Current Reading Mood: Urban Fantasy
Quote of the day: “I’d have been dead a long time ago if not for my friends, one of whom had just jumped off the cliff after me.
I’d have been a lot more appreciative if he hadn’t pushed me first." Cassandra Palmer ― Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Annual Historical Romance Event- Arc Giveaway & Interview with Sabrina Jeffries

About the author:
In the last 13 years, New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries has penned 20 Regency romances, three novellas, and three short stories—becoming a regular on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and winning more than a dozen industry awards in the process.
New Orleans-born and Thailand-reared, Jeffries attributes her success to listening to what peers, her publisher, and her own common sense told her she should be writing: “I write what I enjoy reading: lighter, sexier historical romances, with more dialogue and more sensuality.”
Writing about 19th-century English life comes naturally for Jeffries. Not only is she a lifelong Jane Austen fan, but she has a doctorate in English lit from Tulane and a specialty in Early Modern British literature. Yet the impetus for her stories, Jeffries says, is always “what if”—not what if her hero likes this or that, but what if this happened and this happened… what would it do to a person?
And she writes, she says, because “I can’t not write… I have stories in my head, and I have to get them out.”
Today, the novelist has more than 5 million Sabrina Jeffries books in print. She writes at her home in Cary, NC, where she lives with husband, Rene, and their son, Nick. When not answering e-mails as she logs miles on her treadmill or doing jigsaw puzzles (“my reward for finishing a book”), Jeffries can be found championing the cause of autistic children in the name of her son.

Weird Christmas Traditions
– Sabrina Jeffries

I love Christmas stories. You may know that I have a Christmas hardcover, ’Twas the Night after Christmas, coming out October 30th, but you might not realize that this is actually my second Christmas tale. Through the years of researching the holiday in the 
Regency period I’ve stumbled across a lot of strange Christmas customs, especially in Great Britain.
The Welsh have one involving a dead horse’s head. I kid you not (the Mafia would have loved this one). It’s called the Mari Lwyd, and it involves carrying around a horse’s skull on a stick dressed in a sheet. Sort of like caroling. Only with a horse’s skull.

Then there’s the fun game of snapdragon, where you snatch raisins from a bowl of burning brandy. The winner gets, well, nothing except burned fingers, but it’s fun! Really! I used it in my Christmas novella, “When Sparks Fly” from Snowy Night with a Stranger, along with the more familiar custom of burning a Yule log.

Morris dancing is still popular throughout Great Britain, too. Gentlemen dance intricate patterns to weird music while waving handkerchiefs and possibly swords. I would sure love to see that.

My new novel has more traditional customs in it, but I did make a discovery of something called “ginger nuts” or “gingerbread nuts,” which I’d never heard of. They’re little round gingerbread cookies that were often sold in the streets of London (imagine the jokes that came about from calls of “Ginger Nuts! Ginger Nuts for sale!”). What makes them a bit different from regular gingerbread is they include caraway seeds. Or they did during the Regency, anyway.

My family had a less bizarre Christmas tradition, though it WAS weird. My dad always made pretzels on Christmas Eve. You know, the kind they sell in the mall–the bread kind. I don’t even remember why or how it started. Then there was the year Dad made chocolate ones, and they looked, um, exactly like turds. Rather unappetizing. He never did that again. But the pretzel-making tradition has stayed in our family for years.

So what about you? Any weird Christmas traditions in your area? Any odd ones practiced by your family? Or are you all just traditional folks at Christmas? Leave a comment for a chance to win an advance reading copy of my November Christmas hardcover, ‘Twas the Night After Christmas.

To check out my ARC review of `Twas the Night After Christmas, click HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
After entering this giveaway, don't forget to enter for a chance to win a $25 B & N GC from Lori Austin, click here to enter!


Lois said...

Hi! :) Well, nothing weird here... in our 30s now, sis and me still get yearly ornaments for the tree, something started from the moment we were born... it's nearly always the same stuff we have for Thanksgiving that we have for Christmas... Now, to me only, going (upstairs) to have the family dinner with the Grandparents, and any others that came, that was weird - it was weird to me because fish, pierogies, ham, etc, is not supposed to be normal. LOL But it is a normal Polish holiday dinner. Never got used to that.

Oh, and love your books! :)


regencygirl01 said...

I have all of Sabrina's books. I can't wait to read this one. Only tradition I think we have is we always put the tree up on my birthday which is Dec 1

Tiffany K said...

