Author Override is the place where authors take the reins and take you on a journey into their world. Some may allow you into their private writing dens. Others may take you along with them on research trips or interviews. Whatever the case may be, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because here you’ll get an in-depth look into an author’s musings.

The holidays just wouldn’t be the holidays without the Lane Family Sugar Cookies. And while the frosted confections are very similar to Lays Potato Chips—you can’t eat just one—it’s not the cookies themselves that have become the tradition as much as “sugar cookie baking day.” I don’t remember my very first baking day, but my mother often told the story of me biting my Granny T on the leg when she refused to let me eat the raw dough. (Okay, so I was a wee bit spoiled, but I was only two.)

My mom would always make the cookie dough the night before and put it in the refrigerator where the quadrupled recipe took up one entire shelf. The three mixing bowls of dough would make enough for our large family of six and half the neighborhood, which was why it took an entire day to bake and decorate the cookies. It was such a tedious process that my older siblings took shifts. I, on the other hand, remained right next to my mother’s side, waiting for that chance to sneak some dough.

Over the years, I’ve become the host for “sugar cookie baking day.” Like my mother, I make the dough the night before. Unlike her, I only double the recipe. The following morning, my daughters arrive bright and early with excited grandbabes in tow. While Christmas carols blast from the iPod player, we roll, cut, bake, and frost until my kitchen is filled with the scent of almond extract (family secret) and my counters are filled with bright red and green frosted cookies. My oldest granddaughter likes to choose the cookie cutters, my youngest likes to break the eggs—usually by squeezing them in between her chubby, little fingers. And when their mommy isn’t looking, they both love to sneak the dough.

This Granny doesn’t say a word:o)

Lane Family Sugar Cookie Recipe

¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar with a mixer. Mix in almond extract and eggs one at a time. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and gradually add to the butter and egg mixture until incorporated. Refrigerate dough for 3 hours or overnight. Roll out dough and cut into shapes, place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake at 375 degrees until set. (7 to 8 minutes) Cool and frost with your favorite vanilla cream frosting.

Hi, everyone! I would love to hear about your holiday traditions. And be sure to stop by and say “hi” anytime.

Before I was born, my parents lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment in Elmhurst, NY in the borough of Queens. My father was Jewish and Brooklyn-born, while Mom was an Episcopalian farm girl from South Carolina. So holidays were problematic from both a faith and space viewpoint. There wasn’t much room for a Christmas tree in the tiny apartment, there was no hearth to hang stockings on, and Pop was ambivalent about both Christmas and Hanukah. (Much like my heroine’s father in Last Chance Christmas.)

So Mom tried to keep holidays low key. But Mom’s older sister, my Aunt Annie, who had also emigrated to New York from the South, was definitely not down with Mom’s program. She felt that every child should have at least a secular Christmas. And she was not about to let her two, young nephews go without stockings big enough for Santa to fill with lots and lots of loot.

Annie was quite a seamstress, in addition to being a nurse at St. Luke’s Episcopal hospital in Manhattan. She pulled out her Singer Featherweight sewing machine and made red felt stockings for everyone in the family – not just my brothers – but for Mom and Pop and even for herself. The first year my family used these stockings, they were hung on the brand new television set in the tiny living room of the Elmhurst apartment. And Aunt Annie had a pipeline to Santa, because those stockings were filled on Christmas morning.

The next year – the year I was born – the family moved into a new house with bedrooms galore out in the suburbs of Nassau County. A new, matching sock was created for yours-truly, and an angel applique was added to every stocking to celebrate my arrival. The applique began a very long tradition.

Aunt Annie added appliques every year. And when my brothers got married, new socks were made for them and their wives and then their children and the applique collection would start from scratch. When I was twenty-five and a young wife, Aunt Annie turned the stocking tradition over to me. I made appliques for years until I the family got so big I had to turn over part of the job to my niece. The original felt stockings are long gone, worn out with much use and covered over with appliques. But many new stockings have been made over the years.

Last year was my granddaughter’s first Christmas. So I had to make a new sock for her. Her name is Isabella, but we call her Ella. So I put the short name on her sock, and dressed up a lower case “I” for her applique. I patterned the sock it after her father’s, whose first name just happens to be Ramsay. Here are some photos of the sock as it was put together.

Follow the tour


Always putting business before pleasure, Cassie McPherson works hard for her family’s construction business. That might explain why she doesn’t have a date for the company Christmas party. But it doesn’t quite explain why she’s crazy enough to hire an escort for the event or – crazier still – why she’s dying to unwrap him like a present . . .

