Hello, and welcome to another Christmas edition of #FanFictionFriday. We are only 2 weeks and 3 days away from seeing the real reunion, so this can get your imagination rolling. And if you haven’t seen the promo pictures on Facebook, you should definitely check them out. That’ll get your blood pumping! So have at it!

 

A MOUNTIE CHRISTMAS SURPRISE 

Jack and the young Mountie ride up to the edge of town, and stop for a moment to catch their breath after riding hard for the last leg of their journey.  They see the view with the mountain in the background, and several lanterns still lit.  The Mountie turns to Jack with a knowing smile and tone, “Hope Valley?” 

Jack nods and smiles, “We made it.”  Under his breath, “I’m home.”

 They quietly ride into town, Jack looking in every direction with perfect joy, but trying not to be seen.  Awkwardly clearing his throat, Jack says, “If you don’t mind…” 

The Mountie smiles again.  “Don’t worry, Constable.  I’ll just make my way to the hotel.” 

Jack gives a relieved and you-got-me chuckle, “Thank you.  It’s just there.”  He points, the Mountie tips his hat, and quietly trots to the saloon.

Jack turns Sergeant around, and eagerly makes his way to Elizabeth’s row house. As he gets closer, he can hear Christmas music coming from the Victrola.  Jack jumps off Sergeant, and gives him a final pat, and “Good boy!”  He peeks inside the window and sees Elizabeth decorating her tree, longingly fingering his ornament that Rip tore. 

Unable to wait another moment, Jack silently steps to the door.  The knock startles Elizabeth from her reverie, and she makes her way to the door, noting the late hour.  She opens it only to see her Mountie hero, his hat under his arm.  She gasps, and puts her left hand to her mouth; desperately trying, but failing, to hold back her emotions.  But she can’t move!  All those times the knocks at the door weren’t Jack, and suddenly here he is! 

 When her hand goes up, Jack catches a glimpse of his ring on her finger, and his composure begins to fail.  With tears in his eyes, he gently murmurs, “Merry Christmas, Miss Thatcher.” 

“Jack!” she quietly cries, finally feeling her body obey her wish to throw herself into his arms.  She almost sends them both sailing down the steps, but Jack’s strong embrace keeps them firm.  He cradles her head in his hand, breathing in her sweet scent, convincing himself he’s really here holding her again.  Finally, he steps back and begs, “Let me look at you,” with his hands to her cheeks, looking over every inch of her face as if for the first time.  “I’ve dreamt of this moment for so long!”  He takes her in his arms and gives her a long savory kiss, sending his energy rushing into her, and feeling it come back to him with added strength.

When they finally break, Elizabeth laughs through her tears, and manages to say, “This is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for!”  Then remembering they’re outside she urges, “You must be freezing!  Come inside!”  Jack chuckles as he comes in, not having felt the cold since he saw her.  

Elizabeth closes the door, and Jack take her into his arms again.  Elizabeth sighs, “I missed you.” 

He sighs too, thinking how the thought of his beautiful fiancée is what kept him alive so much of the time up north.  “I missed YOU…so much!”  Then he can’t help but say, “Now THIS is the best way to keep warm!”  They both laugh, then the laughter fades as Jack’s eyes bore into hers. 

“I love you,” she manages to say first. 

“I love YOU,” he replies.  “You are everything to me.”

 

Today’s #WonderWednesday might be a little controversial, but I promise it’ll still be fun. And it has 2 WCTH actors: Jay Hindle who played Sir Lionel in Season 2, and…none other than the man himself- Daniel Lissing!  And that topic would be one of last year’s Hallmark Countdown to Christmas Movies:       A December Bride. TA DA!

I know, I know. Some of us love it, some of us can’t stand it, and some of us have mixed feelings, a love/hate relationship, if you will. I, myself have mixed feelings. So let’s start with some positive points about the film, we’ll squeeze “the vegetables” (the stuff we don’t like,) in the middle, then end with “dessert” so we walk away with happy hearts. But first, 2 funny coincidences: in Finding Father Christmas, Erin Krakow plays an interior decorator; in A December Bride, Daniel Lissing plays a man who falls in love with an interior decorator. The second is the names. The actress playing Layla, her name is Jessica; then her cousin’s character’s name is Jessica. Then we have our favorite “Jack” standing right next to the fiancé whose name is Jack. Interesting…

 Now, let’s start with my favorite thing: the broken stereotypes. I really love that this one doesn’t go where almost every other Hallmark movie does. If I miss any, PLEASE comment so it can be included

