Today we have my dear friend Jenna Jaxon with us. Her books range from a collection of self published Chirstmas stories to the steamy hot of Almost Perfect and just about everything in between.
Hello, Lindsay, and thank you so much for having me here on Murders and Mysteries–even though I write neither. J
I’m Jenna Jaxon, writer of erotic contemporary and historical romance and since there are only 12 days left before Christmas, I thought I’d talk a little bit about traditions that may have become embedded in your yuletide experience.
I am a person who loves traditions, especially at Christmas. At my house growing up we always made special Christmas cookies, always put up a live Christmas tree, always played the same three Christmas albums on the stereo: Firestone Christmas Album (green cover), Firestone Christmas Album featuring Julie Andrews (pink cover), and Elvis’ Christmas Album. We hung up stockings on Christmas Eve and put out milk and cookies for Santa. On Christmas Day, after eating ham biscuits while opening presents, my mom and I would visit relatives, going from house to house all day to see what Santa had brought and to sample all the goodies.
I now have some new traditions in my family, though some stay the same. We put up a live tree, we have oyster stew and ham biscuits while opening presents and we have a special Christmas Day dinner (Cornish game hens stuffed with wild rice pilaf).
My Christmas collection of short stories, All Wrapped Up, is based on Christmas traditions. The germ for each story started with a particular tradition. The last story, ‘Tis the Season, begins as everyone is sitting down to a traditional Victorian Christmas dinner: roast goose with sage and onion stuffing, peas, roasted potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a Christmas Pudding. Here’s an excerpt showing what happens when the traditional dinner takes an unexpected turn:
Excerpt from All Wrapped Up–‘Tis the Season
“I believe we are all here, my dear. Will you carve the goose?”
Jenny watched Mamma smile expectantly at Papa, who looked very splendid in his new white silk cravat. She had picked it out herself last week and presented it to him this morning along with all the other Christmas gifts. It was a very special gift, perhaps the last Christmas gift she would give her father as an unmarried woman.
The same thought occurred over and over. This time next year I may be presiding over my own Christmas table. Jenny’s eighteenth birthday had been on the first day of December, which meant this spring she would make her come out with all the other young girls and be unleashed on London to find and secure a husband. And Jenny was confident she would do just that amidst the social whirl that was The Season: balls, musicals, masquerades, excursions to the theatre and Vauxhall Gardens. She looked forward to her season for so many reasons.
She smiled as she gazed around the table. The whole Crowley family had gathered for Christmas luncheon, which of course included their dear neighbors, Sir John and Lady Ellen Isley and their son, Thomas. The Crowleys and the Isleys had been friends since before she was born, Papa and Sir John having gone to university together. Their daughter Margaret had been Jenny’s bosom friend until she made her debut two years ago. Now she was married to a viscount and had just presented her husband with a son and heir not two weeks ago. Jenny could only hope she would be as fortunate two years hence.
Papa carved busily as plates were passed back and forth and vegetable dishes, bread, and Yorkshire pudding made their rounds of the table. But when her father at last sat and picked up his napkin to say grace, it was Great-Aunt Maude, sitting at the mid-point of the table, who spoke. “So, Charles, when is the wedding to take place?”
“Wedding, Aunt Maude?” Papa’s voice rose in a question, but he cut his eyes toward Mamma, who sent a frightened look at Jenny. The look puzzled her, but no more than her great-aunt’s question. To whose wedding was she referring?
“Yes, Charles. Jenny’s wedding to young Thomas here.” Maude nodded across the table to Thomas Isley, whose eyes shifted from side to side, as though he thought the old lady quite mad. Jenny thought so herself. “She’s eighteen now, and you promised me when she was of age I’d see her married into the Isley family. I have lived for the day I could see one of my family move into the titled class.” She glared at Mamma, who blushed and turned to Jenny.
“It’s not as bad as it sounds, Jenny darling.” But Mamma’s wide eyes said yes, it was that bad.
“Is this true, Mamma?” Jenny’s voice didn’t sound like her own, stilted with shock at the revelation.