With whiskey-colored eyes and a killer smile, James is one gorgeous hunk who really knows how to fill out a tuxedo. He charms everyone, including Cassie. And when the night ends, the party doesn’t stop. As Cassie falls, literally, into his bed, James falls head over heels in love. Now he has to figure out a way to tell her the truth: he’s not an escort. He’s her family’s fiercest business rival. But all he wants for Christmas is her . . .

Dear Reader,
I’ve been wishing for a miracle for my oldest boy, Stone, and this Christmas my prayers might just be answered!

Her name is Lark, and she’s here in Last Chance, looking into her father’s past-and stirring up a whole mess of trouble without meaning to. As the chief of police, Stone sure has his hands full trying to keep up with her. Ever since his wife died, Stone’s put everything into raising his daughters and dodging the Christ Church Ladies’ Auxiliary matchmakers. And it’s clear Lark has been through some trouble and could use a place to finally call home. I only hope Stone can let go of the past soon enough to keep her . . . Goodness, I need to stop talking and finish up Jane’s highlights so we can make the town tree-lighting. You come back by because the Cut ‘n’ Curl’s got hot rollers, free coffee, fresh-baked Christmas cookies-and the best gossip in town.

See you real soon,
Ruby Rhodes

Forever Romance is hosting a wonderful giveaway!  One lucky maiden will get these two books (finished copies), plus an ARC to Katie’s next book TROUBLE IN TEXAS which comes out in December and a free read of Hope’s e-only novella LAST CHANCE BRIDE with a link through netgalley! 

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  1. My family and I make cookies for the holidays and decorate the tree and decorate the house together. I also like watching the Hallmark movies.

  2. Thanks for the spotlight on both books – and for sharing the traditions of both Katie and Hope’s families. Our family’s Christmas tradition is pretty much about the holiday baking – it’s pretty much something we all do – my mom and I do a lot of baking, my sister and her kids do their own baking and then my other sister and her son do a lot of baking – we all love to make cookies and breads to share with friends and our loved ones. It works out great because some years one group is not as productive as the other group so there’s always plenty to go around – we would do it all in one kitchen but there’s too many of us to do that:) Thanks for the great giveaway!

  3. Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by and reading my article. Best of luck to you all in the giveaway and keep sharing your family traditions. I truly do believe that it’s the traditions that make Christmas such a wonderful time of year. (And yeah, I do a lot of baking too — it’s the one time of year I don’t worry about how many cookies I eat.

  4. thanks for a great post and congrats on the upcoming releases!

    Ummm… we don’t really do holiday traditions other than show up 🙂

  5. I am so waiting to get my hands on both of these books.. Great spolight on both books.

    One of our Christmas traditons are that now gifts are opened until Christmas Day.. Not matter where you are. I know a lot of people will open their gifts Christmas Eve or maybe just open one on Christmas eve, but we don’t. It was something my Mom and Dad always made us do. Even though they are both gone from us, we still do not open our gifts from each other until Christmas Day..

  6. My mother used to bake lots of Christmas cookies and when I got married and lived 1200 miles from my family, I picked up the Christmas Cookie tradition. As a young married woman I baked dozens of cookie and many different types in order to makes platters of cookies to take to homes that my hubby and I visited. Last year I began the tradition again with my young granddaughter. She is becoming quite a fantaastic little baker!

  7. Just call us grinches. We no longer do anything for Christmas. It stopped about 20 years ago when my mom had it because we weren’t appreciating the holiday for what it really was. No more gifts, decorating etc. We, when together, still have a nice meal but that’s it. Things are calmer, temperments more level, etc. We have no children in the family so that makes it easier.

    In general, I think people overdo it in terms of presents and activities. It should be more about doing things and spending time together.

  8. We always watch a movie on Christmas Eve, before we get the plate together for Santa.

    I’m going to have to try the cookie baking thing.

    I wish I knew how to sew.. Homemade stockings would be SO cool.

  9. Every Christmas eve we have an appetizer night. The whole family gets together and we have nothing but all kinds of appetizers and desserts for dinner.

  10. Congrats on the new releases. Both books sound fantastic. I don’t really have any holiday traditions. Sometimes we bake cookies, sometimes we walk/drive around and look at the Christmas lights, we do watch all the holiday movies and specials.

  11. When I first met my husband 20 years ago and started going to his house for Christmas they used to rush through opening gifts all at the same time. It drove me crazy because you couldn’t see what everyones reaction was to what you gave them or see what someone else gave them. And you know you wait a whole year for that one night/day for it to be over in 10 minutes. So I after a year or two I finally talked them into doing it the way my family had always done Christmas gift opening….

