Monday, October 20

Having a little whine with my Christmas.

          I will apologize beforehand for what I think I’m about to write, but I’m looking for some answers and think you’ll have them for me.
          To start off with, I’m an old-fashioned-Christmas fanatic. (It’s always about me. Have you noticed? Okay, I apologize for that, too.) I start listening to Christmas music in October. I watch all the old Christmas movies, Hallmark Christmas movies, and TV Christmas episodes. I’m pretty sure I  could recite the Andy Griffith Show one if I had to. I go back and read Christmas anthologies and Christmas romances I’ve collected for years. Mary Balogh is a favorite―I think I could recite the A Christmas Promise, too. Well, not really, but I’ve read it a ton, and recently bought it for my Kindle because the covers are wearing off my print copy.
          I should add that one reason I love old-fashioned-Christmas everything is that I’m a Christian. The original “reason for the season” is still
the best one for me, and I read some inspirational Christmas romances, too. I enjoy them, but they are not what I’m looking for or talking about right now. What I'm talking about in this post is traditional stories that are not about the protagonists' spiritual path.
          Here’s where it gets sticky.
          I recently bought a box set of “sweet Christmas Romances.” There are a bunch of stories included in it, and I admit I’ve only read about half of them so far. They’re well-written, mostly well-edited, and cheerful reading. They all take place at Christmastime. I have no quarrel with the stories or the people who wrote them! I am a true fan of some of the writers.
          But so far—and let me repeat, I’ve only read half of them, but the blog was due this morning—most of them aren’t really about Christmas or its feelings and traditions. The only real reason they’re Christmas stories is that they take place in December.
          Remember I said I was looking for some answers? I’m hoping you’ll give them to me, both as writers and as readers.

  • Has traditional Christmas lost its spot in romantic fiction?
  • Am I being unreasonable to expect “sweet” and “traditional” to be synonymous in this instance?
  • Can you lead me to some new Christmas stories that are traditional?
  • Am I just starting too early? Are the snow, trees, Santa, children, carols stories still on their way?
  • Is there really a Santa Claus? And, yes, I’m being facetious with that question. I know there is.

18 comments:

  1. No, Liz, I don't think you're being unreasonable. A wee bit early for the rest of us, but unreasonable? No. If you're bundling December stories, call it a Winter Anthology, not a Christmas one. We have enough commercialism around Christmastime already--let's not as writers diminish "the reason for the season" any further.

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    1. I like that--I think if the one I'm reading had been called a Winter Anthology, I wouldn't be disappointed. Thanks, Kyra.

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  2. Has traditional Christmas lost its spot in romantic fiction?
    - i try to include it all in mine. Fairytale of Headley Cross has it all - romance, Christmas trees, lights and a cute nativity.
    Am I being unreasonable to expect “sweet” and “traditional” to be synonymous in this instance?
    - no. I want the same in what I read.
    Can you lead me to some new Christmas stories that are traditional? - try the Pelican Book Group ones - yes I'm biased! Try mine (very biased plug LOL)
    Am I just starting too early? Are the snow, trees, Santa, children, carols stories still on their way?
    - I never stop with the Christmas carols. After all Easter wouldn't exist without Christmas and we sing Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son all year long
    Is there really a Santa Claus? And, yes, I’m being facetious with that question. I know there is.
    Ummm... that's Father Christmas this side of the pond and no, there isn't. Sorry. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Clare. I like the Pelican Group offerings. Sorry about Father Christmas!

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  3. I love Christmas too, Liz, but I have to tell you the truth--I don't specifically read Christmas romances, so I can't answer your questions. Actually, until recently, I didn't even realize there was a category of romance dedicated to stories about love at the holiday season. I see them all over Facebook and Amazon right now, but I haven't read any. Although, I do love it when I read a romance with Christmas in it. I can, however, answer the question about Santa Claus--yes, Liz, there is a Santa Claus!

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  4. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and yes, Liz, there are some traditionally sweet Christmas stories out there...I read Christmas Dinner by Robyn Neeley last year and thought it was really good. And I picked up Jennifer Faye's A Princess by Christmas a week or so ago and really liked it.

    I re-read Johanna Lindsey's Malory family duet every christmas season (the present and home for the holidays). I do think the more traditional stories are harder to find and that makes me sad...but I do love them!

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    1. I loved the Johanna Lindsey duet, but haven't read the other two. Something to look for! Thanks, Kristi.

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  5. I practice a different religion, but I understand what you're saying. It sounds like you need to write a Christmas story that brings back the old values and traditions.

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    1. LOL. I have thought of doing that so many times and never have. The WIP is closest, taking place during the last two months of the year.

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  6. Hi, Liz! As someone who has written a lot of Christmas short stories, I paused to think about your question. Most have been set a short time before Christmas Day. I tend to think of a month before Christmas as Christmas time and perhaps, others do as well. I reach back to family recipes that were cooked or baked then. To family traditions carried forward. With that said, there still not may be what you are looking for. Santa is a great guy. :)

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    1. I do, too. Thanksgiving night starts it for me, and I don't expect that level of Christmas dedication from others (I know I'm a little extreme), but you have me with recipes and traditions. :-) Thanks, Vicki!

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  7. I first got hooked on Christmas stories from reading Shirley Jump's novella, "Twelve Days," way back when, and my favorites focus on Christmas traditions like choosing a tree and Secret Santa. Her "Miracle On Christmas Eve," is an all-time favorite and includes a yummy recipe. I think you would also really like "A High-Kicking Christmas," the novella by Marie Bostwick in an older Fern Michaels' anthology called "Comfort and Joy." However, did you know that I met a new Harlequin author when we were in Chicago at the Spring Fling conference? Olivia Miles wrote "Mistletoe on Main Street," which you reminded me is waiting on my bookshelf. Olivia is a wonderful writer and I've read her other books. I'll be that we both will like "Mistletoe on Main Street," published by Grand Central. This is a great topic, since I was just drooling over Christmas stories this afternoon while I was supposed to be grocery shopping! lol

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    1. I've read most of those, too, Cathy. "Comfort and Joy" is on my shelf. I'll give Olivia Miles a try, though. I love finding new authors.
      Thanks!

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    2. Thank you so much, Cathy, and I'm happy you enjoyed my first two books, one of which was also a Christmas book.:) Personally, I read Christmas romances all year long, and I also watch the Hallmark and Lifetime films, too. While romance can be found in any season, it's certainly a little more magical around the holidays... :)

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    3. Thanks for coming by, Olivia--I'm anxious to try your book.

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  8. I love holiday books as well. I used to read Marjorie Holmes Two From Galilee early December just to remind me why we were celebrating Christmas. Recent discoveries are Sheila Roberts' The Snow Globe and Lisa Kleypas' Christmas Eve At Friday Harbor.Of course, I'm partial to anything in Washington State. This year I was thinking of trying out Mistletoe on Main Street that Cathy recommended above.

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    1. I've read a few Christmas stories set in Washington state--I've liked them, too! I love when the setting becomes a character in the story. :-)

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