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“Holiday Ever After,” a romance short story anthology from LARA!

winter-holidays-romance-from-los-angeles-romance-authors

I’m thrilled that my sensual Regency short story, “Bed of Sweet Surrender,” was chosen to be included in this amazing new collection of contemporary, historical and paranormal holiday romances from LARA – the Los Angeles Romance Authors. All proceeds benefit the chapter, so please download your copy today from the buy links below and find some wonderful new stories (and maybe some “new-to-you” authors, as well!) to get you in the mood…for the holidays, that is!

Amazon.com    B&N.com   Kobo.com   iTunes.Apple.com

EXCERPT from “Bed of Sweet Surrender”:

By the middle of the carol, when the Wise Men came from country far, John wondered where Miss Jennings had disappeared to. Standing at the rear of the group assembled around the pianoforte, he slipped away and went to look for her. His plan to see his fiancée often and convince her of his affections had so far been less than successful.

He paused at the open door to the dining room and found her there, seated alone, with no servant in sight. For once, she looked relaxed, her eyes closed as she put the last bite of a piece of gingerbread in her mouth, then licked the crumbs from her fingertips and sighed in pleasure, savouring the taste. Her honey-blonde hair shone in the candlelight, making her an entrancing sight to behold.

For a moment, he forgot to breathe. “Miss Jennings,” he found his voice at last, even if it came out barely a whisper.

Her blue eyes flew open and she gasped, bolting upright in her chair. “Mr. Ashton, I’m sorry, I—”

“Don’t.” He held up his hand to stall her as he advanced into the room. “You have no reason to apologize. Once we’re married, if you wish to eat gingerbread every day of the year, you may do so.”

She stood then with a sway and clung to the table for support. “I fear the wine has gone straight to my head, sir.” He covered the distance between them in seconds and pulled her against him, afraid she might fall if he did not. She turned her face up to his, looking startled.

Whether it was the two cups of the punch he’d had or simply the opportunity, he would never know, but he would kiss her now or die in the attempt.

 

 

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Christmas traditions in the time of Jane Austen

Regency Christmas dinner complete with pudding

The Regency period of English history was technically only the years 1811-1820, but practically ran the adult life of King George IV, from the late 1700’s through to 1830, and is sometimes referred to today known as the “long Regency.” Christmas in those days was most definitely not the commercial holiday we celebrate today. There was no mad rush to shop for the latest gadgets, no stockings hung by the fire with care, and certainly no white-bearded gentleman with a sleigh and reindeer flying through the night skies.

Attending church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day was a must for the English in Regency times, although only a few of the carols we sing now would have been sung in church then as hymns, such as The First Nowell.(Yes, that spelling is the correct one!)

Instead of everyone looking forward to just December 24th or the 25th, a Regency Christmas was a much longer celebration of dancing and dining spread out over the period of ‘Christmastide,’ from Christmas Eve to January 6th, Twelfth Night. (Hence, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’)

Preparations, however, began long before December 24th. ‘Stir-up Sunday,’ the Sunday before Advent, marked the unofficial start to the Christmas Season, so-called because of the traditional church service held that day, but also becoming the day that Christmas puddings and cakes were prepared, in order to allow enough time for them to ‘mature’ (which called for regular doses of brandy!)

Jane AustenChristmas was a time to reflect upon one’s religious faith and to enjoy the companionship of friends and family. Jane Austen mentions Christmas in each of her six major novels. For instance, in Emma, she wrote, “At Christmas everybody invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.” In addition, the aristocracy and the landed gentry were expected to entertain their tenants and neighbors and show generosity through charitable acts.

During the four-week period from Advent until Epiphany, the upper classes held balls, parties, dinners and other social events, welcoming both family and friends. Since everyone was usually together, it was also a time for courtships and weddings. Even though there was no Santa Claus, December 6th, St. Nicholas’s Day, was marked by the giving of small gifts. There was no exchange of presents on the 25th itself, but giving ‘Christmas Boxes’ of food and gently-used items of clothing and household goods to servants and to charity was the custom on St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, now celebrated as ‘Boxing Day.’

