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'Home for the Holidays'

Sandy woman publishes a collection of short stories reflecting on the holidays
by:  BARBARA RITTER

Barbara Ritter's short stories started out as inserts in annual Christmas letters. Her first one was an essay offering reflections after Sept. 11, 2001.

Since then, the stories have been filled with 'neighbor-next-door characters,' a few 'furry angels' and 'a Christmas miracle or two.'

This year, Ritter's family and friends can read a collection of her stories in a book she self-published this fall.

Ritter, a longtime Sandy resident, invites readers to 'grab a mug of cocoa or spike a cup of eggnog, pull up a comfy chair and put the holiday rush on hold' with 'Home for the Holidays - Tales to Warm the Heart.'

Along with her holiday collection of short stories, Ritter's first novel, 'The Path to the Moon,' will be released around Valentine's Day 2012. The novel is a result of a local contest sponsored by Rose City Romance Writers that Ritter placed in about six years ago.

'Even if I never published again, I've fulfilled a dream I always wanted to do,' Ritter said.

Ritter, whose pen name is B.K. Ritter, began writing more than 10 years ago, weaving together stories she heard in the news with her experiences in Sandy. Contemplating the holidays, she realized little moments, such as seeing the red light on the elephant's nose at Geren's Farm Supply, triggered rich memories. In addition, she thought of everyday people who make a difference in the world through small acts.

For Jodi Nelson, a Sandy resident who blogs at pleasant-home.com, Ritter's book provided a new take on local traditions and icons.

'It's great for when life gets so hectic,' Nelson said. 'These are feel-good Christmas stories that remind you to stop and enjoy the moment.'

The seven story titles include 'Magic Cookies,' 'The Blackout,' 'Gabriel's Visit, 'Rescuing Baby Jesus,' 'Seeing the World Through the Eyes of a Two-Year-Old,' 'Lost and Found' and 'Home for the Holidays.'

In her introduction, Ritter asks readers their favorite part of the holiday season. The sparkle? The warmth? The possibilities? The memories?

For her, she writes, 'This season is about small miracles -- warmth in the chill, light in the dark, love in unexpected places, second chances.'

Ritter lives in Sandy with her husband -- who she met working at Timberline Lodge -- 12-year-old daughter, and a menagerie of pets.

Ritter's book is available in paperback through createspace.com/3719590 and amazon.com. To receive an autographed copy directly from the author, contact Ritter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-449-3982. Paperback books cost $6.50 plus shipping and handling.

For an eBook available on Kindle, Nook, iPhone, iPad, Android or PC, visit amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. These versions of the book are $2.99.

For more information about 'Home for the Holidays,' contact Ritter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-449-3982.