A few years ago—about the time my hometown of Springfield, Missouri decided to ban cigarette smoking in all public places—the local news ran a story of a small downtown bar and the woman who owned it. She was pretty upset about the new ordinance; her clientele came for affordable drinks and a smoke (and a bit of camaraderie and good conversation) at the end of a long day. She was older, and had been running this bar for I forget how many decades, and she insisted she knew how to do one thing really well—run that bar.
For some reason, the image that ran in the story—a closeup of her face peering from the front plate-glass window—really stuck with me. I kept coming back to that image, playing with possible scenarios for a story.
In 2017, I drafted a novella titled Christmas at Ruby’s, about a woman who had also been good at running a small-town Missouri bar…so good, in fact, that she was still running it, years after her own death.
My fictional Ruby’s Place is a bar populated by the ghosts of Christmases past. A nightspot where the term “spirits” refers to far more than just the top-shelf liquors…and it’s also a place where, on Christmas Eve, the living can enjoy one more evening with a long-lost loved one. Where it’s possible to connect with the dearly departed—to finally express what you never got to say. Perhaps to show gratitude. Express love. Explain a wrong. Even tell them you’re sorry.
After all, I thought—what would be a better Christmas gift that one more night with a loved one you had assumed you would never see again?
Readers connected with the Christmas at Ruby’s novella—so much so, I wrote and published another installment in 2018 (I Remember You). And now, this year, I’m releasing yet another Ruby’s Place novel, Sentimental Journey. The stakes are higher than ever in Sentimental Journey—the bar is in danger. A face from the past has returned to the small town of Sullivan, Missouri. And he’s determined to get his revenge…
You can snag your own copy of Sentimental Journey at:
Each book in the Ruby’s Place Christmas series is standalone, and you don’t need to have read the other two releases in order to dive straight into Sentimental Journey. But for those who are interested in the full series, I have placed the entire collection to date on Amazon in a single download:
You can snag the full Ruby’s Place Christmas Collection on Amazon.