Holly, ivy, evergreen and laurel were brought into the house on Christmas Eve, since it was considered unlucky to bring greenery inside before Christmas. These remained in place until the Epiphany on January 6, when they were taken down and often burned to prevent bad luck for the rest of the year. Indoor decorated trees were rare and found only in a few houses of wealthy families with German connections, where they were a long-standing tradition.

Of course, we can’t forget mistletoe, although the custom was more likely practiced below stairs than above. (The requirement of plucking a berry every time a kiss was stolen beneath the bough was already in place, and once the berries were gone, alas, the kissing was over.)

Christmas Day meant Christmas dinner, with the best a family could afford…turkey, goose (the most traditional), mutton, or venison might be served, and for the rich, the table could be laden with all of these at once. A Christmas dinner would not be deemed complete without the aforementioned pudding. The pudding would be doused with even more brandy and then set aflame, a key theatrical aspect of the holiday celebration.

(For the brave of heart among you, or for those who just enjoy setting their food on fire, some traditional holiday pudding recipes can be found at: http://britishfood.about.com/od/christmas/a/xmaspud.htm )

Epiphany on January 6th marked the official end of Christmas festivities. It was yet another feast day to mark the coming of the Magi, and as a result was the traditional day to exchange gifts.

Joseph-Grimaldi_1630699cOne final English Christmas tradition that was present in Jane Austen’s time and is still alive today is the Christmas pantomime. The pantomime usually opened on Boxing Day. Joseph Grimaldi, the famous clown who lived from 1779 to 1837, regularly performed in one at Drury Lane Theatre in London, a theatre often visited by characters in Regency romances.

Sweet Christmas Kisses 5 – a new anthology of sweet holiday romance!

It’s Fall & the holidays will be here soon! Fill your holiday stocking with love and 9 sweet romance novellas, from USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and award-winning authors!
BLURB: Sweet Christmas Kisses 5 brings you heartwarming contemporary romances that celebrate the joy of the season around the world, including in snowy Maine and the sun-kissed skies of Florida, the mountains of Colorado, small-town Illinois and South Carolina, New York to San Francisco, and even the glittering lights of Paris and the old-world charm of Florence. The Sweet Christmas Kisses 5 bundle features all-new, standalone novellas that will make you smile and fill your heart with the Christmas spirit.

*****Christmas With The Poker Group by Beate Boeker, USA Today Bestselling Author. After losing her beloved grandmother and getting dumped by her boyfriend, Sabrina is left feeling like Scrooge this Christmas. She makes a plan to survive the holidays in Florence, only to realize her grieving grandfather has a plan of his own. One that involves the crazy Mantoni family and the distractingly handsome man she’s determined to avoid. It’s beginning to look a lot like a tricky Christmas.

About the Author: Beate Boeker is a USA Today bestselling author with a passion for books that brim over with mischief & humor. She writes sweet, sophisticated romantic fiction and cozy mysteries, many of them set in beautiful Italy. While “Boeker” means “books” in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as “Happy” . . . and with a name that reads “Happy Books,” what else could she do but write novels with a happy ending?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beate-Boeker-153573758044433/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeateBoeker
Website: http://www.happybooks.de/
Newsletter: http://www.happybooks.de/newsletter

*****Christmas With The Carmichaels by Christine Bush, USA Today Bestselling Author. Widow and retiree Gabby is ready for a rocking chair. At least according to her daughter. Except maybe she’s not. After getting stranded in a Maine snowstorm with a silver-haired fox, Gabby might find the courage to say “yes” to life once more, and find a Christmas love she never expected.

About the Author: Christine Bush is an award-winning author of many sweet romances, mysteries, and novellas. When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching Psychology at a local college, working as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or (mostly) spending time with her twelve grandchildren.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christineabush
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Christine_Bush
Website: http://christinebush.com

*****The Mistletoe Bachelor Auction by Milou Koenings, USA Today bestselling author. When a supermodel with a string of bad news boyfriends “wins” a volunteer firefighter at a charity bachelor auction, Rose and Ryan might both discover they’ve found their perfect Christmas match. A fun and romantic holiday tale set in the fictional town of Green Pines, Illinois.

