STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: RITA BAY

PhotobucketPhotobucket “Io, Saturnalia” by Rita BaySaturnalia was “the best of days,” according to the Roman poet Catullus. The ancient and rather wild Roman festival honored the Roman god Saturn, one of the early agricultural gods. This festival of light which led up to the winter solstice was originally celebrated on December 17th and later expanded an additional week to December 23rd. Lighted candles, often given as gifts during the celebration, symbolized the search for knowledge and truth and the approach of the new year. The celebration ended with the exchange of gifts among family, friends, and the slaves.

IO SATURNALIA. Saturnalia was a holiday from all forms of work. Schools were closed, and athletic workouts were suspended. The courts were closed, so no justice was administered, and no declaration of war could be made. In Rome, the festival began with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet which was attended by Saturn’s statue that reclined on one of the couches used for dining. The revelers then took the celebration outside where shouts of “Io Saturnalia” filled the streets. (Io, pronounced “yo,” was an expression of elation.)

MASTERS SERVE SLAVES. On December 18th and 19th, Romans continued their celebration in their homes. Those who could afford it sacrificed a suckling pig, a traditional offering for an earth-god, for the feast. The slaves and the masters reversed roles. The masters put aside their togas, donned skimpy outfits with peaked conical caps often traditionally worn by Greeks (and freed slaves), and served the slaves during the banquet.

OK TO BE NAUGHTY. Gambling which was frowned upon at any other time for the citizens and forbidden to the slaves was permitted during Saturnalia. Rampant overeating and drunkenness was the rule. The Stoic philosopher and statesman Seneca (the teacher of Nero who eventually ordered Seneca to commit suicide) wrote “the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation.” In the years of the Roman empire, the Lord of Misrule, the Saturnalicius princeps, presided over the conduct of the holiday. He could give bizarre orders which had to be obeyed. (“Sing naked.” or “Toss him in the Tiber. “)

CHRISTIANS STEAL THE DAY. Saturnalia was popular until the 3rd or 4th century AD when it died out with the rise of Christianity. Some elements of the celebration like caroling and the giving of gifts were intentionally carried over into the Christmas celebrations. The Lord of Misrule can also be found in the Italian carnival celebrations.

ABOUT RITA, HER BOOKS, & A GIVEAWAY. Rita Bay is an author of paranormal (Champagne Book Group) and historical (Siren BookStrand) romances. Her blog (http://ritabay.com/) features daily posts on the history and culture of Europe and the United States omitted from the history books AND blurbs and excerpts of her books. Rita’s books are available from Amazon. Leave a comment and your name will be placed in a drawing on December 23rd for an eBook of Rita’s shapeshifter paranormal from Champagne Books, Into the Lyons’ Den.

Happy Holidays, Rita Bay.

STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: NIKKI DUNCAN

PhotobucketChristmas is a SeasonSomeone said recently that Thanksgiving is a day, but Christmas is a season. They were referring to food, which, let’s face it, abounds this time of year. It got me thinking though about how far the truth of that statement reaches.

Beyond the food, we celebrate Thanksgiving for a day. The very next day we pack up our thanks and move into our plans for Christmas. We turn on the music, pull out the decorations, bake, watch movie after movie, shop and wrap, and so much more.

Of course, those are the actions of people who enjoy Christmas. There are some people who simply don’t care for the holiday. Others fall out of love with the crazy making of the season. And for some, Christmas loses its magic. It’s a saddening thought, but what if the reasons you loved Christmas died as the result of a sudden and tragic accident?

This was the track my mind took while planning and writing HER MIRACLE MAN. For Jennalyn James the answer was to retreat and shut herself off from life and most especially the holidays. Her only concession is to wear her I Believe in Santa robe her sister gave her. That is until she accepted a job to plan A Month of Miracles – as series of outings with kids who’ve spent too much time in the hospital. Kids who are finally well enough to experience some of the things they gave up during their illness, or thought they’d never see.

I smiled, laughed and cried as I wrote, because not even Jennalyn’s grief could withstand the magic of the season that I love so much. It wasn’t easy for her, but it didn’t take long for her to begin allowing some of the magic back into her heart. Kids have a way of doing that to us, after all.

What are some of the traditions you value the most? What holiday magic have you witnessed that will always stay with you?

