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.