About the Author: USA Today bestselling author Milou Koenings writes heartwarming romance novels because sweet stories with happy endings are like chocolate – they bring joy to the world and so make it a better place. She’s lived all over the world, working as an editor and newspaper columnist, but loves staying home with her family most of all. She’s the author of the Green Pines Romance series.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MilouKoenings
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilouKoenings
Website: https://www.miloukoenings.com
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/milousnewletter

*****Sweet Peppermint Kisses by Josie Riviera, USA Today Bestselling Author. Sometimes the best gifts are hiding right under your Christmas tree. His emotions were once trampled flat. Can he throw his heart over the fence toward the ultimate Christmas gift—a future filled with love? A holiday tale about the healing power of love, set in the charming fictional town of Cherish, South Carolina.

About the Author: Author Josie Riviera writes Historical, Inspirational, and Sweet Romances. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their empty nest with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and an old house forever needing renovations.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Josie.Riviera
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Josieriviera
Website: https://josieriviera.com/

*****Christmas In Paris by Roxanne Rustand, USA Today Bestselling Author. Kindergarten teacher Heather thought all her dreams were coming true—until she was jilted by her fiancé three months before their Christmas wedding. Since the honeymoon to Paris is already paid for, Heather determines to go sans groom and have a great time, no matter what. Love is not part of her travel plans, but when a handsome young doctor literally runs into her on the street, the magic of Christmas in Paris may cause a change of heart.

About the Author: USA Today bestselling author Roxanne Rustand is the author of thirty-five traditionally published novels, plus four indie novels. She was a Golden Heart finalist twice, and a Golden Heart winner in 1995. She has won two RT Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and was nominated for an RT Magazine Career Achievement Award. Her earlier books were secular, but she now writes sweet indie romance, and inspirational romance for Love Inspired.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Roxanne.Rustand
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoxanneRustand
Website: http://www.roxannerustand.com
Newsletter: http://roxannerustand.com/newsletter-signup

*****Second Chance Christmas by Kristin Wallace, USA Today Bestselling Author. Ten years ago, Mia Reynolds and Win Barrington spent one magical Christmas together—until lies and manipulation tore them apart, and left Mia to raise a daughter all on her own. Now, both are back in their hometown of Palm Cove, Florida just in time for the holidays. Once they uncover the truth about what happened, can Mia and Win rediscover love and celebrate a Second Chance Christmas with their daughter?

About the Author: Kristin Wallace is a USA Today bestselling author of inspirational, contemporary and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith.” Her popular series include the Covington Falls Chronicles and Shellwater Key Tales.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KristinWallaceAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KWallaceAuthor
Website: http://kristinwallaceauthor.com
Newsletter: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/wMWhn

*****Ghosts From Christmas Past by Mary Alford, Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling Author. She was the love of his life, until a tragic accident on Christmas Eve left Charlotte Swenson in a coma. For eight years, Sheriff Dylan Parker of Bitter Creek, Colorado has held on to the hope that somehow his love will find a way back to him. And when Charlotte opens her eyes, just days before Christmas, Dylan can’t help but believe a holiday miracle may grant his every wish.

About the Author: Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author Mary Alford was inspired to become a writer after reading such romantic suspense greats as Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Creating characters and throwing them into dangerous situations that test their faith was a challenge, but 2012 Mary received “the call” to publish her first book — a dream come true. Today, Mary writes Christian romantic suspense, and small-town contemporary romances.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaryAlfordAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryalford13
Website: http://maryalford.net

*****Christmas Pizza To The Rescue by Jean C. Gordon. When a freak winter storm strands them alone at the Team Macachek barracks in Central New York, champion motocross racer Royce Evans and out-of-work investigative reporter turned pizza deliverer Samantha Linder strike a bargain that benefits them both. But when it appears Sam has broken the agreement, will the spirit of Christmas be strong enough to save their blossoming holiday love?

