy Holidays!


  14. I loved the excerpt that I saw at Tirgearr Publishing. I loved that he was setting up the Christmas tree!