  1. No love triangle. They could have gone there with either Jack or Cooper. But Jack got married at the beginning, and Cooper wasn’t a boyfriend. He was completely interested, but was man enough to back down when he saw that Seth was in love.
  2. Seth comes right out and says he likes Layla. There’s no “guessing game” about his feelings, plus he does that cute head knock when it doesn’t go right. On top of that, there’s no silly misunderstanding that ruins how far the couple has come in the hour and 55 minutes you’ve been watching, then gets solved in the last 5 minutes of the movie.
  3. Neither of the main characters are in a dead-end, 5-year relationship that gets broken after knowing someone a week. They’re both single, and they’ve been friends for years.
  4. A big pet peeve of mine is when the first kiss is just thrown in at the end, especially when they always try to kiss, and get interrupted in the middle. In this film, they actually kiss before the end. In addition, they DO get interrupted the first time they try to kiss, but they don’t pretend it didn’t happen. In fact, they even pause to cuddle a little before Seth answers the phone.
  5. My favorite one: Seth isn’t a Scrooge; he doesn’t hate Christmas. He’s just never had any real experience, and he welcomes it with open arms, and that adorable smile. He really shows his wonder when he exclaims, “Everything looks so beautiful in here! It’s very Christmasy.”

So, on to the vegetables. You know, there really isn’t a whole lot I don’t like about the movie, but those things occur throughout the plot; so it seems like I don’t like more than I actually do. First thing’s first, and don’t hate me, but I don’t like the beard. I know scruff is the thing right now, and some women find it terribly attractive, but I’ve always been a clean-shaven girl. I think a man is more handsome when I can see his face. The other thing about that is Danes face has a few bald spots where hair refuses to grow, then the beard looks splotchy.  So it is this Hooked Heartie’s personal opinion that the man remain beardless.

My other criticism is the character of Layla. I have nothing against Jessica Lowndes; she’s gorgeous, and she’s been fantastic in other films. But her character here…I would call her “pretty but petty”. She constantly rags on Seth, so much so that sometimes I wondered why he was crazy about her. I understand her being bitter, her cousin marrying her former fiancé and all; but it lasts a little too long, especially with how kind Seth is to her. Dan brings all of Jack Thornton kindness to the character of Seth. He’ll do anything for her, he worries when she does, he reassures her constantly, and he rejoices with her at her victories. And he does the Daniel Lissing signature dirt brush – away on her cheek. Who in their right mind would stomp on that?

Okay! Enough of being Janie Raincloud! Now let’s have some REAL fun! This movie is full of hysterical one-liners and heartwarming scenes. Take the title, for example. It’s the best line in the movie! It comes from Layla’s suspicious brother who knows darn well after that completely awkward family dinner that Layla and Seth aren’t actually a couple. You can almost feel Seth’s urge to tug on his shirt collar.

To be totally honest, the rest of my favorite parts and lines all have Dan and his priceless reactions in them. So I’ll just mention them all together. 1) I nearly died laughing to see Seth dancing and singing so horribly, especially when we all know how beautifully he does both. 2) I smiled with pure joy when Seth’s dad found him a sleigh. Not only was it touching to see father and son connecting, but Seth’s reaction is flawless. Having majored in acting myself, I seriously wondered if that was scripted, or if Dan improvised it. 3) Who didn’t snicker helplessly when Seth was telling everyone how the “courtship” ensued? He’s totally making it up as he goes along; then the shock and horror on his face when the word “engaged” slipped right off his tongue = stomach pains from laughing so hard. 4) I saved the best for last. My favorite part is when Seth made gingerbread cookies for Layla, then almost kissed her. It’s evidence that he really listened to her, and Christmas has really captured him.

Well, I think I’ve said enough. I’ll just sign off with a personal note. Receiving a key to a mansion, a rich man’s credit card, and the instructions “Do whatever you want” with regard to Christmas decorating? SCORE BABY!

I am Kate Baumgarten and I’m 27 years old. I currently reside in California. I have three older sisters, one younger brother, and one younger sister. Two of my older sisters and my younger brother are married and have families of their own. My other older sister is a Police Officer in Northern California and my younger sister continues to live at home, goes to school, and works part time as a Preschool Teacher. My parents have now been working in the Medical Profession for 37 years.

I have a strong love and passion for reading, writing, working with my Horse Sabre, listening to music, Line Dancing, photography and putting projects together with photos, spending time with my family and friends, loving on my happy & neurotic Jack Russell Terrier Mountie Jack Riley (8yo in Feb 2018), and of course binge watch When Calls the Heart.

     I graduated high school June 3, 2008 just 20 days before my 18th birthday. I’ve been attending a Community College on and off since August 2008 working on my Associates of Science Degree. I only have 5-6 more classes to go before I complete my degree. My dream career is to become a Veterinary Assistant and possibly a Veterinary Technician. Haven’t made any decisions yet about being a Vet Tech but still have plenty of time to decide. My focus right now is to finish my degree then go from there.

