St. Martin’s Press has a bunch of holiday romances coming our way this month! Check out new interviews with all the authors where they share some of their favorite traditions.
As we approach the holiday season, and hopefully a little bit of a break coming your way, St. Martin’s Press have several romances that should be on your TBR list! Whether you’re in the mood for historical romance, contemporary romance, or even a Western, there’s something for you. I’m especially looking forward to the Christmas in Kilts anthology because historical romance in the Scottish highlands is my aesthetic 😉
For all the details, including links to Goodreads and buy links, go HERE.
Meanwhile, the authors in this holiday romance blitz are sharing their thoughts about how they get into the mood of the season and some of their favorite traditions. See below for an interview with Donna Alward (Deck the Halls), Bronwen Evans (A Scot for Christmas), Donna Grant (The Christmas Cowboy Hero), Emma Douglas (A Season of You), Kieran Kramer (Christmas at Two Love Lane), Lecia Cornwall (A Highland Christmas Wager), May McGoldrick (Sweet Home Highland Christmas), Manda Collins (With This Christmas Ring), Nancy Naigle (Hope at Christmas), and Terri Brisbin (A Highlander’s Hope).
1. When do the holidays official start for you?
Donna Alward: I love December 1 – or the weekend just preceding it. That’s when we get out the decorations and go crazy.
Bronwen Evans: Mid December
Donna Grant: I’d say October 1st, because I get ready for Halloween. Then November 1st to get ready for Thanksgiving, but it day after Thanksgiving, it’s all Christmas!
Emma Douglas: After my mom’s birthday which is early December!
Kieran Kramer: Thanksgiving Day, as soon as I turn on the TV to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Can’t miss the Rockettes segment, ever!
Lecia Cornwall: We officially call it Christmas the day of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which is in late November. We watch the parade on TV, have our first toast of eggnog, and enjoy the season’s first batch of Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies. Then on the closest Saturday to December 13–that’s my husband’s birthday–we go out as a family to get our Christmas tree (we still have a real tree) and put it up.
May McGoldrick: The holiday season has no start or end in our house. We are a multi-cultural and multi-denominational family. One holiday hands off the fun to the next…and the next…and the next…And then we start again! Our full name is ‘May Your Holidays be Endless McGoldrick’! (You can call us ‘Festive’ for short.)
Manda Collins: The first frosty morning when there’s a nip in the air and I can feel that winter is on the way. I love that feeling!
Nancy Naigle: I used to believe I was an “after Thanksgiving” gal when it came to gearing up for the holidays, however, the last two years I’ve had Christmas books come out in October so I’m totally amped up extra early. Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas starts in late October too, and I’ll be tuned into those movies no matter when they start. So, Merry Christmas with a pumpkin and turkey feather on top!
Terri Brisbin: Thanksgiving!
2. What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?
Donna Alward: THE MOVIES. I love sitting with my kids (who are of the nearly-adult variety) and watching holiday movies with a glass of wine or hot cocoa.
Bronwen Evans: Guilt free reading and being with my family. Even an author needs down time.
Donna Grant: The decorations. I love to see it all!
Emma Douglas: Getting together with my family and friends and just having a good time with the people I love.
Kieran Kramer: Inhaling the delicious scent of the Christmas tree, seeing the twinkling lights, hanging out with the family and our friends.
Lecia Cornwall: Family and food.
May McGoldrick: Family get-togethers
Manda Collins: Getting together with family and friends is the best. We don’t necessarily see one another all that much during the year, but we all make time during the holidays.
Nancy Naigle: The smell of pine from a fresh cut tree throughout the house, and getting more intense every time I vacuum up the needles. Warm aromatic afternoons of baking. Crafting homemade gifts. Fellowship. Christmas movies and cocoa. Glossy gift wrap, and wire ribbon that makes a simple shoelace bow look pretty on a package.
Terri Brisbin: Family! And now watching the grandkids celebrating!
3. Are there any holiday traditions you do every year without fail?
Donna Alward: Tons! There are certain things we bake. We have a whole bunch of Christmas Eve traditions, including a barbecue (steak!), putting presents under the tree, going for a drive to see the lights, and watching The Polar Express. And even at their age, they still ask me to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Bronwen Evans: Besides putting up my Christmas tree? I always make a pavlova with kiwi fruit for our Christmas day dessert. Remember it’s summer in New Zealand.
