Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"A Midwest Girl’s Christmas in Africa":X-mas Guest Post and Giveaway with Margaret Mallory

A Midwest Girl’s Christmas in Africa 
When I was eleven years old, my parents sat us three kids down and announced that we were going to live in Africa for two years. I cried for three days, believing I could make them change their minds. When I made no headway with that—I’m very stubborn—I arranged for my best friend’s family to take me in while my own family was gone. To my astonishment, my parents did not find this acceptable. Like any good heroine, I recognized when it was time to negotiate. I agreed to go if we could take our twelve-year-old beagle.

There were no good schools near where my family was posted, so my sister and I had to go to boarding school a twelve-hour drive away from them. School was starting, so my parents left us there three days after our plane landed.

7th Grade

8th Grade
Would you send this child to boarding school?

The Christmas holidays were special because I got to come home. Although my parents and brother came to visit us a couple of times a quarter, we only went home for Christmas, Easter, and summer break. I did not see where my family lived until that first Christmas. From the moment they left me, I counted the days and the hours until the Christmas holiday.

I turned twelve that October, and I felt like a soldier who gets to come home on leave. Like most kids, I had always taken time with my family for granted. No more. I was so happy to be home that I don’t think I found my younger brother annoying once.
Not-so Annoying Brother Struts His Stuff ;)
Everything was different. It was hot and dry, when we were used to snowy Christmases, and we had the most pathetic Christmas tree you could imagine. We swam every day instead of sledding, and we got presents like flippers instead of flannel pajamas.

And it was all wonderful, because I was home with my family.
Me with my Brother, My Diker
& one of our dogs

Bargaining at the Market

Although we couldn’t visit relatives as we usually did over the holidays, my parents had an assortment of fascinating friends that included Peace Corps volunteers, missionaries, and British families. My dog had died of tick fever while I was at school, but we collected other pets and even got a horse.

Things got better for me after that first Christmas. And the second year, my parents moved us to a school that I loved. I was more used to the separation by then as well, but I still looked forward to the Christmas holidays for weeks.

Hard as those first months were, I am glad my parents made me go. Living overseas gave me a life-long love of travel and an appreciation for different cultures. Our family bonded over our extraordinary experiences there, a little like war buddies do, and we talk about them to this day.

More info in: Author Preview

I’d love to respond to questions or comments or to hear about a holiday that was special to you growing up. I’ll give away a signed copy of KNIGHT OF PASSION, a medieval romance with a heroine who also had a rough patch as a girl, to one of the commenters. Happy Holidays!
~*~Giveaway Details~*~
Margaret Mallory has generously offered to giveaway a signed copy of her latest release, 'Knight Of Passion', to one (1) lucky commenter. Follow the guidelines below and comment for your chance to win! The giveaway will end on Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 at 11:59:00 PM. The winner will be announced on Christmas Eve and contacted via email shortly after.

Giveaway Guidelines: To be entered in the giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment with either an answer to Patricia's question or a question of your own!
*Make sure to include your email address (NO EMAIL= INVALID ENTRY)
For Extra Entries (do one or more of the following for extra shots at winning):
+2 'Like' Margaret Mallory on Facebook
+2 'Like' The 'Not Another Romance Blog' Blog on Facebook
+2 Comment on the Author Preview
+4 Spread the word: Tweet on Twitter, Post a Facebook status, or blog about this guest post and giveaway (provide a link in you entry comment)
+5 Become a Follower/ Be a Follower

-Tell me in your comment which extra entries you are entitled to or they won't count

*Giveaway restricted to US & Canada residents only
Hope you enjoyed today's X-mas Guest Post from Margaret Mallory in:


  1. I loved your post! I enjoyed reading about you growing up and your unusual Christmas's in Africa. Mine were typical but wonderful. I would like to know what you were reading as a child growing up and what are some of your favs now? Thanks for sharing with us!


    +2 like Margarett on FB
    +2 like NARB Blog on FB
    +2 left commet on author preview
    +5 follower

  2. While living in England, I was about 5 or 6 when we went on a huge family trip to the Lake District, and while I cant remember all of the details I remember having fun with my little brother and all the Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents that went along too. It was just a great family time :)
    +5 Become a Follower/ Be a Follower
    +2 Comment on the Author Preview
    +2 'Like' The 'Not Another Romance Blog' Blog on Facebook
    total = 9
    Thanks for the chance

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Johanna. Frankly, it was a little hard to write because it's so personal.