Chat it up and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $10 Samhain gift card. Even if you read Kindle or Nook you can still get your books there – they sell every format. 🙂

A last wish brings them together. Only love can keep them there.

Samhain Publishing

November 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61921-100-1 eBook

Pre-order the ebook: Samhain Publishing | Amazon – Kindle | Barnes & Noble – Nook

WHAT’S BEING SAID: Gina on Goodreads compared it to Nicholas Sparks saying… “You will laugh, smile, cry and likely all in the same page. …I couldn’t stop reading this book with its heart on its sleeve. Definitely a MUST READ…”

THE BLURB:

Children’s hospital administrator Ryland Davids was attracted to event planner Jennalyn James the moment he saw her. He thought there would be plenty of time to get to know her—until her younger sister, Sabrina, was admitted with complications from traumatic brain injury.

Sabrina’s bright courage broke through Ryland’s wall of professional distance, but once she drew her last breath, Jennalyn left the hospital and never returned. Though he understands her need for distance, there’s a hole in his heart that won’t heal. And a last wish from Sabrina he’s honor-bound to deliver.

When Jennalyn comes face to face with Ryland at a charity event, the pain comes rushing back, threatening to shatter her everything’s-fine façade. It doesn’t help that the lump in her throat is mostly her heart, leaping in response to his touch.

Despite her reluctance to return to the scene of her grief, she fulfills Sabrina’s final request to plan a series of Christmas events for the kids. Over the course of A Month of Miracles, Ryland and Jennalyn discover there’s the light of hope at the end of grief’s dark tunnel. But it may not be enough to heal her broken heart.

 

STUFF THE STOCKING BLOGFEST: B.J. McCALL

PhotobucketChristmas MemoriesOne of the joys of the Christmas season is a tree twinkling with lights. The trimming of the tree is a wonderful tradition. When the fragrant fir took a prominent place in the living room you knew Christmas was just around the corner. When I was young decorating the tree was an exciting event. Stringing the lights and placing the ornaments while eating popcorn and drinking hot-spiced cider added to the party atmosphere. The angel resting atop the tree was the final touch. The room quieted as the house lights were turned off. Then it happened. The tree lit up the living room in its multi-colored glory. Everyone cheered. Santa was coming.

December is a great month when you’re young. Days when folks went caroling and hot cocoa with marshmallows warmed you up after an afternoon spent playing in the snow. Wrapped presents begin to appear beneath the tree. I recall shaking the packages and trying to peek beneath the bright paper. I was sure each one held a treasure, a wonderful toy that I’d being wanting since Easter. My imagination wouldn’t consider socks or pajamas.

As December days gave way to darkness the Christmas lights would come to life, turning my house and the neighborhood into a magical place ready for Santa’s arrival.

I no longer wait for Santa, but I still love Christmas trees. My house is too small to put one in the living room so I put mine in the backyard. I string it with lights and decorate it with colorful bulbs. I live in California where the temperature is mild, so I can sit outside in the evening, enjoy a glass of wine, and experience the magic of Christmas.

In celebration of this wonderful holiday, I’m offering a prize. If you’d like to win a PDF copy of my werewolf Christmas story, Holiday Moon, please enter by posting a comment.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS
B.J McCall

About the Author: B.J. McCall lives in sunny California. When she needs a break from writing, BJ likes to take a long walk. Four miles later, she’s ready to get back to work.

BJ is multi-published in print and ebooks. She writes paranormal and sci-fi stories on a regular basis for Changeling Press. She’s also published with eRed Sage and Cobblestone Press. 2012 marks a decade of writing for Ellora’s Cave. Her books are available at Amazon, B&N, and AllRomanceEbooks.

WEBSITE www.bjmccall.com

STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: JOANNA CHAMBERS

PhotobucketChristmas: the best time of year for romance characters to consider a change of heart…

Christmas is an important time of year for romance novel characters. It’s the one time of year when anything is possible; when stubborn heroes and heroines have the chance to re-evaluate their hard-and-fast views. So naturally, Christmas turns up in my novel, Unforgivable. After all, what better time of year to ask whether it’s possible to forgive the unforgivable?

Why is Christmas such fertile ground for the change of heart? Is it because it’s the one time of year when the world pauses for a moment? When everything just stops, if only for a day? Or is it something to do with older traditions?

