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Dear Friends,

I hope you all had as nice of a Thanksgiving as was possible in this upside-down year! It was just my husband and myself, but we forced ourselves to do the usual feast and actually put on somewhat nice clothes, and it did make the day feel different from the past 1000 days or so of pandemic life. We Zoomed with our kids and other family the day after because it was too complicated to schedule a time on the actual holiday, what with all the different time zones and feasting.

And now it's the holiday season, all of a sudden! I can't explain how enchanting—and confusing—it is to this former Chicagoan to look outside her door every day now and see gorgeous camellia trees in full bloom, while at the same time putting up the tree and decking the halls.

The tree is up now—we wrestled a bit over where it should go; a new house means new decorating challenges—and here I am about to hang my beloved Cubs ornament. You can't take the Chicago out of the girl, no matter how much she's enjoying her new home! 

We're not going to be with family on Christmas, either, due to the pandemic. But I'm going to be making Christmas cookies and sending them to my sons, who swear Christmas isn't Christmas without them. And even though we're not doing much in the way of gifts this year, since several of us have been affected financially by the pandemic, I am going to send some gift cards to local independent bookstores. One son is in Phoenix, so he gets a card to Poisoned Pen; my other son and his fiancée are in Chicago so they get card to Unabridged Books. My husband is getting a gift card to Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA, which is the closest independent bookstore to us now. Please consider doing the same thing for your family and friends; independent bookstores are really hurting during this crisis. Here's a great resource for finding bookstores or supporting them online.

And it's just over a month before The Children's Blizzard is out! I'll be listing my virtual appearances for it in the next newsletter, as well as pointing you toward where you can order signed copies of the book. Since I can't travel these days, all my events will be online, so anyone can pop in to see me. That's one blessing of the pandemic book tour! And you can preorder the book at your favorite bookstore or in the usual online places.

Bookshop Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million Powells Hudson Target iTunes Google Play Kobo

I'll have my finished copies of the book soon, so stay tuned for another giveaway. And if you don't already follow me on Instagram, please consider doing so. Every Friday I'm suggesting a book and movie pairing to enjoy (kind of like a wine pairing), and it's called "Melanie's Friday Flicks and Picks." This is an Instagram-only feature, and you can follow me there at @melaniebenjamin_author.

Talk to you soon—and I'll share my Christmas cookie cutout recipe in the next newsletter!



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Melanie Benjamin

P.O. Box 6613
Napa, CA 94581

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