Unmasking the real Santa Claus

Midge Boardman, Enjoy!

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- Sometimes it seems men get all the credit.

Take Santa Claus, for instance. That jolly old man appears in stories

and songs. His picture graces everything from greeting cards to

billboards. Tens of thousands of children leave cookies and milk for him

on Christmas Eve. Good for him. But his mother never gets any credit.

Well, Bo Collier is changing all that. The longtime Glendale resident,

who recently moved to La Canada Flintridge, has brought Mother Christmas

to life in a warm, funny, touching story, "The Truth About Love."

In Collier's first novel, Natalie Owens, a divorced mother who has

lost her compassion and caring, has written a book about Mother

Christmas. Foolishly, she modeled the sweet, sensitive soul after her

next-door neighbor. The round, gray-haired Mrs. Hansen turns out to be a

sour old recluse growling at everyone except Natalie's 5-year-old son.

Eric loves and is loved by everyone: Grandma Louise, who lost hope and

romance after her husband's death, newly orphaned sisters Nicole and

Natasha, who desperately miss their mother's love, and Bennett Bramble,

basketball coach and bookstore/coffee shop owner.

Through a series of twists and turns, the lives of these people

intertwine in Collier's story.

On the book cover, Collier states, "Love is not always a gift you

choose. Sometimes it's a gift that chooses you."

A dozen years ago, Collier started paying attention to the stories

swimming around in her head and discovered that when she was writing, she

felt better.

"Mother Christmas" came to her while she was driving down Foothill

Boulevard and saw a woman swathed in green.

"That's Mother Christmas," she said aloud, then learned it was really

someone dressed as a Christmas tree.

The more she thought about it, the more she realized that her own

mother did all the wonderful things to make the holidays memorable, yet

Santa got all the credit.

That did it. She started writing in earnest.

Collier is using her knowledge and experience as a physician's

assistant in a local family practice for her next novel.

If "The Truth About Love" lives up to her expectations and becomes a

Christmas favorite, one day you just might hear parents tell their little

ones, "Yes, my child, there is a Mother Christmas."

WHERE TO FIND IT:

WHAT: "The Truth About Love," by Bo Collier.

PUBLISHER: Four Seasons Publishers, Titusville, Fla.

AVAILABLE: On the Internet at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon.com.

Also at bookstores.

PRICE: $9.95.

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