Born Free!

anthologyIt’s Christmas time!

Yeah, flash news announcement! It’s not like we haven’t been listening to Christmas carols for weeks – at least down here in Australia where there’s no Thanksgiving to distract people from the fat man in red and white.

One of the things I love about Christmas is giving gifts. And this year I got together with three wonderful writers to give our readers a gift for the festive season.

A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS is free everywhere so you can download it on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble without paying one brass razoo.

Hooray!

Here’s the blurb:

Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.
 
Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?
 
gs 11803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen
 
Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valere, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena-now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?
 
1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind-by sweeping her off her feet.

 
1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell
 
At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.
 
1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble
 
Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend.  When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up…
 
gs 2You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?

I don’t think it’s any mystery that my story is based very firmly on a fairytale! Hmm, I wonder which one! I went over the top romantic for His Christmas Cinderella and had wonderful fun doing so. Poor Campion really needs a Prince Charming and she finds him in the dashing Earl of Ravenglass. Ah, I love a Scottish hero, don’t you? You can read an excerpt from my story on my website here: http://annacampbell.info/xmascinderella.html

I thought it might be fun asking the other girls about the inspirations behind their lovely stories.

SHANA: When I finished the Sons of the Revolution series, which was about three brothers who were separated as children during the French Revolution and reunited in England as adults, I received quite a few emails from readers asking for Rowena’s story. She was the mother of the heroes and her husband had been guillotined. By the time the series ended, she was about 46 or 47 and had been a widow for 14 years. I hadn’t written an “older” heroine before, but I definitely thought Rowena deserved her happily ever after. I decided to pair her with a younger hero who had been a footman in her house when she was a duchess in France. Gabriel had been in love with her for years, and he’s finally found her again at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball. He has some secrets  to reveal, and Rowena has a few reservations of her own. It was certainly an adventure to watch the two of them come together in The Seduction of a Duchess.

gs 3You can read an excerpt from The Seduction of a Duchess here: http://www.shanagalen.com/seduction-of-a-duchess1.php

VANESSA: I really enjoy creating my secondary characters.  The hero of One Kiss for Christmas is Nigel Dash, one of my favorite characters in the Stanton Family Series.  Nigel is the proverbial good guy, always ready to lend a hand, kind to everyone, and a master at smoothing over the stormy waters of the beau monde.  In fact, he’s known as the Most Dependable Man in London, a label he’s come to loathe because he sees it as synonymous with boring.  Since he’s in love with the most popular, vivacious girl in London, boring is a problem.

Romance writers often give their heroes and heroines some distinctly opposing characteristics and personalities—it’s a great way to get the sparks flying.  But I wanted to pair up two very nice, splendidly accommodating people—too accommodating for their own good—and see what happened.  My heroine, Amelia Easton, is just as good-hearted as Nigel, and has just as much trouble standing up for herself.  Both tend to put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own, and I thought it might be fun to see how they learn to fight for want they truly want—each other!

Rake AmazonYou can read an excerpt from One Kiss for Christmas here: http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/books/one-kiss-for-christmas/one-kiss-for-christmas-excerpt/

KATE: When I think about the holidays, I think about the reunion with old friends, and seeing just how much time and life has changed everyone — if at all. The Last First Kiss centers around one such pair of friends.  Susannah Westforth has been in love with her neighbor Sebastian Beckett ever since they moved in next door.  But he’s only ever seen her as a little girl that follows him around.  When Sebastian goes on his grand tour, Susannah is determined that when he comes back, he’ll see her as a woman grown, and one worth his attention.  They finally meet at Lady Winterson’s Christmas Ball, and with the help of Philbert the butler, Susannah might just get her last first kiss.

You can read an excerpt from The Last First Kiss here: http://katenoble.com/books/grosvenor.php#excerpt

 At this time of year, something short and sweet really fits the bill so why not download A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS, especially when it won’t blow the Christmas budget! To download:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Grosvenor-Square-Christmas-Shana-Galen-ebook/dp/B00FSLF4NO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386223126&sr=1-1&keywords=a+grosvenor+square+christmas

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-grosvenor-square-christmas-vanessa-kelly/1117251695?ean=2940045347853

And may all your Christmas parties be full of magic! And Scotsmen!

gs 4On the subject of Christmas parties, don’t miss out on the 12 Days of Bandita Christmas which starts right here this week! It’s a prize-a-palooza!

So speaking of Christmas carols, do you have a favorite? Do you have one you’d happily never hear again? I must say AWAY IN A MANGER always sets my teeth on edge! Let’s kick up our heels and fa-la-la-la through the carol repertoire! 