Donna Grant: We spend Christmas Eve at my parents where there is a bunch of finger foods. Then Christmas Day everyone comes to my house where we have gumbo (Cajun tradition). Then we head to the movies about about 2.
Emma Douglas: Making the plum pudding with my mum and watching Carols by Candlelight which is broadcast on TV here in Oz on Christmas Eve.
Kieran Kramer: I always make frosted sugar cookies, and I always try to watch as many Christmas movies as I can. I also try to go to the Holiday Boat Parade in Charleston harbor!
Lecia Cornwall: Christmas baking is a huge tradition for us. I make Very Special Christmas Chocolate Chip cookies, Quiche for Christmas breakfast, and Kulach (Ukrainian Christmas bread).
May McGoldrick: Before Christmas, we have a ‘Gingerbread House Night.’ I always think simple…graham crackers, candies, some frosting for the roof of a quaint little cottage. My competitive and mildly cutthroat family members, however, build the Golden Gate Bridge, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the White House…
Manda Collins: I listen to carols sung by the King’s College Choir every year and spend at least one day boiling cloves and spices on the stove to get the house smelling like Christmas.
Nancy Naigle: Baking cookies. Old family favorites, and a few new recipes which always results in at least one complete #fail.
Terri Brisbin: Our traditions have changed a bit as my sons married and grandkids began arriving. The one thing we still do is gather to decorate the Christmas tree at our house.
4. What’s your favorite holiday movie?
Donna Alward: I have too many – my fave depends on my mood. Top contenders: Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, White Christmas, Love Actually, The Polar Express.
Bronwen Evans: I have three – Love Actually (one of my favourite movies of all time) and Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. I love action movies.
Donna Grant: It’s a toss up between White Christmas and Love Actually and Christmas Vacation. We watch them every year.
Emma Douglas: Die Hard
Kieran Kramer: It’s a Wonderful Life; I never get tired of it!
Lecia Cornwall: Hard Question! The Bishop’s Wife, perhaps, though Love Actually, White Christmas, and Polar Express are very close seconds (or thirds and fourths).
May McGoldrick: Love, Actually
Manda Collins: The Thin Man starring Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora Charles. (Of course MY favorite holiday movie has witty repartee and murder in it!)
Nancy Naigle: My favorite all-time holiday movie is the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is still my very, very favorite. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I still tear up when the Abominable Snowman bonks poor Rudolph on the head. Thank goodness for good ol’ Hermie the wanna-be dentist!
Terri Brisbin: Christmas Vacation and Elf
5. Do you have a favorite holiday book?
Donna Alward: Hmmm. I don’t tend to re-read holiday themed books, but I’ll confess that I have a soft spot for any (all) of the Christmas books in the Chesapeake Shores series. Those O’Briens… 🙂
Bronwen Evans: No, but I will say one Christmas a friend kept telling me to read JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood as I had never read it. So I decided to read book 1. Well, over the Christmas break I read all 12 in a row!
Donna Grant: No. I’m an equal opportunist for holiday books. 🙂
Emma Douglas: The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R Tolkien. Gorgeous illustrations and funny! They’re letters he wrote to his kids (as Father Christmas) each year, telling the stories of what had been happening at the North Pole that year.
Kieran Kramer: Definitely How the Grinch Stole Christmas….
Lecia Cornwall: I have a small collection of Christmas books that my mother used to put out as decorations every year. When I was little, I loved the one about old fashioned Victorian Christmases, and I adored the gorgeous illustrations in a children’s book called Once In Royal David’s City. My mother also had a book of poetry and stories called 1000 Beautiful Things, which includes a story called The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. I’m not sure if it’s the memory of my mother reading that story to me or the story itself I loved, but I still have the battered book, and treasure it.
May McGoldrick: The Night Before Christmas
Manda Collins: That would be Christmas Angel by Jo Beverley. It’s one of her early Company of Rogues books and I love the way Lucien and Beth and her children become a family over the course of the story.