    Youngest to oldest, one at a time, all sitting together in a circle so everyone could see each other and take pictures, etc. My husband and I were only 16 when we met so it was really cool that as we we married and had our families (his brother and us) we do the same thing at our respective houses as we do at theirs. Our kids ages 14 to 8 insist on it! And what do you know his parents who were so reluctant to the idea at first love it too!

  12. Enjoyed reading the comments. Thanks for the recipe. One of the traditions I had with my children was they had to make each other a gift. Even to this day, they try to out-do each other on what they make. Luckily, one of my sons is very handy in the wood shop and the other is very artistic so they have given each other some wonderful things. And for me too.

  13. I also like to bake and usually make cookies for all my friends and family for the holidays. My favorite part of the Christmas season is decorating the tree. We have many ornaments passed down in our family and I love to unwrap them every year!

  14. Hi all! I just loved reading about your family traditions. My family goes through stages of when they want to open gifts–sometimes we do it on Christmas morning and sometimes the night before. It just depends on when we can get everyone together. Ha! Thanks so much for stopping by Under the Covers and posting a comment. Good Luck in the giveaway, and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with many fun traditions:o)

  15. We have several traditions

    One on Christmas eve where the kids get their stocking, we read and watch the polar express …

    One Christmas morning from 7-9 we get the kids to open present here at home then we all go and gather at my parents from 10-1 and have brunch then we head to my fiance’s family and have gift exchange and dinner…

    Yup busy day but this has worked for us for the last 11 years and everyone is happy to see each other and spend the holiday together in one form or fashion…

    We also send gifts to family that is out of state…

  16. One of my very favorite traditions when I was younger was that the whole family would gather each year at my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve (all of their 11 children & their families, usually a couple of friends, etc too). After dinner, my grandfather would read the story of the first Christmas aloud from his bible. Even the youngest of the children would get quiet and listen closely. Since his passing, I have been glad to have a few years of this tradition on DVD so that I can relive the memory.

  17. on Xmas eve my family and I go to church ….then everyone meets up at my house to decorate he tree, eat, drink, watch all 24 hrs of a Christmas story and open our Pollyanna gifts….then on Xmas we open our gifts from Santa and just relax all day

    [email protected]

  18. My favorite holiday tradition is when my sister and I would hop in the car (taking along anyone else who wanted to go) and drive around town checking out all the lights and decorations on Christmas night. Then we’d come back home and have a nice piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

  19. Great post. I love the tradition of baking cookies and the stockings. I’ve got a brand new granddaughter also and would love to start a tradition for her. This is a good idea.

  20. I didn’t really help out much with the baking when I was young. I think I just got in the way or something. LOL And now, I don’t have a family of my own so I don’t really do anything special.
    Thank you for this opportunity!


  21. We have loads of traditions. My favorite one is going to the drive thru lights display. We always bring loads of canned foods and pay for the car behind us. We have no idea who they are. They dont know us and there will be no stopping along the way. So no chance for them to ask or anything. I love it. I do it sometimes in drive thrus. I take off and they have no idea who I am. LOL Its one of my favorite things.
    lisakhutson (at) cox net}

  22. I couldn’t help myself. I had to stop back by and read more of your stories. Who knows, maybe one of your traditions will end up in a Christmas story;o)

    Thanks so much for sharing.


  23. Great spotlight post. We bake sometimes but not every year. When I was young I remember baking SandTarts. We do put out stockings each year even if they aren’t homemade – which is lovely.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  24. Hi Katie. I love your books.
    Our holiday tradition is to make dumplings/sliders. There made with flour and turkey broth mixed on a flat surface and the rolled out and cut into squares. You then drop then into boiling broth until cooked. They are fabulous.
    Have a wonderful holiday.
    [email protected]

  25. Our holiday traditions are to go to church with my mom, then go to my mom and dad’s house and open presents from them. Then we come home and open presents at our house. And of course we eat and eat and eat.

  26. My mother had a set of Christmas dishes and glasses that we used during the month of Dec. They have now been passed on to one of my sons and I have a new set of my own. It’s not Christmas without Christmas dishes!

  27. I liked christmas for we’d make cookies and since I had so many friends fighting in Desert Storm and this war we send care packages out to the soldiers, it started when my cousni was sent to iet Nam and he would share his goodoes so we just continue it each year. My 2 like doing their part by getting things that the soldiers may like not just cookies.Its our way of ging back to them [email protected]