Cozy mystery author Deborah Garner has recently released MISTLETOE AT MOONGLOW – in time for the holidays.
A Christmas novella with cookie recipes included!
The Timberton Hotel has always provided a perfect Christmas retreat for regular guests, as well as newcomers. But the small town of Timberton, Montana, hasn't been the same since resident chef and artist, Mist, arrived, bringing a unique new age flavor to the old western town. When guests check in for the holidays, they bring along worries, fears and broken hearts, unaware that Mist has a way of working magic in people's lives. Old-fashioned time spent together, exquisite food, conversation and a snowball or two offer guests a chance to trade sadness for hope. One thing is certain: no matter how cold winter's grip is on each guest, no one leaves Timberton without a warmer heart.
Mist lit the kerosene lantern and placed it on the table next to her bed. Though a flip of a switch would have let the marvels of modern electricity light the room, the softer glow of the lantern always fit her evening mood.
Sketchpad in her lap, she curled up on the bed and stared at the blank page, envisioning the scenes that would unfold over the next few days as the guests arrived. A widow, revisiting a favorite lodging, without the husband who’d always been with her. A child, the only one in a hotel full of adults. Two single men, both scholarly, she imagined, based on one’s profession and the other’s reading habits. And a woman from Arizona, who had never seen snow. Each person would bring varied energy to the mix.
Of course, there were the townspeople, as well. She had already expected a larger crowd than Betty and Clive predicted. There weren't any other options for dining, other than staying home. And a few might do that. But more would show up, not just to be fed, but for the camaraderie. Clayton, the fire chief, and his crew, were always guaranteed to be there. The same was true of Marge, who ran the local candy shop, plus a few other regular Timberton folks.
And then there was Hollister, the town’s one homeless person. Mist had kept watch over him since she first arrived in Timberton. He might not sit at a table with others, his reaction to social situations still unpredictable. But she knew he would eat whatever she fixed for him, just as she knew he would be grateful.
She picked up a charcoal pencil, closed her eyes and opened them again, transferring the images of Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas brunch from her imagination to paper. She could see it clearly when she planned a meal – not just the menu or food, but the table setting, the decorations, the contrast of colors and shapes on each plate, artistic arrangements of outstanding cuisine. Every aspect of a meal was part of a whole, not merely an individual component. It all started in her imagination as one picture, later separated into pieces and recreated amidst participants.
She could taste each ingredient as she planned its role.
She could see the colors and textures combining as they came together.
She could feel the emotions hovering in the room.
Sometimes she wondered if she thrived on the anticipation of an event as much as the event itself. She loved weaving the empathic aspects of each occasion, the tender piecing together of carefully selected ingredients – culinary, visual, and spatial – into a tapestry of sensations. An apple was not merely an apple. It was fresh air and crisp autumn leaves, a rich sunset, and a child’s hand reaching for a cinnamon stick. A ribbon of pasta was wheat in the late afternoon light. It was the tie that bound a family together in joy and grief.
She pulled out a metal container of pastels, dented from years of use. How many shades of red were there in a Christmas memory? How many variations of green in the foliage of faith? Of ivory in a gift’s bow? Of blue in the sky of a new year’s first day?
A tap on the door brought Mist out of her contemplation. She set her sketching aside and stood, crossed the room and opened the door, surprised to find Betty in the hallway, a worried look on her face…
About Deborah Garner
Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.