It’s thought that the Christmas festival we celebrate today may share some roots with the Roman winter festival of Saturnalia, when the ‘natural order’ was turned on its head – masters dressed as servants and men dressed as women. Anything was possible. Perhaps this is why books and movies are full of Christmas-related changes of heart?

Unforgivable is the story of Rose and Gil, a Regency couple whose marriage was such an unmitigated disaster that they haven’t seen one another for five long years, since mere days after their disastrous wedding night. Gil and Rose behave horribly to one another: Gil cheats on Rose. Rose lies to Gil. They hurt one another so badly that forgiveness seems impossible. After all, how do you reach out to someone when you feel simultaneously ashamed of your own behaviour and outraged at the other person’s?

Rose and Gil have maintained one tiny thread of communication throughout their marriage – Rose’s annual Christmas invitation. So when Rose reaches a point when she finally withholds even this, Gil wants to know the reason why.

“Hello, Rose,” he said at last, lifting his hand to take off his hat. The wind immediately ripped through his dark hair, making it wild and unruly. It was whipping about his face, and his coat was fluttering, and the ends of his neckcloth were flying about too, but Gil, at the centre of all that movement, was as still as a rock. His hazel eyes fixed on her with an odd, wary look she’d not seen on his face before.

“Suddenly, I find I don’t know what to say,” he said with a humorless laugh. “After coming three hundred miles to see you.”

She stared at him, not knowing what to say either. She couldn’t imagine why he was here.

After a moment, he closed the distance that separated them. It took him two long strides. She had to tip her head to look into his face then, and when she did, it was to see that he appeared deeply troubled.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“You didn’t invite me for Christmas,” he said at last, and she wondered if she’d misheard him. His words were so unexpected, so at odds with his unhappy expression.

“Every year, you invite me for Christmas,” he added. “Except this one.”…..

What do you think – is Christmas a time when old resentments can be put aside? Do you believe in Christmas miracles?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Unforgivable.
About the Author:Joanna Chambers always wanted to write love stories but she studied law, became a practising lawyer, married and had two children before she finally got beyond staring at empty notebooks. She thanks the arrival of her children for the discovery of her muse and/or destruction of her social life.

Joanna is a passionate believer in the transformative power of love. She lives in the UK with her family. When not working, looking after children or writing, she can be found with her nose buried in an ebook.

Find Joanna online at

www.JoannaChambers.com

Twitter – @ChambersJoanna

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002993543568

Gil Truman has eyes only for the beautiful Tilly—until he is forced to marry plain, sickly Rose Davenport to reclaim the lands his father foolishly gambled away. After a disastrous wedding night tainted with his bitterness, he deposits Rose at his remote Northumbrian estate, soothing his guilt with the thought that she need never lay eyes on him again.

Five years after the mortifying wedding night that destroyed all her romantic fantasies, Rose is fed up with hearing second- and third-hand reports of Gil’s philandering ways. She is no longer the shy, homely girl he left behind, but a strong, confident woman who knows how to run an estate. And knows what she wants—her husband, back in their marriage bed.

Gil doesn’t recognize the bold, flirtatious woman he meets at a ball, with or without her mask. Yet he is bewitched and besotted, and their night together is the most passionate he has ever known.

But when he confesses his sins to the beautiful stranger, the truth rips open the old wounds of their blighted history. Threatening any hope of a future together.

STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: LOUISA BACIO

Photobucket5 Ways to Get Sexy over the Holiday Season
with Louisa Bacio
Tis the season for stress. If the holidays tend to make you feel overwhelmed, take a few minutes to unwrap these goodies, and keep the sexy going. Here are five off-the-cuff treats to make your holiday season brighter.

5) A Red & Green Bow – Tie it around your favorite part of him, and unwrap the package very slowly.

4) Candy Cane Stripped Thigh Highs – Have you seen these sexy stockings? They’ll make your lover want to slowly strip them off your luscious legs.

3) Red Ruffled Undies – Do these panties make my butt look big? Oh, I hope so. If he catches a peak of these naughty-nice unmentionables, they’ll drive him wild.

2) Candy Cane Lane Massage Candle – The adult store AdamEve.com features some wicked fun. As this vegan candle melts, spreading its delicious scent, use the spoon to scoop out the goodness for personal massage.