    I've always been a big reader, but I'm having trouble remembering what I read while we were overseas. I had a lot of homework--and I didn't have a parent hovering over me to make sure I did it. ;)

    I love historical novels, mainstream as well as romance. I also like mysteries, detective stories, and old spy novels.

  4. I had no idea you'd lived in Africa. We visited South Africa a few years ago and found it beautiful. I have all you books so don't enter me in the contest. Just wanted to comment to say Merry Christmas and thanks for a great blog.


  5. Though we never realize it at the time, a bad situation could end up turning into a good one! So happy that it ended up working out for you! As a child I would sleep by the tree and wait for Santa. Somehow I never managed to catch him in the act. My sister and I would also be allowed to open one present from a family member on Christmas Eve. It was so much fun trying to figure out which gift would be the one to open. This Christmas will be difficult as it is the first one spent without her. Thankfully we have our special memories and each other to guide us through.

    +2 NARB FB Fan
    +2 commented on author preview
    +5 already a follower


  6. Thanks for stopping by & sharing your Christmas stories! Lavada, I've heard South Africa is beautiful.

  7. What an adventure that must have been! We spent most holiday vacations skiing in Vermont. Summers were when we had our big family adventures - Italy, France and the UK one summer, Scandinavia another.

    +4 - tweeted
    +5 - followed on FB

  8. Hi Margaret, you were a real trooper and made the most of a difficult situation.
    In answer to the question, my family has a tradition that's been kept since my great-grandparents settled on Pike's Hill back in 1913. We get together on Christmas Eve and have a huge potluck dinner with turkey or ham and all the trimmings. We then have a gift exchange and spend a lot of time visiting and catching up. I have some really nice childhood memories of these parties.
    By the way, I'll post this on Facebook for you, that is if I can figure out how. Have a very Merry Christmas. Debby Lee
    email is sanddlee[at]aol[dot]com

  9. Wynter, what fabulous family trips you had!

    Debby, I love the idea of the huge family gathering you have. What a great tradition.

  10. This is seriously cool. When can we expect your memoirs?

    Laura Conn

  11. Thanks, Laura. Someday I would like to write a YA book about it...but I'm content spending time with my handsome Highlander heroes for now. ;)

  12. When I was young, New Year's Eve was the night my parents would let us kids stay up until after midnight. We'd jump around and dance in our pajamas while horns blared and fireworks went off outside. Then we'd go to bed.

    +2 'Like' Margaret Mallory on Facebook (S G-S Tieh)
    +2 'Like' The 'Not Another Romance Blog' Blog on Facebook (S G-S Tieh)
    +2 Comment on the Author Preview
    +5 Follower

  13. Sheree, that brings back happy memories! We sometimes did that with another family. While our parents did their thing, we kids watched scary movies I didn't get to watch at home. We did the pj dance at midnight, too. :)

  14. I love your photos! The glasses are great. I had very similar feelings at age 18, when I moved cross-country for college. I was counting down the days until Christmas Break... and when I returned, my (older) brother didn't annoy me at all!

    Thanks for sharing. What an interesting experience to have growing up.

  15. Funny thing about those glasses...I HATED them at the time. Of course, I blamed my mother, who helped me pick them out when my eyes were dilated. And now, all these years later, I have glasses that are almost exactly the same that my (very cool) daughter helped me pick out. ;)

  16. What an adventure! Cheryl Smith

  17. Growing up with 4 sisters meant we didn't have much money , in fact we were probably poor but never felt that way. All of our extended family got together on Christmas Eve and exchanged gifts. They were never expensive gifts; mittens, candy, trinket toys but alwasys a doll from my maiden aunt. For kids who got nothing all year long this was a glorious windfall.
    follower +5

  18. Lovely story, Dot. :)
    Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl.


  19. i still miss my grandma's house. we used to have all our christmas celebrations there except last year, because my grandma was hospitalized we had to do it in my aunt's house which was near the hospital.

    +2 'Like' Margaret Mallory on Facebook
    +2 'Like' The 'Not Another Romance Blog' Blog on Facebook
    +2 Comment on the Author Preview



Site Beautified by Barbara ~ Back To Top