I have debated over the last couple of weeks the nature of this post. Christmas? Something else? A mix? I finally decided we have had enough Christmas (at least, I have, for my decorations are up, presents wrapped, and the anticipation is waning). Something else was not possible as my brain is filled with two novels I am writing simultaneously, which is common for me—that is until one takes dominance over the other. Therefore, I ultimately decided on a mix of the two.
Did any of you make the Christmas pudding on Stir-Up-Sunday? I did, only this time I cut back on the size of the pudding. With my recent diagnosis of diabetes, too many fruits and too much sugar is not a good idea. However, the occasional bite or two (as long as I am disciplined, which I tend to be by nature) keeps away the cravings, while maintaining my traditions for the holiday. For those of you who know little about Stir-Up-Sunday, it is the last Sunday before Advent begins. This year, it was November 23. GoodtoKnow explains, “The dish known today as ‘Christmas pudding’ began its life as a Christmas porridge called Frumenty, made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. This was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities. Like so many British dishes, it has evolved over the centuries from a simple peasant’s meal to a treasured celebration dish and has been adapted to become a sweet pudding rather than a rich meaty meal.
“When making the cake it is traditional for every member of the family, especially children, to give the mixture a stir, and make a wish while doing so. You are also supposed to stir the mixture from East to West to honour the journey made by the Wise Men. Christmas pudding is traditionally made with 13 ingredients to symbolise Jesus and the 12 Apostles. The ingredients are: sultanas, raisins, demerara sugar, currants, glacé cherries, stout, breadcrumbs, sherry, suet, almonds, orange and lemon peel, cognac and mixed spices. It is still common for people to include small silver coins (traditionally a sixpence) in the pudding mixture. Whoever gets the serving with the coin in the middle gets to keep it and it is believed to bring them wealth in the coming year. This same practice is done with a tiny wishbone (to bring good luck), a silver thimble (for thrift), or an anchor (to symbolise safe harbour). But if you are putting any coins or trinkets into your pudding, make sure they are sterilised and and definitely ensure that those eating are aware there may be something in their pudding. You can wrap them in small pieces of tin foil to make them more visible.” Read more at https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/food/stir-up-sunday-80612#cqpo114RvZWVdlRr.99
I have also scaled back my tradition of preparing small mincemeat pies for the Twelve Days of Christmas. “Mince Pies, like Christmas Puddings, were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than the dried fruits and spices mix as they are today. They were also first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby, with the top representing his swaddling clothes. Sometimes they even had a ‘pastry baby Jesus’ on the top! During the Stuart and Georgian times, in the UK, mince pies were a status symbol at Christmas. Very rich people liked to show off at their Christmas parties by having pies made is different shapes (like stars, crescents, hearts, tears, & flowers); they fancy shaped pies could often fit together a bit like a jigsaw! They also looked like the ‘knot gardens’ that were popular during those periods. Having pies like this meant you were rich and could afford to employ the best, and most expensive, pastry cooks. A custom from the Middle Ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (evening of the 5th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months! On Christmas Eve, children in the UK often leave out mince pies with brandy or some similar drink for Father Christmas, and a carrot for the reindeer.” (The History of Mince Pies) This year, I have purchased 6 of the small pies, and I will eat half each of the twelve days. That way I keep my traditions and not destroy my health. LOL!
Now, to the real “meat” of this post. Five of my Christmas stories are now available for only $0.99 cents.
Mr. Darcy’s Present: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary
The Greatest Present He Would Ever Receive is the Gift of Her Love…
What if Mr. Darcy purchased a gift for Elizabeth Bennet to acknowledge the festive days, even though he knows he will never present it to her? What if the gift is posted to the lady by his servants and without his knowledge? What if the enclosed card was meant for another and is more suggestive than a gentleman should share with an unmarried lady? Join Darcy and Elizabeth, for a holiday romp, loaded with delightful twists and turns no one expects, but one in which our favorite couple take a very different path in thwarting George Wickham and Lydia Bennet’s elopement. Can a simple book of poetry be Darcy’s means to win Elizabeth’s love? When we care more for another than ourselves, the seeds of love have an opportunity to blossom.
Or Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
Christmas at Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Sequel
THE DARCYS AND THE BENNETS CORDIALLY INVITE YOU TO CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY: A PRIDE & PREJUDICE HOLIDAY SEQUEL
Darcy has invited the Bennets and the Bingleys to spend the Christmastide’s festive days at Pemberley. But as he and Elizabeth journey to their estate to join the gathered families, a blizzard blankets the English countryside. The Darcys find themselves stranded at a small inn while Pemberley is inundated with refugees seeking shelter from the storm.
