Stained Glass Secrets and Star Wishes A Christmas Cookies Novel by Celaine Charles Genre: Paranormal Holiday Romance
Ember McCoy, a young and stressed accountant, plans to spend Christmas alone at her family's lakeside cabin. But after a mysterious man offers his kindness and time, she begins to reassess her fast-paced world. Holding a star-shaped, stained-glass cookie up to the light, she makes a wish. Is the glistening candy-blue center a hopeful sign there may be more to her existence than the long work hours draining the joy from her life?
Laiken Devere, an Ashrai water fairy, laments the passing of his grandmother and his future in the shadows of his older brothers. To honor his grandmother, he visits the human world above James Lake, asking the stars to reveal his destiny. But why would fate lead him to an impossible relationship with a human, especially the sorrowful young Ember he found by the lake?
Does Ember and Laiken’s future together now rely on stained-glass secrets and star wishes?
Ember propped the flashlight against an inside corner of the snow castle. She took the bottle from his hands to lean in the opposite corner, then sat down at the ice table. Laiken exhaled away his thoughts and joined her, setting down the mugs.
“We should wait a bit for the Kahlua to chill,” she said.
He nodded, afraid to say a word, because if he did, he might confess everything he was feeling inside. Meeting Ember had sparked new emotions. And these new emotions had him wondering if they were anything like Grandmother felt for her human friend…lover…whoever it may have been. The one she left behind.
“I can’t believe you made this. How long did it take?”
His attention snapped back. The Ashrai measured time differently, so he wasn’t sure how to answer. He pulled off his hat, shoved it into his pocket. “It was done before the sun rose.”
Her expression lifted as she blew out a breath. “You worked all night?”
“Yes.” He swallowed at the nerves jabbing inside. The image of her crying in the window flashed through his mind again. “For you. I wanted to make you smile.”
Her mouth dropped open, pink lips unable to express what she might have wanted to say. Or maybe, like him, she wasn’t sure how much truth to divulge. He could see her struggling, her gaze latching onto his. They’d just spend the whole evening laughing and eating, sharing bits and pieces of themselves, without really sharing anything at all. The Ashrai were honest. They were bold. He didn’t know how much longer he could keep his mouth shut about their worlds. He was more than intrigued by her. Not only did he want to sweep away the sorrow he’d seen through her window that first night, but there was more.
Maybe he felt a little missed happiness himself.
Celaine Charles lives in the Pacific Northwest where she teaches elementary school, writes fantasy fiction and poetry, and blogs about her writing journey on Steps In Between.
On the fiction side, Celaine’s YA Fantasy, Seam Keepers (The Wild Rose Press), released in May 2021, and won a first place golden award (in the category of YA/Sci-fi) through Moonbeam Children and Young Adult book awards, 2021. Her new adult, holiday, paranormal, romance novella, Stained Glass Secrets and Star Wishes, launches November 2022 (The Wild Rose Press, Christmas Cookies Series).
On the Poetry side, Celaine’s book, Colors Collected (Palmetto Publishing Group), debuted in August 2019. This book stemmed from her online poetry series, Colors, hosted on Channillo.com, and was awarded Best New Series, Best Continuing Series, and Best Poetry Series for the 2018 Channillo Awards.
Currently, Celaine is working on the sequel to Seam Keepers, entitled, Dream Keepers, and a brand-new YA Contemporary Fantasy, Life Song. She is always penning new poetry for no other reason than to cleanse her soul, yet she is also working to create a new collection and exploring a children’s book project, as well.
When Celaine isn’t writing, she is usually with her family, reading, watching movies, or taking walks in her beautiful home of Washington state. Nature is always her muse. She takes a million picture on every venture.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I always burn a GlassyBaby candle votive when I write, even in the daytime. It sets the mood and brings me joy.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Florida but grew up in Washington. I think that’s why trees inspire my writing so much, while my heart longs for the beach!
What are you passionate about these days?
I am passionate about writing and inspiring other want-to-be writers to persevere through struggles, time, frustrations, and simply write. I also want to spread positivity and joy around to a world that really needs it.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I practice Pilates every morning and take walks as often as I can. I read for pleasure (and for writing inspiration). The occasional glass of wine or Titos Martini with a twist can also do wonders after a long day.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Energetic, mostly-positive, thoughtful, creative, busy!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer in 2017! I have written my whole life, never sharing a word of it, but in 2017 I entered my first literary contest, participated in the PNWA Writing Conference, and hired an editor. That’s a really long sentence to say, in that one year I learned I was a finalist in the poetry category for the literary contest, met some amazing writers just like me, and discovered my YA Fantasy fiction story needed lots of revisions. Ha! Another long sentence. But the truth is, I put myself out there and began living the author life I dreamed to have.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I love many movies…The Age of Adaline, and anything Marvel!