1) Holiday Betty – Oh, yes, dare. Have you checked out the specialty hair dye for the most private parts? Betty Beauty even features holiday stencils (http://www.bettybeauty.com) Now that’s a story in the making.

Contest: Got another way to get sexy over the season? Share. Please leave a comment with a valid email address, and the winner will be able to choose one book from my backlist.

Here’s a look at a new release:

The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf 4: The Wolfe Pack

Silver Ashe can’t let go of the desire to find her birth father and the urge to join a pack. Against the wishes of her brother, Trevor, and her vampire-lover, Nick, Silver leaves New Orleans for the woods of Louisiana.

As the guard and a dominant member of the Wolfe Pack, Viktor isn’t too sure of the city-dwelling stranger who comes trespassing. With the lack of female werewolves, Viktor soon sees Silver as a potential mate. Too bad she’s already spoken for by a bloodsucker.

Trapped between worlds, Silver’s faced with choosing between the lover she’s known most of her life, and the budding relationship with Viktor, where her future may lay. It’ll take some sweet talking and a whole lot of loving for Silver to find her place within the pack.

Available now via Ravenous Romance, Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other eRetailers.

Hopefully, you will fall in love with Nick and Viktor as much as I did.

Enjoy!

Louisa Bacio
http://www.facebook.com/louisabacio
http://www.twitter.com/louisabacio
http://www.louisabacio.com
http://louisabacio.blogspot.com

STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: J.M. STEWART

PhotobucketWhat Christmas Means To Meby Joanne Stewart (w/a JM Stewart)

When I was little, Christmas was, of course, all about Santa and the presents. How many nights I’d try to stay up as late as I could until I just couldn’t stand it anymore, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. Every noise outside was exciting. Could it be Santa’s reindeer on the roof? Tell me I’m not the only one.

Then one night, somewhere around fourth grade, I caught my parents putting out the presents. Santa was no more. I don’t recall being too disappointed, though, because you know, when it all comes down to it, I still got the goods. 😉

We decided to tell my son a few years ago that Santa wasn’t real. I’ll admit it. It was a lazy thing on our part. He was getting older and my husband and I were getting tired of having to wrap presents at two in the morning. Because we’d put it off until the last minute, of course. lol Surprisingly, my son took the news well. He didn’t have much to say about it, actually, for the exact same reason. He’s still getting the goods. He didn’t care where they came from. lol

My boys are older now. Teenagers. My oldest now has his license and a job. He’ll be eighteen in June. My youngest is twelve, going on thirteen in March. Christmases have morphed in the last couple of years. My husband and I don’t have any family nearby that we can share the holidays with, so for the last ten years, it’s just been us four. We’ve always tried to make Christmas something the boys would remember. We’d decorate the tree together, put out the stockings. My youngest, standing five foot nine and now taller than his mama, still enjoys the decorating. We have an old tree stand, given to us by my mother-in-law. It’s about as old as my husband, well over forty years. We aren’t entirely sure anymore. It still spins and it still plays Christmas songs. When my boys were little, that stand was always playing the songs. Oh how they loved to listen to it.

But really, for me, Christmas is about family. The boys are old enough now that it’s not all about the toys anymore. We’ve moved beyond Xbox’s and Gameboys and Hotwheels. Sometimes I miss those days. Now the holidays are about sitting around together. Enjoying the food and each other. Believe it or not, we actually enjoy spending time together.

I still believe in Santa, though. The presents may come from each other, but I still can’t sleep the night before because I’m too excited. And I still get up Christmas morning a little too early and so excited I can barely stand myself. My oldest is the same way. He gets up with me and we sit in the living room, eyeing the presents, wondering how long we have to wait until we can go pounce on my husband and his brother. This year, we’ll come armed with puppies who love giving kisses!

Wishing all of you, whatever you celebrate, the happiest of holidays. May your days be filled with the love and joy of the season.

I’ll be giving away a PDF copy of one of my books to one commenter. You get your choice of The Playboy’s Baby, featured with this post, or an ARC copy of A Second Chance at Forever. Because it’s Christmas, I think the choice should be yours. 🙂

They can’t forget the past, but is it enough to create a future?