“Yes, my dear, it most certainly is.” Aunt Maude nodded with such vehemence the flowers on her hat bobbed back and forth. “When your mother refused to marry up, I swore none of your family would ever see a penny of my money. Then when you were born, she came to me and promised you had already been betrothed to young Thomas here. She showed me the betrothal papers.”
The rest of the table sat in stunned silence. Jenny looked down at her hands, clasped together so tight her knuckles showed white. All her dreams of excitement and romance during her Season had just exploded with her great-aunt’s words.
All Wrapped Up is available at Amazon
And at Smashwords at http://smashwords. com
Thank you so much, Lindsay, for letting me share my Christmas traditions with your readers. I’m offering two lucky commenters a copy of All Wrapped Up just in time for Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all!
So folks, let’s get those comments in so you can enter to win a copy of this really fantastic collection of Christmas stories.
loved the excerpt! what a surprise at Christmas!
I always have to listen to the Conway Twitty Christmas Album every year. The record finally gave out a few years ago and we had to find it on cd.
Thanks, Nolene. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I finally picked up the Elvis album on cd a couple of years ago and listen to it in the car this time of year. Nothing says Christmas to me like “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me.” LOL Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Wonderful interview, Jenna! I love your Christmas stories! Love Christmas. My family is steeped in tradition too 🙂 The cover of this book is beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us!
Thank you, Jennifer! My graphic artist outdid herself–and it was her first try at a book cover! I hope you and your family have a wonderfully Merry Christmas. 🙂
Wonderful interview and excerpt.
Thanks, Ella! Hope your holidays are bright and shiny too! 🙂
An explosive dinner party, and I wonder what happens next! Great excerpt, Jenn.
Thanks, Sherry! Yes, the only things that should explode at a Victorian Christmas dinner are the crackers! This one, however, didn’t go quite as planned. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
That’s a wonderful excerpt, Jenna! You always make me want to read more–even when I’ve read it before.
Our holidays revolve around the winter solstice and the last day of the year. We love the fact that the days begin to grow longer again, and every bit of added sunshine is like a bonus when the days end before 5:00 pm.
Merry Christmas to you!
Thank you, Patricia. We have friends who married on the winter solstice. Which makes sense, since it is the longest night of the year! LOL Hope your celebrations are filled with sunshine! 🙂 Happy Holidays!
All four stories in All Wrapped Up are fantastic. ‘Tis The Season ends with a great twist!
Thanks so much, Brenda. ‘Tis the Season was the last one I wrote, so I kind of pulled out all the stops. LOL They were such fun to write. And I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Have a very Merry Christmas!
I loved these stories! Great post Jenna. We have a busy schedule for Christmas because we have the only kids on either my side or my husbands and all the relative want to see them. So we spend Christmas Eve with my hubby’s family then Christmas Day with my mom and sister and the day after with my dad (because it’s his birhtday.)
Wow! You are on a marathon of Christmas cheer aren’t you? Well, drive safe and have a great couple of days, Casea! 🙂
Because of family dynamics, my hubby and I started a lot of our own traditions when our daughter was born. We also combine Solstice and Christmas which makes for a wonderful time. Thanks for the chance to win. Excerpt was intriguing.
panthers.ravens@yahoo dot com
My family traditions changed when I married and had children. I’ve spent more Christmasses away from home in the past 6-7 years than in all my life before that. This year we’re leaving for Cape Cod before Christmas–very strange to not be in our home on Christmas morning. Hope your holidays are happy!
This year Hanukkah starts a bit before Christmas. It gets dark about five pm so we have our lights up now because every bit of brightness helps.
And, uh, Jenna, please pass the goose 😀 I love goose!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone though I expect I’ll be seeing both of you before then
You’re right, Sue, every bit of brightness does help! And believe it or not, I have never tasted goose! I’d love to–perhaps on my next trip to England. LOL Happy Holidays to you as well, Sue. Though I believe you’re right again–we’ll be talking before the big day. 🙂
Lindsay, once more thank you and Dakota for letting me blog with you today. It’s been a great deal of fun talking to old friends and new acquaintences! Happy Holidays!
It was a pleasure having you here.