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Comments

70 Comments

  • Kaelee says:

    My favorite is O Holy Night sung by Rita MacNeil. I have to hear it at least once each year.
    I hate any carol that some singer decides to put their own bebops into.

    • Kaelee, you and the rooster must sing Silent Night together – then you’ve got the chance of having a silent night! 😉 Oh, I love O Holy Night – man, it’s hard to sing, though. A friend of mine has a recording of Roberto Alagna singing it and she plays it every Christmas over and over.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Anna,
    I really love the Peanuts version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” There really isn’t one I can’t stand, but they all become a bit annoying after you hear them nonstop.

    • Jane, I must check that one out. I think the arrangements have a lot to answer for – even a carol I’m sick of in a new, lovely arrangement can make me hear it anew.

  • Hope says:

    Always a fan of Judy Garlands , Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, loved the movie as a girl and will always love her rendition of a beautiful classic.

    PS I downloaded this book and read it a week or so ago, I think anyway….I loved it and once again found new authors (to me) that I had to get all their back log of work! I love when that happens…it’s like my own Holiday gift!

    • Hope, that Judy Garland song always brings tears to my eyes. She’s got that lovely crack in her voice that is just so touching. Great choice.

      Wow, so glad you loved Grosvenor Square! Thanks for letting us know. We’ve had such a lovely reaction to this anthology!

  • flchen1 says:

    Thanks for the holiday stories! I’ve got this one ready to download and read 🙂 As for holiday music, a few favorites are O Holy Night, Do You Hear What I Hear, Little Drummer Boy, and Breath of Heaven. There are loads I wouldn’t mind them losing the music to though 😀

  • Amy Conley says:

    Bing Crosby’s WHITE CHRISTMAS is number 1 followed closely by Bing and David Bowie’s LITTLE DRUMMER BOY/ WHATEVER THE OTHER SONG IS, LOL. I remember seeing thrm do that duet on Bing’s Christmas special and I’ve loved it ever since. Also Kenny Rogers version of MARY DID YOU KNOW. I know many people have done this song, but thete is just something about Kenny’s version which gets to me. And I hate to admit it, but GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER. Now this is because one year while my mother still lived in Erie, PA she drove to Cinncanatti and met up with my kids and myself. She had her bf at the time with her and he was this scroogie type (she did end up marrying him and Scrooge was just an act) and my youngest-by-5-minutes was in the bathroom of our hotel room when he began belting tbis song out til almost everyone in the hotel could hear him, including Scroogie bf. His response was so funny it made the entire trip worth it.
    The one song I can not stand to hear is the barking dogs doing JINGLE BELLS.

    • Amy, loved your story! I think that would make me like it too! I’m ducking here, but I loathe White Christmas. My grandmother loved Bing Crosby and used to play that over and over as Christmas approached. Actually someone should do a post on silly Christmas songs. What about All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth?

  • ki pha says:

    Oh mine has always been Silent Night and Silver Bells. But I discovered a few years back that I came to really love Do You Hear What I Hear sung by Martina McBride, Drummer boy sung by Pentatonix and Where Are You Christmas sung by Cindy Lou Who!!!!

  • Helen says:

    Anna

    Thank you so much for the Christmas book I so loved this one all the stories were wonderful 🙂

    As for Christmas carols I love them all there aren’t any that I don’t like of course I have my favourites and they are White Christmas Silent Night Joy to the World and Six White Boomers.

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Helen, thanks so much for picking up the anthology. So glad you liked it so much. Oh, Six White Boomers brings back memories of singing Christmas carols in stinking hot primary school classrooms!

  • Mary Preston says:

    O HOLY NIGHT is my favourite. I have not heard a bad rendition yet.

    I like all of the traditional carols though.

    • Mary, I must say I love the traditional ones too. Silent Night, Joy to the World and O Come, All Ye Faithful. Not to mention God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. Had an obsession with playing that one on the piano when I was a kid – drove my parents mad.

  • What a delightful collection, Anna! I’m so looking forward to reading these stories. You all sound like you had a lot of fun writing them. Thanks for getting Kate’s, Vanessa’s and Shana’s take on their tales as well.

    I don’t know if there’s a particular Christmas carol I don’t want to hear again, but I do hate any jazzed up and funky version of traditional carols by modern boy bands or yodeling Mariah Carey-style singers. Conversely, I know it’s cheesey but I love the carols we have sung by Bing Crosby, Satchmo, Dean Martin and the Andrews Sisters and also I have to throw in there Elvis singing Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me. Snork! Merry Christmas to you all!