I have been watching When Calls the Heart since January 11, 2014 (Day 1). At this time, the whole 4th Season and its 7thepisode My Heart Will Go On are my favorites. Anyone who has watched the full season and that certain episode will know exactly why I would choose those as my favorite season and episode. In fact, I heard from several reliable sources that not only did Season 4 have super strong ratings but also My Heart Will Go On had the most viewers than any other episode in the series. It’s definitely amazing.  

  You know, I love all of the characters but Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) is number one on my list. We’re so very similar and I can connect to her the most. Elizabeth and I share the passion and love for reading and writing, the dream of becoming an author, socializing with others we’re comfortable being around, we’re both very strong, compassionate, independent, kind, intelligent (my IQ is 127), caring, considerate, protective, soft spoken, laid-back, love to have fun, loving, trustworthy, honest, and patient. There are many similarities with the ones listed as only being a few of them.

I love When Calls the Heart because it’s clean, no violence, no cursing, no inappropriate sexual content you see on tv and media nowadays, Christian/Godly Based, teaches morals and values, friendships, trials and triumphs, family oriented, humor, positive and so much more. Also, When Calls the Heart has made a huge difference in my daily life. I became sick with a lifelong disease called Erythromelalgia (EM) also known as Man Burning Alive Syndrome in 2014. Erythromelalgia is incurable, extremely rare, excruciatingly painful (24/7) as well as potentially fatal. On my difficult sleepless nights due to the unfortunate circumstances, visiting Hope Valley helps on so many levels. When Calls the Heart also continues to inspire me to keep Fighting the Good Fight.

I am so beyond grateful for When Calls the Heart and all the people involved as it has positively impacted and changed lives including mine.

 

Hello!  You made it to another #FanFictionFriday! And now we’re officially in December. That means only 24 days until we see Mountie Jack and the wishing tree! (But we need to enjoy the time in between, right?) I seriously wonder if the reunion is going to be close to any of the scenarios ANY of the Hearties have envisioned. Which brings us to today’s Christmas story. This was my first attempt writing a Christmas scenario, so it’s quite short. But it really opened me up to new possibilities, like writing a blog, for example. So enjoy! May it help you kick off December.

A Holiday Surprise at the Schoolhouse

Jack breathes an audible sigh of relief as the roofs of Hope Valley come into view.  “I made it!”  There were days when he wondered if he would; the horrific scenes in which he constantly found his men still made him shudder.  He pulls his coat more securely around him, as if to ward off the thoughts as well as the chill.  Now isn’t the time to dwell on those dark thoughts.  He’s about to see the one person that had been the light at the end of that tunnel of misery.  Then, as if by magic, there she is!  He’d made his way to the school without even realizing it.  He stops, basking in the opportunity to just look at her unobserved.  He smiles as he thinks of his young Mountie companion who graciously suggested he ride ahead for some much needed privacy.  He shakes his head in wonder, thinking how confident and capable she looks.  “Elizabeth,” he whispers.

Elizabeth puts the finishing touches on the garland above the school door.  “There!” she says, quite satisfied, her hands placing themselves on her hips.  “That should make things more festive.”  She jumps down from her stool, and turns to pick up the garland for the banister.  Just as her fingers graze the wood, movement in the distance catches her eye.  A lone rider.  Then her eyes do a double take!  Are her eyes playing tricks on her?  “Jack?” she whispers in disbelief.  The rider starts galloping toward her.  It IS him!  “JACK!!!” she shouts in excitement.  She drops the garland, stumbling over it slightly, jumps over the bottom stair, and takes off running.

They can’t get to each other fast enough.  Jack brings Sergeant to an abrupt halt, choosing to run the rest of the way.  They throw their arms around each other, the momentum taking them in a circle. He puts his hands to her face and in her hair, drinking in her presence.  “Let me look at you!”  He sighs and smiles as she places her hand over his on her cheek.  “Oh my beautiful Elizabeth! I love you!”

She laughs through her tears, eagerly responding, “I love you!”  He pulls her toward him to kiss her, not surprised, but perhaps taken aback with how the misery dissipates immediately at her touch. 

Elizabeth gasps as their lips part, trying to convince her breath to keep up with her heartrate.  How had she survived without him???  “I missed you!” she sobs, urging him to hug her again.  “I missed you SO MUCH!” 