Without her brother’s strong presence, Georgiana Darcy tries desperately to manage the chaos surrounding the arrival of six invited guests and eleven unscheduled visitors. But bitter feuds, old jealousies and intimate secrets quickly rise to the surface. Has Lady Catherine returned to Pemberley for forgiveness or revenge? Will the manipulative Caroline Bingley find a soul mate? Shall Kitty Bennet and Georgiana know happiness?
Written in Regency style and including Austen’s romantic entanglements and sardonic humor, Christmas at Pemberley places Jane Austen’s most beloved characters in an exciting yuletide story that speaks to the love, the family spirit and the generosity that remain as the heart of Christmas.
(NOTE! The sequel to this story, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy, will re-release next month—mid January, for I finally have my rights back from Ulysses Press for all of my original Austen-inspired stories. Take the time to read this one for the first time over the holidays, or reread it if you already own Christmas at Pemberley, and be prepared for The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy after the first of the year.)
A Fabulous Regency Christmas anthology from Best-selling Authors. ~ Six full length novellas to keep you reading all through Christmas, each featuring a happily ever after centered around Christmas.
The Last Woman Standing by Regina Jeffers ~ A Gypsy blessing for choosing a wife bound to rare flowers, a Marquess loath to comply with it, a companion with horticulture in her blood, lies, deception and manipulation, a blessing fulfilled in unexpected ways, an enduring love.
Twelfth Night Promise by Alanna Lucas ~ A Lord with a steadfast love, the Lady who broke his heart, six long years ago, now forced to a marriage against her will, a snowbound Christmas which brings them together again, deception unravelling as love proves stronger than lies, a second chance claimed.
A Bluestocking for a Baron by Arietta Richmond ~ A Bluestocking with unfashionable interests, a Baron with a deep investment in trade, an unscrupulous business rival, kidnapping, blackmail and rescue, love found in the face of danger.
The Earl and the Bluestocking by Janis Susan May ~ An Earl who needs a wife – but dislikes all of the women he meets, a young lady who staunchly denies any interest in fashion and frivolity, a Christmas Eve Ball, and a chance to be different – just once, a mysterious beauty who disappears, a slender clue to a lifetime love.
His Yuletide Kiss by Summer Hanford ~ A gentleman, the woman he believes he is fated to marry, her cousin, a family feud, an approval denied, secrets lies and deception, dark character revealed and true love redeemed.
Wooing the Wallflower by Emma Kaye ~ A Viscount’s daughter, a man of business, a conflict of class, a secret of art, an unsuitable affection, the threat of a marriage, a love worth fighting for.
Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
Lady Joy and the Earl: A Regency Christmas Romance
They have loved each other since childhood, but life has not been kind to either of them. James Highcliffe’s arranged marriage had been everything but loving, and Lady Joy’s late husband believed a woman’s spirit was meant to be broken. Therefore, convincing Lady Jocelyn Lathrop to abandon her freedom and consider marriage to him after twenty plus years apart may be more than the Earl of Hough can manage. Only the spirit of Christmas can bring these two together when secrets mean to keep them apart.
Kindle (Available to read on Kindle Unlimited)
Letters from Home: A Regency Christmas Romance
She is the woman whose letters to another man kept Simon alive during the war. He is the English officer her late husband claimed to be incomparable. In her, his heart whispers of finally being “home.” In him, she discovers a man who truly stirs her soul. Unfortunately for both, the lady fears no longer being invisible to the world and assuming a place at his side. Can Major Lord Simon Lanford claim Mrs. Faith Lamont as his wife or will his rise to the earldom and his family’s expectations keep them apart?
“This was both a heart-breaking and heart-warming second chance love story, made all the more satisfying by the Christmas setting.” – Calico Hearts Review
Kindle (Available to read on Kindle Unlimited)
REMINDER: My annual Twelve Days of Christmas sale begins December 26 and runs through January 5. Prices are slashed on EIGHTEEN of my Austen titles and SEVENTEEN of my Regencies + a few contemporary tales. SAVE A FEW PENNIES TO FILL UP YOUR NEW eREADER!!!!
Now, for the GIVEAWAY. I have one eBook copy of each of the three Christmas tales available for those who comment below. PLUS, I am tossing in an eBook copy of In Want of a Wife, Darcy’s Passions, Mr. Darcy’s Brides, and A Regency Summer Escape for good measure. That is SEVEN eBooks available, one each, for 7 lucky winners. Tell me your favorite Christmas traditions or just speak of the holidays and family. I would love to hear your tales. The giveaway ends at midnight EST on Friday, December 6. I will announce the winners on December 9. Good Luck!