  • SecretNinja says:

    I have a few that I just love — O Holy Night sung by N Sync or Plus One, My Grown Up Christmas List by Kelly Clarkson or Michael Buble, The Twelve Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser (if you haven’t seen this video, I totally say you need to youtube it!!), Baby It’s Cold Outside by pretty much anyone lol Oh and recently The Little Drummer Boy since Pentatonix has remade it with their own spin.

    I have to say I can’t ever really dislike Christmas songs because it’s my absolutely favorite time of the year!! Once my birthday hits at the beginning of December, it’s all Christmas songs, all the time lol

    Ada

    • Shana Galen says:

      Ada, I haven’t heard some of those (or didn’t know it), so I will have to listen to them. Thanks for the recs!

    • Ada, I think I missed your birthday! Happy birthday. Oh, I love Baby, It’s Cold Outside. I think that’s such a sexy song! Did you know it’s originally from a movie with Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban and it won the Oscar for best song that year? It’s back in the 50s.

      • Amy Conley says:

        Anna I love the Dean Martin version of that song. I always figured it was from a movie, but Ester Williams and Ricardo Mountablan? What’s the name of the movie? Now I need to see it.

      • Amy Conley says:

        1949 NEPTUNE’S DAUGHTER and it was sung twice, the first by Ester and Ricardo the second time by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett where she sang the “wolf” part and he sang the “mouse”. Now I need to see if I can find this movie.

  • Barb says:

    Hi Anna

    Thank you very much for your book .. I really enjoyed it

    I love most carols, can’t really think of one I don’t like.. I love watching carols by candle light on the TV .. DH and I always go up to Helens on Christmas Eve to watch carols from Melbourne .. We have been doing it for around 30 years…

  • Mozette says:

    Even though I’m not feeling all that Christmas-y this year, I do love singing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ in Latin. My choir used to sing some of it in Latin when I sang with them, and I loved it. Sometimes when I hear it sung in Latin, I sing along, just to enjoy it more.

    However, it’s a family tradition to go out and see the Christmas Lights around your own area… so I’ve been doing that at night… and it’s so wonderful to troll the streets after dark and love the lights… just lovely… 😀 And seeing I’m able to do this on my own now I have a car, I can stay longer if I want to and not be rushed off by my folks. 😀

    • Shana Galen says:

      I agree about the lights, Mozette. I have to be up early for bootcamp, and it’s so lovely to see the lights when the streets are quiet.

    • Mozette, my neighbor does wonderful Christmas lights – it’s right opposite my place so I feel they go to all that trouble just for me! 😉

      • Mozette says:

        Actually, around my unit complex, this year, we have the most Christmas Lights in the gardens I’ve ever seen! A lot of people have attached them to their car ports, while others have tossed them into the trees and shrubs in their front garden area. Me? I have two small-leaf jades which I string big bushy streamers in, and so they look great… this year, I strung gold streamers. 😀

  • Hi Anna! It was such a pleasure working on A Grosvenor Square Christmas with you and Kate and Shana. And you absolutely succeeded in your goal of over the top romantic – I loved your story!

    Some favorite carols are Angels We Have Heard On High and Angels From the Realms of Glory. As for one that doesn’t turn me crank – Silent Night. Too often it’s sung like a funeral dirge.

    • Vanessa, thanks for saying you enjoyed my story. I loved yours – love it when the Beta hero develops his hidden alpha!

      I’ve got to admit I still love Silent Night. I know it’s overdone but it’s lovely!

  • Shana Galen says:

    My favorite carols? It has changed over the years. I like O Holy Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem, but lately Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town are fun.

  • Phyllis Lamken says:

    I love Christmas carols. Silent Night is my favorite. I could go without hearing Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Ooooh, gotta go grab that collection, Anna, sounds delicious!

    I must say the old “Adeste Fidelis” (O Come, All Ye Faithful” was my favorite carol growing up and we had to learn it in Latin.

    Of more modern songs, I’m particular to Bette Midler’s “From a Distance” and “The Little Drummer Boy.”

  • Kate Noble says:

    Hi Anna!
    Love seeing everyone here today! I have to say, if I never hear the “Christmas Shoes” song again, I will be very happy. Patton Oswalt does a hilarious breakdown of it in one of his stand up routines.

  • EC Spurlock says:

    What a great anthology! Definitely going on the Christmas wish list right now! 😉

    I’m a big lover of Christmas carols. O Holy Night is my favorite, as well as the Italian carol Santo Bambino, which they always sang in our church when I was growing up. I have also always loved the Carol of the Bells, and never knew until recently that it originated in Ukraine, my family’s country of origin.

    Ones I can’t stand are Santa Baby and Elvis’ Blue Christmas (including the Porky Pig version!)

    • E.C., hope you enjoy the anthology. It was a fun thing to do as a thank you to our readers.