Thank you for posting this link! I don't think that we have any weird Christmas traditions. The only tradition I think we have is that we bake cookies every year for give away to friends and family.

Can I ask what inspires you to write? Is there any genre you haven't wrote yet that you'd love to?

Brenda Rumsey said...

One of my traditions is to crochet a blanket for each of my grandsons every Christmas. Can't wait to read this book to help me get in the Christmas spirit. And if I win it, all the better to get an early start. Thanks for the chance.

SoCal Marisa said...

Well, outside of the usual Christmas traditions of baking enough cookies and sweets to last several years and then gorging on them and the like. We have the elf on the shelf being naughty in our house all Christmas season. We make tamales and have those as part of our Christmas dinner alongside the turkey and ham with all the fixings. We love to eat. Christmas morning we have homemade cinnamon rolls topped with pecans. I have them ready and rising in the fridge for when the kids wake us up and we get them in the oven right away. They are usually done baking by the time the kids have torn through their presents. I set the table formally when they are sleeping the night before and we eat our cinnamon rolls on china and use the silver. It’s a fun spin. ~Marisa

Wendy Cheairs said...

Here in New Mexico we have the traditional lumanari's that we place around the house to light up for Christmas. One year, when we were on the move to Colorado we dragged out our paper sacks, sand and candle to dig through a lot of snow to put up our lumanari's. Needless to say the neighbors though we were crazy for lighting up paper sacks in the driveway but no matter what it still is our tradition.

Pam B said...

OK our family has two traditions that come from old country traditions. One is you have to have a pickle on your tree. Not exactly sure the story on it but it stuck with us big time since my maiden name is Pickles. The other is there needs to be a spider on your tree. This comes from an old German story about a spider that helps decorate a Christmas tree.

Brandy Lovell said...

One year my dad was watching an old war movie when my mom came down and said "it's Christmas eve, put on a (bleepin) Christmas movie". So my dad took out the war movie and put in Leathal Weapon. Since it starts out with Jingle Bell Rock, he argued it WAS a Christmas movie, so now it's our annual Christmas eve viewing.

Sue G. said...

As a kid growing up we always went to Midnight Mass. When we would get home there was always one present from Santa on our pillows waiting for us. It was new pajamas. We found out years later we always got pj's because then we would look good in all the Christmas morning pictures!

Elizabeth Carson said...

Sabrina is a great writer. I have her entire library. She is also one of the few writers that I have encountered who looks to her readers for input and feedback. I respect the fact that she researches what she writes about and keeps it as historically accurate as possible (I'm a reenactor so that get brownie points in my book). On her Facebook page, she is approachable and down to earth. Her books are my guilty pleasure!

Anonymous said...

We have the Cookie Tree in our house. It started when Gramps & the uncles insisted on buying trees too tall for the ceilings. Gram hacked off the now bowed top, put it in a bucket of sand, and decorated it with cookies and other edibles for all the children. I so loved it, I bought a small artificial tree (hacking off the top is just so WRONG!) and decorated it for the children. On Christmas morn, while they couldn't open their gifts until we awoke, they could nosh on whatever goodies the tree held (a trick that allowed Dad & Mom a bit more sleep). Now, my son has a cookie tree for his little girl. Who knew Gram's ruthless hacking would start a tradition?

Anonymous said...

We have a traditional Christmas in my family, nothing weird or different. All my children gather at my house on Christmas eve and we have a huge feast with lots of goodies then we exchange gifts. Our Christmas eve gathering was something started by my parents and now continued on with my own family. Just want to say that I love your books Sabrina and I am really looking forward to reading Twas the Night After Christmas.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Lois, my husband's family always had a tradition of having gumbo on Christmas night. It was fun! Not that traditional, but I love gumbo, so I didn't care.

Regencygirl01, what a lovely way to celebrate your birthday!

TiffanyK, just about everything inspires me to write. I have quite the vivid imagination! As for other genres, I'd love to write a paranormal one day . . . if I ever had a good idea for one! I enjoy reading them.

Brenda, how sweet of you to crochet for your grandsons! I bet they find those very special.

SoCal Marisa, sometimes we do cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, too! But more often, it's banana bread that I bake myself.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Wendy, we do luminaries here, too!

Pam B, how fascinating about the spider! I'd heard of the pickle tradition, but never a spider. Cool!