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I would love to see YA Fantasy, Seam Keepers, in film form but unless you have a Harry Potter budget, fantasy books made into movies don’t usually do so well. And my paranormal holiday romance, Stained Glass Secrets and Star Wishes? Unless Hallmark dips into fantasy, then that story wouldn’t work either. I supposed it’s best to keep my books in the bright vividness of my mind.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
For Stained Glass Secrets and Star Wishes, my paranormal holiday romance novella, my mascot would be Ollie, my main character’s springer spaniel! I have always wanted a dog, but my family is allergic. Writing this sweet character into my story made me smile the whole journey through the book. For Seam Keepers, my YA Fantasy, my mascot would definitely be a hawk—Mason’s shapeshifter hawk, of course!
What inspired you to write this book?
My publishing house, The Wild Rose Press, put out a calling for holiday romance novellas that had to be set in December, have a cookie in the title and in the story, be any genre, but must be a romance. At first, this terrified me. I had never written a romance per say. My YA Fantasy, Seam Keepers, has a sweet, slow burn, love story woven in, but wasn’t the focus of the book. For Stained Glass Secrets and Star Wishes, not only was it a full romance, but in a nugget novella size! Guess what? I did it—and I love this story! 100 pages of sweet hallmark meets fantasy!
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am almost done revising Dream Keepers, the sequel to Seam Keepers. I just signed a contract to publish a second poetry book, Gravitational Pull, about the three voices of adoption (child, birth mother, and parents adopting). I am also writing a new YA Fantasy, Life Song, a Halloween Novella, name to be determined, and a secret project. I am busy!
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I have two main characters, Ember and Laiken. I thought it would be fun to name Ember something that related to fire…opposite water. Her dad calls her Sparky! Of course, Laiken is an Ashrai water fairy, so he had to have a water name.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved the challenge of writing in a genre outside my comfort zone. I loved it so much, I am already planning a possible follow-up to the story, and I’m writing a Halloween novella with my Writing Critique Group.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
This book needed to have a cookie in the title, as per the publishing house request, so I chose Stained Glass Cookies. Laiken is an Ashrai freshwater fairy, so it fit well that he had to keep his true identity a secret. Ember’s family had the tradition of making these cookies with candy window-like centers, believing that if you made a wish at Christmas time, Santa would see your deepest desires…Stained Glass Secrets and Star Wishes!
Who designed your book covers?
The amazing Kristain Norris created both my book covers, Seam Keepers, and Stained Glass Secrets and Star Wishes.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
All my reviews and ARC readers have loved it…however they all mention the same one request…make it longer. They want more. So, if I could change anything, I would want to make it a full-length novel.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that I can write romance (or at least I think I can), and I would like to explore this genre more.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Abigail Cowen as Ember, and Regé-Jean Page as Laiken!
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
I love when my two main characters are in the snow castle Laiken made for Ember…I can’t tell you why, but if you read it you will know. I also LOVE the ending!
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
If you want a short and sweet read over the winter months, a story that blends contemporary romance with a flavor of fantasy, then this book is for you! Think two characters on the brink of something new…water fairy meets Seattle accountant, a wintery lake cabin, springer spaniel bounding through snow. Secretly and independently, they wish on night stars, cookie-shaped stars—and hope there’s still a little magic in Christmas!
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
If this story, Stained Glass Secrets and Star Wishes, was a candle, it would surely smell like fresh baked sugar cookies with a hint of Kahlua!
What did you edit out of this book?
Ha-ha! It’s not what I edited out of this book, but rather what my critique group wrote in for my book as a holiday gag-gift! I can’t describe the scene written…and it definitely is NOT included in the published version…but let’s just say a scene exists that might paint your cheeks Rudolph-reindeer-red! LOL!
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I read every day! I love fantasy…V. E. Schwab, Maggie Stiefvater, Leigh Bardugo, Jennifer L. Armentrout, April Genevieve Tucholke, and I’m starting to read lots of stories from the authors I’m meeting at conferences and through my social media! I love supporting writers and learn from all kinds of stories. Oh! And poetry…I love poetry!
Pen or type writer or computer?
Do you have any advice to offer for new authors?
Keep writing no matter what! And get yourself into writing workshops, classes, conferences, critique groups, and last but not least, READ!
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Gallant, by V. E. Schwab, and just finished All Hallows Airship, by Liz Delton. I am just starting to listen to The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller and Will Damron (and just finished, To Be A Fae Queen, by Tricia Copeland, narrated by Jillian Yetter). All of these are amazing reads!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Too long! I’m working on becoming more efficient. I work full time as a teacher, so time is a constant struggle. I try to sit at my writing desk every single day. Sometimes I write for five minutes, other times hours. It just depends. However, progress would never happen if I didn’t at least put myself in the position to create.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes! When it strikes, I take walks or go on hikes, visit friends and family, experience life outside of my writing life, binge Netflix, and read! Usually something will inspire me, and I can find my way back to my work. The other piece of advice I have for writer’s block is to sit at my writing desk every day, no matter what, regardless if I accomplish much. Just be there. And keep going!