About the Author: Award-winning sweet and inspirational author Jean C. Gordon writes what she knows best — small-town, happily-ever-afters set in her native Upstate New York.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JeanCGordon.Author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanCGordon
Website: https://www.jeancgordon.com/
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2wFYzPq

*****The Love Clause by Liwen. Y. Ho. He needs a fake girlfriend to advance his career. She needs a pretend date to keep her mom off her case during the holidays. The solution to both of their problems? A contractual relationship with one clause: neither of them can fall in love. A Christmas tale set in romantic San Francisco that will cause this reluctant couple to rethink the “no love” clause.

About the Author: Liwen Y. Ho writes sweet and inspirational romance infused with heart, humor, and a taste of home (her Asian roots). She lives in California with her family and blogs about life as a recovering perfectionist.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2square2behip/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/2square2behip
Website: http://www.2square2behip.com/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bt2nEL

“The Boyfriend Swap,” holiday romantic comedy from Meredith Schorr

BLURB:

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year? New Yorkers Robyn Lane and Sidney Bellows aren’t so sure. Robyn has always dated struggling creative types. For once, her parents would love her to bring someone with health insurance and a 401(k) to their Chrismukkah celebration. Her actor boyfriend doesn’t qualify. While across town, Sidney’s professional life already belongs to her parents. She’s an attorney at her father’s law firm and she works tirelessly to keep her love life private. If she brings her lawyer boyfriend to their annual Christmas extravaganza, her parents will have the wedding planned by New Year’s Eve.

A mutual friend playfully suggests they trade boyfriends for the holidays. The women share a laugh, but after copious amounts of wine, decide The Boyfriend Swap could be the perfect solution. This way, Robyn can show off her stable attorney boyfriend and Sidney’s high-society family will take no interest in her flaky actor beau.

It’s a brilliant plan—in theory. In practice—not so much. When Will turns out to be the boy-next-door Robyn crushed on hard throughout her teenage years, and Sidney’s family fawns all over Perry like he’s an Oscar-winner rather than a D-list wannabe, one thing is certain: The Boyfriend Swap might just change their lives forever.

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Buy Links:  Amazon.com  B&N.com

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A born-and-bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing romantic comedy and humorous women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hardworking trademark paralegal and her still-single (but looking) status. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan, an avid runner, and an unashamed television addict.

To learn more, visit her at http://www.meredithschorr.com.

Social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MeredithSchorrAuthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MeredithSchorr
Website: http://www.meredithschorr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meredithschorr/

Buy Links:  Amazon.com  B&N.com 

“The Christmas Wedding Swap,” small-town contemporary romance by author Allyson Charles

BLURB:

SOMETIMES YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED . . .  

Allison Stuart has always been the odd-woman-out of her family. She wears her jeans a little too tight, colors her hair a little too blonde, and instead of going into medicine and law like her sisters, she runs a diner. She’s also the only single sibling left. And while she won’t change her style, and her meatloaf is to die for, thank you very much, she wouldn’t mind her share of wedded bliss. So she makes an early New Year’s resolution: No more meaningless flings.

Drop-dead sexy Luke Hamilton is everything Allison has sworn off. His only serious relationship has been with his five-star restaurant, Le Cygne Noir, in Chicago. When he’s threatened by a lawsuit, Luke decides to hide out in Pineville, Michigan, until the statute of limitations runs out. The small town is filled with Christmas charm, but he can’t imagine living there. Heating things up with the hottie who owns the local diner would make his exile bearable—if he can convince her to give up her ridiculous resolution . . .

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AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Allyson Charles lives in Northern California. She’s the author of the “Pineville Romance” series, small-town, contemporary romances published by Lyrical Press. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas, writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest disappointments is living in a state that doesn’t have any Cracker Barrels in it.

Sign up for Allyson’s newsletter at http://www.allysoncharles.com/newsletter

You can find her at http://www.allysoncharles.com

…on Twitter @1allysoncharles

…and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAllysonCharles.

Buy links for THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING SWAP

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=9781601836090
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-christmas-wedding-swap/id1209823636?mt=11
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-wedding-swap-allyson-charles/1125489708;jsessionid=7895472FF3C5A0BDE501E6AB0E760A87.prodny_store02-atgap02?ean=9781601836090
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-christmas-wedding-swap
Google: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781601836090&c=books