Monday, November 9, 2015

Blog Tour: Excerpt of Merry Mary and Guest post from Ashley Farley

Today, in celebration of the release of Ashley Farley's novella Merry Mary, I am happy to share with you an excerpt from the story. Ashley has also been so kind to join in with a guest post talking about her favourite holiday memories.

Excerpt from Merry Mary

“Shh, don’t cry,” she said, rubbing the baby’s tummy.

     What would become of the baby? Scottie didn’t think the Commonwealth had the authority to place the baby up for adoption without permission of next of kin, which meant the baby would be placed in a foster home until the police could track down the father. If the father even wanted the child. If the father even knew he was the father.

     The baby began to wail, presumably with hunger. “Don’t worry, little one.” She picked the baby up and held her tight. “We’ll get it all sorted out. In the meantime, I have plenty of formula and diapers to keep you comfortable.”

     By the time Scottie got the baby inside, and mixed up a bottle from the supplies in her baby cabinet in the kitchen, the little girl was screaming, flailing her arms and legs in hunger. Scottie plopped down on the leather sofa in the adjoining family room, propped her snow boots up on the coffee table, and brought the bottle’s nipple to the baby’s mouth. The infant took the nipple between her lips, then thrust it back out with her tongue. Scottie turned the bottle upside down on her arm, letting a few drops of formula leak from the hole in the nipple, before returning the nipple to the baby’s lips. When she tasted the formula, the baby began to suck greedily.

     “Careful now, baby girl. Don’t drink too fast or you’ll upset your tummy.” The baby stared up at Scottie with bright eyes. “We need to give you a name, don’t we?”

     Scottie had been in the process of picking out names for her baby when her daughter was stillborn at thirty-one weeks. She’d been torn between Kate and Liza, after her grandmothers Katherine and Elizabeth. She ended up calling the baby Angel, which seemed appropriate for an innocent child who never drew her first breath.

     Scottie’s eyes traveled the room, coming to rest on the nativity scene on the mantle above the fireplace. “Why don’t we call you Mary after the Virgin Mary?” She caught sight of the needlepoint pillow Brad had brought down from the attic—a green background with Merry Christmas in curlicue script in red across the front. “Or Merry, which seems appropriate for a spunky little girl like you.”

     The baby stopped sucking and smiled up at her.

     “I agree,” Scottie said. “I like them both as well. Merry Mary it is, then.

Ashley Foley Guest Post


Holiday Memories

I have too many wonderful memories of the holidays to single out just one, but I’d like to share a few of them with you from different times of my life.

As a child, every year I anticipated my grandmother’s arrival for Christmas, almost as much as I did Santa Claus. The trunk of her Cadillac was akin to a pirate’s treasure chest. My grandmother was an amazing cook who spent the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas in her kitchen, baking. She brought triple-layered chocolate cakes and cheese biscuits and an assortment of cookies—my favorites were her Butterscotch Chow Mein Noodle cookies and her ultra rich chocolate fudge.

Sharing meals with my family has always been the highlight of my holidays—especially Christmas Eve dinner when anticipation is high, when the adults make merry while the children track Santa on their Santa-tracking apps. When I was young, our family spent hours crowded around the table in our tiny dining room, telling stories and catching up on the events of the previous year. Now, I’m the cook and the dining room is a bit larger, but the time spent together as a family is equally as special.

I’ve enjoyed every phase of my children’s lives, most especially the times we’ve spent together at Christmas. The parades and brunches and visits to Santa. The annual trip to Target to buy gifts for our angel-tree angel. My husband and I got a kick out of playing Santa Claus. We composed elaborate letters from Santa, which we printed on holiday stationary and stuffed in their stockings. My children cherished these letters as much as they did their gifts. 

As my children have grown older—both are in college now—my relationship with them has evolved. I look forward to our time together over the holidays. There are many things I enjoy. Visits with their friends, the constant revolving door of comings and goings. My son’s hunting gear crowding the back stoop. Making peppermint bark with my daughter. The last minute shopping, the joy and frustration of picking the right gifts. Staying up late on Christmas Eve, dancing in the kitchen and opening presents. I’m blessed to have a close relationship with my children, and I plan to enjoy them before I have to share them with their spouses and children. ;-)

I take so many things for granted, but I try to remember that the holidays aren’t necessarily a happy time for everyone. I reach out as much as possible through nonprofits or simply by saying a special prayer for those in need. Those who are homeless, or suffering from illness, or grieving the loss of loved ones. And we can’t forget the men and women in uniform who are stationed overseas, separated from their families during the holidays.

I wish you and your family a blessed holiday season.

I would like to thank Ashley for taking the time to share her memories with us. Reading her post has really made me take the time to reflect on my own memories and traditions. It is interesting to look back and remember how much changes over the years. One thing remains consistent throughout  and that is the focus on family.

I'd love to hear about your traditions and holiday memories as well. Please leave me a message in the comments.

Also check back tomorrow for the book tour and my review of Merry Mary.


  1. Such lovely memories..I love that some of the best memories are small things like dancing in the kitchen and baking. Thanks for hosting Melissa

    1. The simple memories are some of my favourites as well. It brings such a joyful mood to the season.
      Thanks for letting me host Kimba.