When an accident leaves her guardian to her six-month-old niece, Emma Stanton must return to her small hometown of Hastings, Montana to find the one man she’s spent the last eight years trying to forget. She and Dillon had grown up together–he was her sister’s best friend. But that hadn’t stopped him from sharing a kiss with Emma that had followed her through the years. Now, not only must she break the news of her sister’s tragic death to Dillon, but she must risk the only family she has left and tell him he’s the baby’s father.

Wealthy nightclub owner Dillon James has been used for his name and money one too many times, so when he comes face-to-face with Emma Stanton and her gorgeous lips, he’s determined to keep things light. All he wants is to be the father his daughter needs, to make up for not being there for her and her mother. But spending time with Emma, as she shows him the ropes of caring for his daughter, is wearing down his defenses. Perhaps it’s time he took a chance on love.

If only he can convince Emma to take a chance on him…

About the Author:

J.M. writes what she likes to call sweet and spicy contemporary romance. She’s a stay-at-home mom who lives in Seattle Washington, with her husband, two boys and their two very spoiled puppies. She’s been devouring romances for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her passion.

Website: http://authorjmstewart.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JMStewartWriter

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-JM-Stewart/129990420383155

STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: M. GARNET

PhotobucketWow, what a great Christmas Gift. I don’t blog but have always wanted to get started, so a Christmas Party is the best of all ways to get involved. Especially since I can give away a gift. I find one of the best things about the season is the excuse to give gifts. I like to find that special something that will fit each person.

I can remember as a small child, my father had died and we were poorer than Church mice. My sister and I slept in the same small room and went to bed early on Christmas Eve with lots of hopes and wishes. Half asleep I saw a shadow come into our room and watched in mystery as mother picked up our two old dolls. Getting up the next morning, we saw the most beautiful sight, under our small tree. There was our two dolls, totally transformed into glorious Princesses. Mother had spent weeks making clothes from scrapes, sewing on buttons and paste jewelry until we had the most beautiful dolls in the neighborhood.

I learned early from that lovely woman, to know what giving really means. I also learned from the fact that she outlived three husbands and had numerous admirers until she died, that love comes in many disguises. She was never bashful about teaching us about sex and sharing the important things in life with us, such as enjoy it but don’t flaunt it. So the best part about my stories is that my mother would have approved and read with delight. I write Erotic Romance sometimes in comtemporary settings and sometimes in Sci/Fi. But I like a happy ending whether the characters realize it or not.

I think I will enjoy giving away one of my books called TRADING PARTIES. This story has an interesting epilogue. I wrote it first as a Halloween story, one that can be enjoyed any time of the year, but in talking about the story line to a friend, she said, “Wait, you can’t leave her standing alone on the sidewalk.”

She was right, so I wrote the second story, a Christmas story called CELEBRATE A HOLIDAY EVE that brings a happy love story to it’s rightful end. People ask us authors where we get out ideas. Sometimes it is as simple as sitting and talking to a friend.

About the Author:

M. Garnet, or known to her growing family as Muriel, sits comfortably in a custom designed office that contains a wall filled desk that holds her Mac, a PC and a flat screen Sony. Against a large window is a drafting table that is surrounded by her painting needs for the stress relief that she laughs about as she often paints in watercolors.

The window frames the usual that often inspires her, a panorama of Florida, rain or shine, large birds in the sky or heavy damp winds moving the pines and palm fronds. Her favorite companion, Cayo, a King Charles Spaniel, looks up with hopeful eyes waiting for the click of the keys to stop so that they can go out to the large pool in back or a walk in front where the squirrels play. Life is good, and so is her imagination.

You can reach her at her web site www.mgarnet.com you can also find me on the Authors Page at Extasybooks.com

STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: CHANDRA RYAN

PhotobucketI’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas What? That’s not how the song goes? Well that’s how it goes in my house. You see, after a lifetime of having white Christmases in Illinois, my family packed up and moved to central Texas a year ago. And so green is the color of Christmas here. Okay, maybe sometimes it’s brown. But it most definitely won’t be white.

The move presented a bit of a culture shock at first. And I did miss being close to my mom and sister (not to mention the nieces). But one thing I’ve found I don’t miss is the snow. Yep, didn’t even miss it on Christmas day. I’ve discovered I can live without it. Truth be told, not having snow actually makes the season easier.

