Season’s Greetings from Point Shirley, MA

As the holidays whoosh around the corner like Santa’s sleigh, I reflect fondly on childhood Christmases.  What were the holidays like for you?

Penning my latest Marjorie Gardens Mystery brought me closer to our favorite defense attorney, Isis Ferrelli. She had much to reflect on during this season of giving, and even more to be thankful for at the end of her Christmas tale.

Let’s take a look at how her thoughts went from Ba Humbug to the Bells of New York City, in this latest Digital Age Cozy… A Killer App.

The morning of Christmas Eve was always the best for me as a kid. Fernozas from far and wide filled our narrow Victorian home in New York.

My mother and aunts cooked the whole day. The house remained infused with the aroma of savory and sweet baked goods.

For hours, my father and uncles talked shop, a mixture of arguments over money and laughter.

My brothers, cousins, and I bubbled with holiday excitement. With hoots and hollers, we ran up and down the stairs during games. We charged out of the house and into the snow, then back inside again.

Everyone would compare us to those “kids raised in barns”. We never remembered to close the door behind us.

Instantly worrying about my brother’s latest involvement with our uncle made me reminisce to when we were kids. As the youngest, he was always a rebel. Every childhood Christmas, some sort of sibling dispute broke out between him and Antonio.

Being the middle child, I was caught up in their brawls. Sometimes, I was able to separate them. During others, I had to battle them both on my own.

 But there was never any mistake about how much we loved each other. Even when Junior refused to abide by our father’s rule: Avoid any business with the other Fernozas at all costs.

 Born on Christmas, I was the kid cheated out of presents. My brothers got gifts twice a year. Mine counted for two occasions. For once, I wished I could’ve enjoyed a birthday that was solely mine.

 No chance of that happening, the only bright side was when Antonio got older. He complained of having suckier Christmases than me. My father started grooming him to take over the family restaurant. Poor Antonio received chef hats, aprons, and cooking utensils.

 Of course, it’s silly, looking back on it now. Back then, not so much. No, now there’s a whole new pain for me as a grown up.

 Mama Ferrelli was a stickler for having the perfect decorations. And she made our home a yuletide wonder with panache. But it was never simply a Christmas celebration. There were always balloons and a Happy Birthday banner wrapped around the spruce tree for me. She tried her best to give my day.

 I’m fully aware I was one of the most fortunate girls on the block. And all I could ever wish for now is….I want my mama.


 Poor Isis! Many of us can relate to being separated from family during the holidays. But I promise you this is one story with a loving and remarkably happy ending.

 So, go and grab an eggnog, cozy up in your favorite chair by the fire, and read the latest adventure to hit Point Shirley like the snowstorm that turned Deidre Mason into a snowman.


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Published by A.E.H. Veenman, Author

My passion for writing began with a hunger for books from fellow New Jerseyan Judy Blume, and Nancy Drew mysteries. And each Saturday, a side dish of The Hardy Boys whet my appetite for hunting down clues and solving crime. Thus began a three-course menu for becoming a writer. For hors d’oeuvres, I sampled women’s fiction for a bit with novels, All Waters Gathering (2008) and Carruther’s Place (2011). It wasn’t until I realized murder should really be on the menu when the main course became my thriller, Barbecue (2011). My plate’s not quite clean of things that go bump in the night—plenty of horror and creepy thrillers in the works!—but one must always save room for dessert. Rich and sweet came Dial QR for Murder, the first Digital Age Cozy™ in the Marjorie Gardens Mystery series. And I haven’t reached the icing on the cake just yet! I couldn’t have enjoyed this feast of writing from my home in Holland without my husband and our daughter—to who I owe thanks for all their patience and compassion when (at times) I bit off more than I could chew! A.E.H. Veenman is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Crime Writers' Association (UK).

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