      Oh, I love the Carol of the Bells. I always thought it was French – thanks for updating that erroneous information for me!

  • Hi Anna –

    Love hearing the inspiration behind the stories. I already have the anthology. Now I have the insight 🙂 .

    Kate and I share dislike of the Christmas Shoes song. Phylliis and I dislike the Grandmom got run over by a reindeer song. While I liked The Little Drummer Boy when it came out years ago. I’m not so thrilled about it now because it goes on and on and on.

  • catslady says:

    There are so many I enjoy but one of my favorites is The Gift by Garth Brooks. It makes me cry every time. In case you don’t know it by it’s name the first line is “There once was a girl named Maria” and the last line is ” The very first Nightingale song.”

    • Catslady, I don’t know that one. I’ll have to check it out. I remember as a kid, I had a 45 inch of Nina and Frederick singing Scarlet Ribbons and it always made me howl.

  • Connie Fischer says:

    Hi, Anna!

    I’m with you on the “Away in Manger” makes me want to roll my eyes. I prefer the non-traditional songs such as “Santa Baby” and “Blue Christmas.”

    • Connie, this blog is making me realise I’m really out of touch with the modern Christmas songs. I don’t know either of those – I’ll have to check them out. Yeah, Away in a Manger just strikes me as so soppy.

  • bn100 says:

    jingle bells

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    My favorite carol is Little Drummer Boy, second is Silver Bells.

    • Dianna, lots of people have picked up the drummer boy – he’s a popular laddie! I love Silver Bells too. Such a lot of lovely music associated with Christmas!

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    I really enjoyed A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS. 🙂

    I like Silent Night.

  • gamistress66 says:

    sorry, I’ve always liked away in a manger 🙂 of course white Christmas is one of my faves, but nothing beats a good rendition of Do You Hear What I Hear. I can still remember singing it in choir at Christmas mass. hmm, may need to put on some CD’s this evening to enjoy while putzing & reading 🙂

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Anna, love your “Born Free” title. I had a good giggle over that one! 🙂

    I enjoyed A Grosvenor Square Christmas. The wonderful stories gave my Christmas spirit a happy kick-start!

    “Silver Bells” is a favorite of mine. It carries a lovely sentimental attachment for me. I also love “Oh, Holy Night” by Josh Groban. What a voice he has!

    A modern favorite is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” I am physically incapable of hearing that song and not wanting to dance around the room and sing along. Makes for some very interesting viewing when it comes on the car radio! 😉

    One more modern favorite is “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Makes me teary-eyed every time I hear it.

    • PJ, I had a bit of a snicker over the title too – wonder if we’ll get any lion fanciers visiting today by mistake!

      Thanks so much for saying you loved Grosvenor Square. It was such fun doing the project with the girls!

      O Holy Night has been a real favorite in this list. It’s up there with the Drummer Boy, I think. I really need to check out some more modern carols. I’m feeling VERY fuddy duddy!

  • I zapped this anthology into my kindle as soon as it was available and I loved every minute of it. I will probably read the entire thing again once I get my GH entries finalized. A lovely addition to my collection of Regency Christmas anthologies.

    I love O Holy Night and have had the opportunity to perform it in English and in its original French.

    I have always loved Silent Night but after hearing it sung in Salzburg at a Vespers service during Christmas week it is even more special to me.

    I also love

    I Wonder as I Wander

    Sweet Little Jesus Child

    What Child is This? (Greensleeves)

    Angels We Have Heard on High

    Carol of the Bells

    I Saw Three Ships

    Yes, I do love Christmas carols!

    I am joining the “old stick in the muds” section when I say I do not appreciate yodeling, rapping or otherwise mutilating Christmas carols. Simply not my taste.

    Christmas carols have a purpose. Neither selling CD’s nor being played behind “twerking” no talent girls with nothing but sex to sell is not is it.

    • Oh, Louisa, I envy you hearing Silent Night in Austria in such a magical setting. What a great list of carols. I had the most wonderful record that I snitched from my grandmother (she of Bing Crosby fandom). Andre Previn had done these beautiful arrangements of carols and Julie Andrews sang them. Very traditional style singing. Just stunning. Wonder what happened to that record. I used to play it all year, not just at Christmas.

      And thank you so much for saying you enjoyed the anthology. We’ve had such a wonderful reaction to it.

  • Thanks so much to everyone who swung by to celebrate the release of our free anthology, A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS, and especially to Shana, Vanessa and Kate for swinging by to get the party moving. Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it and may all your carols have no yodelling! 😉

  • J St George says:

    Thanks for A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS!!! It’s downloaded on my iPad.

    I throughly sick of Away in a Manger!! I do like Little Drummer Boy!