Today, my guest is another of the authors participating in the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies. Please welcome Deb Marlowe!
I was so excited when many of the authors of the Haunting of Castle Keyvnor decided to go Back to the Castle for Christmas! We had a lot of fun intertwining our haunted stories and I loved exploring Cornwall as a setting. I’m a big lover of Regency Christmas stories and Christmas traditions, too, so combining them all sounded just up my alley!
One of the first things I did was to explore Christmas traditions in Cornwall—and boy, did I hit the mother lode! Christmas traditions have always been strongly held to in Cornwall, even when political considerations had much of England avoiding them. Nadelik, as it is known, has its own special Cornish flavor.
Christmas carols are a favorite and in fact, many of today’s favorites originated in Cornwall. Christmas plays are a staple, as are the decoration of churches and villages.
In my Christmas story, Lord Locryn and the Pixie’s Kiss, I explored several updated customs that date back to the pagan ceremonies related to winter solstice.
I found them so interesting and discovered that they went well with the idea of the nature based Pixies that I developed for my first story in the Haunting anthologies-Lady Tamsyn and the Pixie’s Curse.
Steady readers of Regency themed Christmas stories have probably come across the custom of a kissing bough. A Cornish Christmas Bunch is a similar creation. They were made with two circles of withy, one inserted through the center of the other to create a three dimensional circle. They were decorated with holly, ivy, apples, candles—and mistletoe. Originally hung on December 20th and meant to welcome the Lord of Light, they were associated with mistletoe kisses, dancing and romping.
Readers might also be aware of the English Yule Log tradition. In Cornwall, a large log of ash is brought in and named the ‘mock.’ Only in Cornwall do they ‘Chalk the Mock.’ Someone was chosen to draw a figure on the log in chalk. He was said to represent the death of the old year and the birth of the new, or sometimes meant as a representation of Father Time. Adults toasted the mock, stories were told and the Yule log was burnt, with some of the embers saved to be used in the next year’s mock.
Another custom I incorporated was Guise Dancing. In this tradition, people dress in costumes and elaborate masks. The costumes might be tattered remnants of formal clothes or suits with long ribbons or tatters attached. The masks are beautiful and often shaped like animals or faces are blackened, painted and worn with crowns of flowers and vines. The disguised roam the villages and towns, performing traditional music, plays and dances.
I had a lot of fun working with the wealth of rich, Cornish festivities. As Lady Gwyn tells Lord Locryn—it’s the differences that make life interesting. I hope you will all enjoy the results!
USA Today Bestselling Author Deb Marlowe loves History, England and Men in Boots. Clearly, she was meant to write Regency Historical Romance! Deb grew up in Pennsylvania with her nose in a book. Luckily, she’d read enough romances to recognize the true modern hero she met at a college Halloween party—even though he wore a tuxedo t-shirt instead of breeches and tall boots. They married, settled in North Carolina and produced two handsome, intelligent and genuinely amusing boys. Though she spends much of her time with her nose in her laptop, for the sake of her family she does occasionally abandon her inner world for the domestic adventure of laundry, dinner, and carpool. Despite her sacrifice, not one of the men in her family is yet willing to don breeches or tall boots. She’s working on it.
Visit Deb’s website.
Charmed at Christmas includes
Deb Marlowe’s Lord Locryn and the Pixie’s Kiss
When is a kiss actually a curse? When an irate Pixie forbids you to kiss the wrong girl—ever. Unfortunately, Lord Locryn Pendarvis has no idea why girls are falling all over themselves not to kiss him. He only knows that after a certain point, the risk of humiliation outweighs desire. Until he meets Lady Gwyn Hambly again. She’s witty, charming and beautiful—and just as interested in him as he is in her. They’ll do anything to ensure their future together—even fight the supernatural forces aligned against them.
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