Nancy Naigle: I love all those special sized hardcover holiday books. I have a shelf dedicated to them. One that I really love is by Debbie Macomber — THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS. The beautiful gold cover perfectly envelopes the warm story inside.
Terri Brisbin: I just love reading holiday romance anthologies!
6. What’s your all-time favorite holiday song?
Donna Alward: Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song. Simplicity and nostalgia all rolled into one smooth voice.
Bronwen Evans: Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M
Donna Grant: White Christmas
Emma Douglas: O Holy Night because I love the melody.
Kieran Kramer: Away in the Manger sung by Julie Andrews–the UK version of the melody
Lecia Cornwall: Another tough question! “Merry Christmas, Darling” by The Carpenters,
“J-I-N-G-L-E Bells” by Frank Sinatra, and anything from Loreena McKennitt’s album To Drive The Cold Winter Away.
May McGoldrick: Christmas is All Around You (Bill Nighy via The Troggs)
Manda Collins: The Holly and the Ivy.
Nancy Naigle: Silent Night.
Terri Brisbin: A Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses
7. What’s your favorite activity during fall or winter?
Donna Alward: Cozy nights with a glass of wine and a book. LOL! Seriously though, I miss living near the Rockies, because the skiing there spoiled me for anywhere else.
Bronwen Evans: Well, it’s summer in New Zealand at Christmas, and I love simply getting out my Kindle, pulling up my lounger, and lying by my pool reading a great romance book.
Donna Grant: Around me we have the Texas Renaissance Festival, which is the largest in the US. It always begins at the end of September and runs until Thanksgiving weekend. It always signals the begin of fall for us.
Emma Douglas: I do Christmas in summer here in Oz so that makes it swimming or otherwise avoiding the heat. But in winter I have a weird liking for walking in the cold, as long as I can thaw out with a good book afterward.
Kieran Kramer: Baking bread, using my crockpot, reading cozy books, buying myself winter clothes, going to parties, eating holiday cookies
Lecia Cornwall: I love planning for the holidays, and being outdoors, that includes walking with my dog through the fall colours along the Bow River, baking and cooking for Thanksgiving (in mid-October in Canada), decorating the front porch for Halloween, raking leaves and putting the garden to bed for the winter, and stringing up the outdoor Christmas lights on one of the last nice fall weekends before it gets too cold (we don’t turn them on until December 1, which was one of my father’s rules). My now-grown kids still make ice luminaria for Christmas and New Year’s Eve whenever it’s cold enough outside to freeze a bucket of water (Try this, readers, they’re gorgeous, and a little bit of Christmas magic in the dark. Fill a bucket with water. It freezes overnight, but the centre of the ice block stays liquid. Take the ice block out of the bucket, chip a hole in the top, pour out the water, and set the luminaria outside with a tea light candle inside).
May McGoldrick: Pick your own peaches. Pick your own apples. Pick your own pumpkin. Cut your own Christmas tree. And reading.
Manda Collins: I’m not really the outdoor type (though I have been known to go outdoors) so I like to snuggle up inside with a cup of hot chocolate and read. Or knit.
Nancy Naigle: Bundling up and stargazing on a chilly night.
Terri Brisbin: I love walking in my neighborhood after a new snow.
8. What’s your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given?
Donna Alward: One year my sister put together a recipe book with our mom’s fave recipes over the years. She added some of her own, too, but if I want something that Mom used to make back in the eighties? It’s in that book!
Bronwen Evans: I love giving, who doesn’t. So I usually give anonymous gifts to my friends children. I knew one child was saving for a present but would be short, so I sent him a card with money in it from Santa. Seeing his joy was priceless. My most memorable gift was when I was 7 and I got my first puppy. I’ll never forget seeing his little nose poking over the edge of the box and hearing his little barks.
Donna Grant: I received my long-haired Chihuahua for Christmas. She was unexpected, but so amazing!
Emma Douglas: Both my current cats I gave myself for Christmas but that probably doesn’t count. I got a membership to the local zoo which was fun as I like to wander around there. Other than that, like a true bookworm, every year I love getting books.
Kieran Kramer: My favorite gift is having my family all together in one place. Nothing matters more. Sometimes we can’t all be together, so I cherish the Christmases that we can celebrate under one roof.