Yep, I’m dreaming of a green Christmas. And, since my newest book—Bond Betrayed—features a rather unconventional hero and heroine, I’m betting Nikki and Isaac are looking forward to a green Christmas as well.

Just how nontraditional are they? Well, Nikki is a seductress—able to bend any male’s will with a mere touch. And Isaac is an enforcer who’s willing to break the rules he’s paid to enforce to accomplish his goals. Not enough? Okay. Here’s a look at their meeting. You can decide from there.

“Why don’t I know you?” The deep timbre of his voice made heat pool at her core.

Studying his face, she thought there was something vaguely familiar about him, but she let it go. She’d been forced out of the Community too long ago for her to remember him even if she had known him back then. And if he knew who she was, he’d be running in the other direction. Her last name had a tendency to evoke that response.

Arching an eyebrow inquisitively, she gave him her most seductive smile. “My best guess? It’s because we’ve never met.”

“That’s unfortunate. I would’ve enjoyed meeting you.”

Her breath caught at the raw sensuality surrounding the man. She shouldn’t be standing so close to him—not if she wanted to keep the tenuous grasp of control she still had. But she couldn’t bear the idea of moving away. “I’m sure you would’ve.”

“Maybe we should meet.”

She wasn’t ignorant to their ways—this wasn’t an invitation to tea. This was exactly what she’d been hoping for as she’d made her way over to him. But, no matter how strongly he affected her, she couldn’t afford to be reckless.

“Maybe, but…”

“But what?”

But she wasn’t suicidal. Not exactly something one could articulate without raising suspicion, though. She took a small step toward him and immediately regretted it. Standing so close, the pull was stronger, so intense she found it was a struggle to remember why she’d taken the step in the first place. “I’d need to know who owns you first.”

He stared at her as if confused for a moment.

“Your family and alliances,” she clarified. “Will you let me see them?” It was a daringly bold question but, if she was going to do this—and she really wanted to do this—she needed to make sure it wasn’t some sort of trick.

“Are there any you’re looking for—specifically that is?” As he slowly unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt, she saw the beginning of the elaborate series of tattoos and mentally kicked herself. Only she would stumble upon someone so well-connected his entire torso would be inked. “Or should I strip down for you right here in the parking lot?”

Want more? I’m giving away a download of Bond Betrayed to one commenter. All you have to do is tell me if you’d rather have a white or a green Christmas. Make sure to leave your e-mail address in the comment so I can get ahold of you if you win. The winner will be announced in the comments on Dec. 23rd.

Thanks for stopping by and thank you Long and Short Reviews for having me on today.

You can find the blurb to the book on Ellora’s Cave, on my website, or on Amazon.

STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: JINA BACARR

PhotobucketThe Christmas before the Titanic sailed…by Jina Bacarr

With the holidays upon us, I’ve been wondering what Christmas 1911 was like for the Irish emigrants and passengers who would later board the Titanic in April 1912.

I remember a story I read in an Irish newspaper about a letter to Santa written in 1911 by children who hid their wish list in a chimney.

When it was discovered many years later, it was barely touched by time. As if nothing could douse the hopes and dreams of children adrift on their magical adventure of writing to the man in the North Pole.

Most likely the passengers who booked passage on the Titanic were just as excited about the ship’s upcoming maiden voyage.

It was an unusually cold winter in 1911. What was it like on that Christmas Day?

Did Irish widow Margaret Rice knit extra mittens for her five boys?

I wonder if Father Browne–then a theology student–received his new camera on that Christmas morning?

Imagine the joy in the heart of young Swede Dagmar Bryhl when her handsome fiancé presented her with a lovely watch.

Or the Irish holiday feast of turkey and ham and mince pie enjoyed by Nora Keane when she returned to Limerick to visit her mother.

When they raised their voices in O Holy Night on that Christmas Eve, they had no idea what part they would play on the ship of dreams when they set sail on the Titanic.

Father Browne sailed on the Titanic for two days and got off the ship at Queenstown on April 11, 1912. A wealthy first class couple offered to pay his passage to New York, but his uncle, the Bishop of Cloyne, ordered him off the ship. The future Jesuit priest took the last pictures of the Titanic and her passengers.

