We’re 17 days away from a new year. Take that in for a second because I had to when I wrote. 17 Days. Day 348 of 2021.  How is that possible? Like seriously. Where did it go? It’s like I blinked and we’re a year older, and don’t I know it, too, lol. Just ask my back that seems to think it’s ready for the next surgery against my will.

It’s funny to even think about typing this, but I miss the slower pace from 2020. The closeness we all found with friends and family despite not being able to see them in person. It’s the little things that we’ve taken for granted in the busy hustle and bustle of life that I realized tonight I miss even more. It’s like this holiday season is both 2020 and 2021 events all wrapped into one short season. Between work, writing, parties, events, baking, gift exchanges, and everything else, it feels like I have had barely any time to breathe.

But then I think about the events of last weekend with the tragic tornadoes that swept across the Midwest, and my complaints about being busy seem so much less important. It really brought things into a new perspective for me. Holiday movies. Parties. Gifts. All of it means so little in the grand scheme of things when you think about all the families across Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky that have lost loved ones, their homes, their workplaces, or their entire community and are trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild. It breaks my heart and makes me take pause when I feel frustrated about not having time to do the things that I enjoy this time of year. That’s when inspiration hit.

Christmas isn’t about receiving gifts or being the best decorated house on the block. It’s about giving. That’s why I have joined forces with our local church community, including my own, and we’re gathering supplies to send down to the hardest hit communities. The first of what I can only imagine of many shipments will head down this weekend.

That is the true meaning of this season. Giving the gift of hope, and in the spirit of giving back to those who have supported me for so many years in this industry, I’m giving back to you all as well with free books. Not only is Dark Protector free right now, but you can also get a story that has never been released outside of its original anthology. Raze and Darcy’s Christmas wedding story, Silver Belles. Get yours here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/akyldlfgsa

Merry Christmas!