Brandy, LOL! I do love Lethal Weapon. My usual Christmas movies are While You Were Sleeping and Love Actually. I have to watch them every year.

Sue G, you had a smart mother to think of that!!

Brandy Lovell said...

I do this with my girls. They get "matching" PJs, which was fine when they were little, now the older one is in a ladies 7 and the little one is in a girls 7-8, It's getting harder to find, unless I want to spend beaucoup bucks for "mommy and me" PJs.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Aw, Beth, thanks for the kind words! You're so sweet!

Patricia, what a fabulous idea!!! We could have used a cookie tree when I was a kid. We drove our parents crazy!

Joan, traditional Christmases are fun, too! Glad you're looking forward to the book.

Natasha said...

Thank you everyone, for stopping by!
Sooo excited to have Sabrina here today!

June M. said...

LOVE Sabrina's books! I can't wait to read this one. I do have SNOWY NIGHT WITH A STRANGER :) The only real tradition I can think of from my family was each year on Christmas Eve the family would gather at my grandparent's house. After dinner, my grandfather would read the story of the first Christmas from his bible. Now that he is gone, I am glad that I have a few years on DVD from those Christmas'.

Annwitch said...

I am so looking forward to this book, I love Christmas romances. We have no really weird traditions, but we always watch Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. Maybe it is weird we do like cousin Eddie. One Christmas my kids did try to convince my 80 year old mother that Die Hard was a holiday movie, Yipee kind yay,

gamistress66 said...

fairly traditional (boring) holiday traditions in my family. my mom use to give me & brother a new ornament for our trees each year (I often picked mine out during the after xmas sales for the next year gift, but not always). when I had my dog (since it was my only little one) I use to do the same thing -- each year one of her presents was an ornament (a dog of some sort) that then went of the tree. they got placed own toward the bottom of the tree where she could see them ;)

congrats on the upcoming release (hardback no less!) :)

Sara M. said...

My dad decided one year that he wanted to hold a scavenger hunt for our presents. He bought a bunch of toys from the machines in the grocery store and hid clues to where the presents were in the tiny plastic containers. It was funny at first, but by the end of the morning we wanted to kill him.

Barbara E. said...

I don't think this is a weird tradition, but the one I love the most is when my sister and I would jump in the car Christmas after dark and drive around checking out all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

June M, my dad does that, too, on Christmas Eve.

Annwitch, LOL about Die Hard! Your poor mother.

gamistress66, that's so sweet--putting your dog's ornaments where she could see them! Thanks for the congrats, too. I'm very excited!

Sara M, that sounds like something MY dad would do. And we would want to kill him, too!

Barbara E, that's part of my tradition with my husband and son! We have a gnoshing sort of dinner, and then we go drive around looking at lights. It's our favorite thing!

Christy P said...

Usual polish traditions in my family, but with my 3 sisters and I, it is inevitable that we laugh til the tears run down our legs.

Lory Lee said...

My mom really believes in Christmas traditions, some are a bit peculiar. First is we(all her children have to hang Christmas ornament on our tree)But the most weird is when we have to jump at exactly 12 midnight so that we'd grow taller (I stopped doing this when I reached 20 and my height is still stuck to five feet two)

Texas Book Lover said...

Nope...nothing strange here. Or at least I don't think they are strange.

One of my daughters teachers told her to put her shoes outside the front door one time and Santa would fill it with candy and money. It only lasted one year...stockings are enough to fill.

Melody May said...

I just want to say that I love your books and excited for your new stuff.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Christy P, now that's a lot of laughing!

Lory, I've never heard of the jumping at midnight. How interesting!

Texas Book Lover, I think that's a variation on the stocking thing, but I forgot which country it was for.

Melody, glad that you're looking forward to the new books!

Natasha said...

I figured I'd answer as well!
My family is pretty traditional on Christmas day. The whole family (Uncles, aunts, cousins, etc) comes to dinner and spends the day, exchanges gifts, then has some drinks. It's not as big as it used to be, with people working away now, but while I was growing up we could have up to 30 people spending Christmas dinner together. It was awesome! There's a bit National Lampoons Christmas Vacation in my family. *laughs* :)

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Natasha, there is in my family, too, LOL!

Beebs said...

No weird family Christmas traditions but my personal Christmas tradition is at 6pm Christmas Eve (after all the shops are shut) I crack open a bottle of Bailey's. That starts Christmas for me :)

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