Margaret Rice was a steerage passenger. She and her five sons never made it to a lifeboat and perished in the tragedy. A surviving photo of her and her boys was taken before she left and has only recently resurfaced.

Dagmar Bryhl was traveling to visit an uncle in America in second class. She survived, but her brother and fiancé both perished. She was wearing the watch her beloved gave her on a chain around her neck when she boarded the ship.

Nora Keane decided to stay longer in Ireland than planned, but she had trepidations about traveling on Titanic’s maiden voyage. Her brother convinced her to book passage as a second class passenger. She survived the sinking, thanks to a ship’s officer who banged on their door and ordered her and Edwinna Troutt up on top. Nora was shocked when four hundred people showed up at the train station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to welcome her home.

These are a few Titanic stories from that Christmas of 1911.

As Katie O’Reilly, my heroine in TITANIC RHAPSODY, would say, “May the hand of an angel be upon your shoulder to guide you in your dreams.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Read an Excerpt at: http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419937712.htm

Check out the Titanic Rhapsody book video on my website at: http://jinabacarr.com

(You can find Buy links for all e-book Readers on my website).

Follow me on Twitter @JinaBacarr

Merry Christmas, everyone!

WIN an e-book copy of my Titanic Romance novel “TITANIC RHAPSODY” from Ellora’s Cave by leaving a comment. I’ll pick out a lucky winner and post the name here in the comments section.

Katie O’Reilly runs away from the grand house where she is in service after being wrongly accused of stealing a diamond bracelet. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape—the Titanic. She boards the ship of dreams and runs straight into the arms of Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. If she takes off her clothes.

Jina Bacarr loves to travel, indulge in dark chocolate truffles and spend rainy days in museums.

Jina is also a Titanic enthusiast and blogger. Follow her Titanic posts at http://titanicnovel.wordpress.com

STUFF YOUR STOCKING BLOGFEST: ELLE DRUSKIN

Photobucket“Let There Be Light!”I’ve always loved this time of year for lots of reasons. Being Jewish, I enjoy Christmas vicariously without the hassle of huge holiday shopping and battling mobs in malls. It’s also my birthday, and coincidentally, that date often falls during Chanukah, so I always felt especially blessed. As a young child, I thought all the decorations and fuss were for my birthday. (Okay, I was a very young kid at the time and wised up fast).

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is really a minor Jewish holiday in terms of observance, but because it coincides with Christmas, it’s turned into a major event on the calendar. So, what is the holiday? Basically, it dates back over 2000 years. During the Greek occupation of Judea, the Greeks attempted to destroy Jewish culture and defiled The Temple. The Maccabee family waged a civil war and defeated the Greeks. There was only one cruise of oil left to light the menorah in The Temple, but miraculously, the oil lasted 8 days until fresh oil arrived. Since that time, it has been the custom to light a menorah (more correctly, a Chanukiah) for 8 days, starting with 1 candle, each night adding another until 8 candles are lit on the last day.

Oil being significant to the miracle, it’s a custom to eat food that is cooked in oil. (This is not the time to count calories!). The most common foods are potato pancakes (latkes) or doughnuts, especially with jelly filling. They are sold everywhere in Israel during the holiday which is a school vacation to the delight of children. Stores are decorated, and lots of free activities are held for children. It’s just a fun time for everyone.

One of the precepts of lighting the Chanukah candles is to “publicize” the miracle. In recent years in the US, there has been a significant growth in public lighting ceremonies and this has spread to other countries more recently. Personally, I think the nicest way of doing this is something that is common in Israel. I’ve never seen this anywhere else, but there you can buy a glass case so you can light your Chanukiah and place it outside in the cold, dark night and it won’t blow out from the wind. It’s quite common to see apartment buildings with balconies where every apartment has a Chanukiah flaming outside in these glass cases. Even my teenage son and his friend, (you never know what teenagers will say) thought this was “cool.” It’s beautiful to walk the streets and see all these lights glowing in the dark. It’s heartening and moving and I can never help thinking that these candles bring light into our lives.

I wish everyone a joyous, happy and healthy holiday season with light in your lives too.

Leave a comment for a chance to win the choice of one of the Liberty Heights series books as a prize. Book 3, Hanky Panky, should be out in December. Book 1 , Animal Crackers, and Book 2, The Life of the Party are both out.

www.ElleDruskin.com