Lecia Cornwall: When I was first married, my in-laws gave us airline tickets so we could fly to Calgary to spend Christmas together as a family. Christmas with my own family growing up was usually very stressful, but my in-laws filled Christmas with love, laughter, warmth, and fun. Although my children are grown (aged 23 and 26), I’ve been fortunate enough to have them home for Christmas every year, and to me that’s the best Christmas gift of all.
May McGoldrick: For all the years our sons were young, we hid Christmas gifts all over the house. Assembly and wrapping took place after the boys were asleep on Christmas Eve. I remember the year when I used the last bit of wrapping paper while congratulating myself on my precision and planning. What I didn’t know was that Jim had yet to wrap my gifts.
The next day, we all lined up on the stairs and then raced down to see what Santa left for everyone. The most charming gift was sitting under the tree. A large black trash bag containing Nikoo’s gifts…tied up with a bow.
Manda Collins: My grandmother gave me the gift of the love of reading. It’s the best thing I’ve ever been given.
Nancy Naigle: Homemade gifts. Always! Among them, an old Singer sewing machine with the metal frame turned into a table, a handcrafted snack jar made out of wood with a mason jar, loop potholders, and homemade Christmas ornaments. A girl can never have too many ornaments, right?
Terri Brisbin: My favorite gift was when I arranged a surprise family trip to Disney World for Christmas! It was hard but I succeed!
9. Do you have any items on your wish list this year?
Donna Alward: Yes! Yoga socks, books, and a kindle.
Bronwen Evans: Not really. I have a book wish list and at least everyone knows I’m easy to buy for.
Donna Grant: Walls. The flood from Hurricane Harvey took everything, but I’d like walls and doors for privacy again. lol
Emma Douglas: Nothing big but I’m sure I’ll come up with a list of books and art supplies that would be great to get.
Kieran Kramer: Yes, having my own little family together again–the last two years some of us have been overseas. But if I have to mention something from the store, I’d love to have some canvases and paint and painting lessons!
Lecia Cornwall: New books are always welcome or maybe just an extra shelf for my massive (and ever growing) to-be-read pile! There’s also the traditional Miss America answer to this question–a wish for world peace–but doesn’t it just seem more important than ever this year?
May McGoldrick: A cottage on the beach in Southern California. Jim says, “Keep writing.”
Manda Collins: I’m at an age now where the things I wish for aren’t material (though obviously there are some that I’d like–a new car, for instance) but stuff like health and for my family to be safe and happy. I wouldn’t turn down a pretty scarf, though!
Nancy Naigle: I don’t have any tangible items on my wish list. Making happy memories is all I wish for this year.
Terri Brisbin: None yet but there will be!
10. Any resolutions or goals for next year?
Donna Alward: Do better. 🙂
Bronwen Evans: I haven’t thought about it yet, but I usually just wish for my family to be happy and health
Donna Grant: I try to make some improvement each year. For 2017 it was balance. I’m not sure what 2018 will be yet. I might still need to work on balancing everything.
Emma Douglas: Both to write more and to have more time for non-writing things. Maybe I need a clone for Christmas?
Kieran Kramer: Yes, to slow down and get centered, to really look around each day and marvel at this beautiful world filled with people who all want to love and be loved. I refuse to let the haters in. Oh, and I have to keep dancing to my Alexa, haha!!
Lecia Cornwall: I always set goals in categories: personal, career, home/family, and new things I want to try. I’m usually good about achieving the career and family goals, but not so good at the personal or new ones. I already know that next year will be full of huge new challenges and opportunities for me, so at the moment my goal is to find my way through whatever comes with as much grace and balance as possible.
May McGoldrick: Smile every day. Write every day. Make others happy.
Manda Collins: Just to keep writing books that my audience enjoys reading!
Nancy Naigle: To live a healthier lifestyle, and figure out how to do that while integrating more book events into my schedule so I can meet more of the dear readers who’ve blessed me with spending their free time reading my books. Thanks, y’all.
Terri Brisbin: It’s been a really difficult 2017 so my resolution for 2018 is to make sure my loved ones know they are…loved.