Jack smiles ruefully, remembering how thinking of this moment had kept him alive so many times.  For now, he settles for a heartfelt, “I missed YOU!”  He stands back to gaze at her  again.  “And I am going to savor every moment I can spend with you.”  They lean toward one another for one more kiss, not hard and desperate, but sweet and long; soaking up the experience of being with each other after so much time! Then they laugh in pure joy, wiping away their own, and one another’s, tears.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I was all set and ready to do a review of a certain Hallmark Christmas movie for today’s #WonderWednesday, but then I watched…The Christmas Train. It then became positively necessary to review this movie instead. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE WATCHED IT, OR DON’T MIND SPOILERS! I highly suggest you go find it…then come back and read the blog!

So it begins! First off, the connection. There are not one, not two, but THREE actors in The Christmas Train who are WCTH Alumni. Granted, they don’t play major roles in the series, but each plays a pivotal, plot – turning one. There’s Terence Kelly, who played the mysterious, yet helpful, Sam Bailey in the Season 4 Christmas special. Then there’s John Innes, who portrayed Clem Besser, the gentleman who sold Jack his land in Season 3. And of course, there’s Anthony Konechny, who we all know as Douglas Burke, Jack’s adorable Mountie protégé, who’s death prompted Jack to answer the call of duty in the Northern Territory in Season 4.

Now for their characters in THIS movie. Konechny plays his usual loveable role: a young man from high society Washington DC engaged to a Kentucky country girl. His father doesn’t approve, so they’re eloping on the train Christmas Eve. Innes is John Kelly, a lonely old man who recently lost his wife, and is trying to keep his promise to her of reading A Christmas Carol by Christmas Day. Terence Kelly plays the kind of person at which he excels: Higgins, the wise and experienced mentor who leads quietly, and it turns out he’s right.

And then The Christmas Train all-star cast: Kimberly Williams Paisley, Dermot Mulroney, Joan Cusack, and DANNY GLOVER! How they got him, I don’t know, but he was perfect! The powerful and famous film director who is still reachable and down-to-earth, and even downright friendly. Joan Cusack, ever the character actor, plays a quirky loner who seems very much like the nosy next-door neighbor in everyone’s business…and yet we love her every step of the way!

Paisley, (whom I’ve loved since Father of the Bride,) was so endearing. Her playful moments are so bright and natural, yet the pain she expresses is so deep and heartfelt. And she’s so beautiful! My one issue with her is something that’s not even her fault, but it bugged me! When they attend the wedding on board, she’s in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. I get they’re on a train, and resources are limited, but she’s a Hollywood writer! The outfit she wore while boarding was fancier than that! As a side note, the wedding dress was FABULOUS! Tasteful, different; just the sort of thing I imagine a broke romantic buying if she’s eloping. Back to Kimberly, my favorite line of hers is when she’s talking to Max (Glover). She’s his writer, and he’s encouraging her to give life another chance.  She sardonically replies, “Happy endings are for movies.” Pretty clever and ironic, considering, you know, they’re in one.

Mulroney seems to have an acting style that keeps him a little stiff; I see it in several of his roles. So while I would have preferred to see him loosen up a bit, he played the cynical and world – traveling reporter quite well; especially when his eyes are being opened up to new discoveries. My favorite part of his was when his character, Tom, was going on and on, talking like he knew this ancient  legend. When Eleanor (Paisley) interrupts to call him on it, he says without breaking the flow at all: “I am TOTALLY making this up!”

And here’s a fun fact trivia question for you: What’s the link between Dermot Mulroney and Joan Cusack? If you’re suddenly feeling the urge to play “7 Degrees to Julia Roberts”, you hit the nail on the head! And it’s only 1 degree. Cusack was in Runaway Bride with her, (a personal favorite,) and Mulroney was in My Best Friend’s Wedding.

My favorite lines come from John Kelly. “Two things problems can never defeat: sunrise and Christmas.” That, and: “Hope begins when you stand in the dark, and look at the light.” Very appropriate, especially since #Hearties now have a window cling available that says, “I’d rather be in Hope Valley.”

My favorite part is where today’s title comes from. Tom and Eleanor are old sweethearts who parted badly, then meet by chance on the Christmas Train, right? Well what did you think when they discovered that script in Max’s trash that cited almost every occurrence on the train? I was completely thrown for a loop to find out it was all a set-up, another “Max Powers Production”, (which makes her “happy endings” line even better.) And then, instead of the stereotypical “I’m gonna kill him,” Eleanor more originally says she’s thinking of plotting a murder mystery aboard the train instead of a love story. I laughed SO HARD!

Well, I think that about does it for today’s #WonderWednesday. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it, and I really hope you’ll come back on Friday for another #FanFictionFriday. Until then, darling #Hearties!

Continue reading “Romance? I’m Thinkin’ Murder! Christmas Train.”