Author’s Holiday Office Style: ELLEN BUTLER



Butler1Today, we take a peek into the office of author Ellen Butler!

When I was approached to write an article about my holiday office decoration, I initially planned to decline the invitation. The reason? Because my favorite holiday had already passed. For those of you who don’t know me, my big holiday is Halloween. I understand many people don’t share my appreciation and exuberance for this event. However, it is my favorite because I still love the kid-like fun of creating and dressing up in costume and passing out candy to all the trick-or-treaters that come to my door. I adore creating a creepy (not gory) cemetery loaded with spiderwebs, skeletons, and occasionally my teenager—who likes to dress as the grim reaper and roam through the gravestones. By the first of October, my indoor decorations are scattered throughout the house, and my Halloween dishes are in use. As a matter of fact, this year, my Halloween decorations surpassed the amount of Christmas décor in the storage room. The final reason Halloween outdistances other holidays as my favorite—it is a relatively hassle- and stress-free holiday. There are no gifts to purchase, giant meals to prepare, travel plans to make, or family squabbles to navigate. It’s simply candy and costumes. And, seriously, who doesn’t like free candy?

However, after rereading the email inviting me to provide this article, I began to ruminate on my winter office decorating apathy. When I worked in a professional office environment, I always volunteered to be a part of the staff holiday team. Our events included a departmental decorating contest, a holiday challenge bowl, and a staff luncheon. As a writer and fan of the show Jeopardy, I volunteered to chair the holiday challenge bowl committee. We developed questions that included Saturnalia, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and, my favorite, Seinfeld’s Festivus. (Did you put up your aluminum pole?) Additionally, I would provide my department’s annual Christmas tree—a cute 4-foot fir—which my team would decorate together. So, why did I give up on the office decorating fun when I began working from home? Laziness? Too many other obligations pulling on my time? Because I will be the only one to enjoy it? The reasons are most likely a combination of the three.

Well, my fellow readers and authors, challenge accepted. This year a little of that holiday cheer will work its way into my office. First, like many of my author counterparts, I often gather a collection of drinking vessels on my desk and purge them once or twice a week. In my efforts to infuse more Christmas into the office, I will be using the dusty holiday mugs that are stuffed in the back of the cabinet and probably haven’t been used since the day they were opened. Second, a visit to Amazon has netted me a twofer—a string of cardinal shaped lights that are both festive and representative of my brave heroine from the Karina Cardinal series, Isabella’s Painting and Fatal Legislation. I’ve also brought in a beautiful red cardinal tchotchke, I found hiding in the china cabinet; it will symbolize the entire winter season. Finally, a visit to the Dollar Store, provided me a pack of little red bows that I’ve attached to the lamps and mirror in the office. While it’s nothing compared to my Halloween obsession, it does bring a sense of the holiday season and provides a pop of cheerfulness. Who knows? Maybe this challenge has started a new tradition.

A look at Ellen’s latest release. . . 

Fatal Legislation Cover DigitalFatal Legislation: A Washington Murder Mystery
A Karina Cardinal Mystery

Lawmaking can be a murderous affair.

If any day calls for a soothing glass of wine, it’s today.

One moment, Capitol Hill lobbyist Karina Cardinal is having a heated discussion with Senator Harper, who just torpedoed her latest health care legislation initiative. The next, after a cryptic remark, the senator is dead at her feet. Hours later, she’s still so rattled she wakes to a freezing apartment because she forgot to close her back door. Or did she?

When her boyfriend, FBI cybercrimes expert Mike Finnegan, is suddenly reassigned to work a new case, he’s got bad news and worse news. The bad: the senator’s death was no heart attack—it was assassination by a hacker disabling his pacemaker. Worse: Karina’s a “person of interest.”

Certain that status could change to “suspect” at any moment, Karina begins her own back-channel investigation into who could have wanted the senator dead. Of course, in Washington, that means playing politics and following the money trail. A trail that leads to more murders…and possibly leaving the door open for a killer to change her status to “dead.”



Ellen Butler is a bestselling author writing critically acclaimed suspense and award-winning historical fiction. Her experiences working at a medical association in Washington, D.C. inspired the Karina Cardinal series. She is a member of Sister’s in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Office of Strategic Services Society.

You can find Ellen at:

Website ~
Facebook ~
Twitter ~ @EButlerBooks
Goodreads ~