Thursday, December 20, 2012

Susan Macatee and a Victorian Christmas

The contest is closed. Shannon Ro is the winner of the PDF and gift certificate. Congrats, Shannon!

KAREN: Susan Macatee is a multi-published author at The Wild Rose Press. Her American Civil War romance stories are not the typical Gone With the Wind variety. She has time travel tales and women soldiers. Or you may find a ghost or two, or even a few vampires. However, in all her tales, you are sure to find heartwarming romances where true love always wins in the end.
 
***CONTEST: You'll have a chance to win a PDF copy of her new release, plus a $10.00 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press. Read on to find out how you may add these gifts to your stocking. Contest ends at midnight. Good Luck!!

SUSAN: Thanks, Karen, for hosting me on your blog today.

My new release, Thoroughly Modern Amanda, isn’t a Christmas story, but it is a time travel romance, set in America in 1880, at the height of the Victorian era.

Americans, at this time, were very aware of what went on in England, including fashions, literature and the very strict traditions set forth by Queen Victoria. 

In America, the traditions of the Christmas season, evolved over the Victorian period to encase much of what we are familiar with as part of Christmas today. St. Nicholas or Santa Claus appeared as a main part of the season during the Victorian era.

By the 1860s, the familiar Christmas traditions that we celebrate to this day, were already in place. “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens had been published in 1843 and the image of Santa Claus as jolly and portly fellow had been established through the drawings of Thomas Nast, a German-speaking immigrant.

Also, the Christmas tree, was thought of by many as being donated by German immigrants, who decorated an evergreen tree in their homes. This tradition, in actuality dates back to pre-Christian times. To the Romans, the evergreen was a symbol of fertility and regeneration. The early Christians adapted the symbol to represent the Tree of Life and Jesus.

The Christmas tree in America dates back to as early as 1812 or 1819. New York was originally a Dutch Republic named New Amsterdam, hence the earliest American Christmas trees may have originated with the German-American population.

The Christmas tree gradually increased in popularity over the next twenty years. Universal appeal occurred during the 1850’s and 1860’s.

Godey’s promoted the charm of the in-home Christmas tree, highlighting Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s celebration. A table-top tree was included, the print appearing in the December Godey’s issue in 1850. Albert had introduced the tree he’d embraced as a child in Germany and years after his marriage to Victoria, stated, “I must now seek in the children an echo of what Ernest [his brother]and I were in the old-time, of what we felt and thought; and their delight in the Christmas-trees is not less than ours used to be,…”

In America, over the next decade, Christmas trees started to appear in both the churches and the marketplace. This in turn, encouraged people to bring them into their homes, making the tree an important part of holiday d├ęcor.

Other traditions, as well, came direct from England, including caroling, Christmas cards, exchanging gifts and lavishing attention on children.

Sources: Christmas Trees and Godey’s Lady’s Book/ America’s Victorian Era in the Age of Sail

For more information and photos of early Christmas trees go to

For a post on Victorian Christmas traditions:


Blurb for Thoroughly Modern Amanda:
Believing anything is possible, magazine reporter Amanda Montgomery dreams about being a modern woman in a nineteenth century world, much like her exceptional step-mother.  But society expects well-off young ladies to focus on finding a suitable husband and raising a family.  And then Jack appears—with no past and unconventional ideas. Does he hold the key to another century as well as her heart, or is she destined to stay in her own time?

Construction worker Jack Lawton wants to preserve an old home that's scheduled for demolition.  But when he sneaks inside for a final look, a loose beam falls on his head, and upon waking, he finds himself in the arms of a beautiful woman.  His only problem—he's no longer in the twenty-first century.  Can he find his way back home? Does he really want to?

Excerpt:

Her footsteps sounded hollow on the unfinished wood floor as she paced. He lifted his gaze to study her. Her skirts nearly touched the freshly sanded floor as she braced her hands on either side of her hips. Her brow furrowed, lips twisted into an expression of anxiety.

"I'm sorry," he said.

She turned and faced him. "Sorry?"

"For putting you to all this trouble." He realized he didn't even know his rescuer's name. "I'm Jack Lawton, by the way and you are…?"

She pursed her full lips. "Miss Montgomery."

"You don't have a first name?" he asked.

"Sir, we are strangers to one another." Her face reddened.

"But I gave you my first name." He spread his hands.

She propped her hands on her hips. "My father would have a conniption fit if I gave my Christian name to a strange man. On the other hand, my step-mother…" Her lips curved into the hint of a smile. "…always introduces herself by her first name to the consternation of my father." She lifted her chin as if appraising Jack. "I'm Amanda."

Jack smiled but winced as a shot of pain sliced through his skull. "Amanda Montgomery. I'll be sure to remember that name." He lifted his hand. "Now, if you could assist me to the front door."

She stretched her arm down toward him, and he used the wall to hoist himself so he wouldn't put all his weight on her.

A brief wave of dizziness halted his progress, but he steadied himself. "Lead on."

By the time they reached the door, he realized how eerily familiar this house looked. Almost as if the house he'd been in had traveled back in time. Could the new owner have changed his mind and decided to rebuild the place?

Amanda threw open the door.

Jack's mouth gaped. Not only was his car gone, but the entire block was transformed. What had been a paved walk and blacktop street was now packed dirt.

Heat rose to his cheeks. "Where's my car? Did they tow it away to tear up the street?" He couldn't have been unconscious long enough.

"I don't know what you mean." Amanda's gaze scanned the road.

Jack froze in the doorway, not sure what to do. This was insane. He had no car, no cell phone or ID. If he made it to his house, would it even be there? For one chilling moment, he wasn't sure.

Amanda glanced at him, then back at the road, not saying anything for a long moment. "Mr. Lawton, if you're able to walk a short distance, I'll take you to my home. My step-mother may know how to help you."

Thoroughly Modern Amanda available from The Wild Rose Press.

***CONTEST: Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing to win a PDF copy of my new release, plus a $10.00 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press. Contest ends at midnight. Good Luck!!

14 comments:

Susan Macatee said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks again for having me, Karen! It's been fun to talk about Christmas traditions during the era in which most of my stories are set.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Susan,

Thanks so much for coming by and being a guest. Lovely post. I enjoy reading about different traditions.

Donna Michaels said... Best Blogger Tips

Another great post, Susan!

Very best of luck to you on your release!

~Donna

Shannon Ro said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the education on Christmas I found it really interesting. Congrats on the new release, I will have to check it out

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

Thoroughly Modern Amanda is going to be a sensational story. I love time travel, but the thing that makes this romance tale different is that it is a man who travels back.Usually in romance novels, it's the heroine who finds herself in another time zone.
I like Amanda and her definace of her father's conventional ideas.
I liked your blog about Christmas traditions and we we got them. Looks like Americans get the best of all countries. LOL
All the best to you, Susan. I also wish you a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous New Year.
starcriter at yahoo dot com

Susan Macatee said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks Donna, Shannon and Sarah! I agree that our Christmas conglomeration is the best. Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season!

Melissa Fox said... Best Blogger Tips

Congratulations on the release! I like the fact that the hero goes back in time - I'm looking forward to reading! Happy holidays :)

Susan Macatee said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks, Melissa! It's fun to go against convention and mix things up.

Happy holidays to you!

bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

Congrats on the book! Nice excerpt.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Firetulip said... Best Blogger Tips

Nice excerpt, but I'm also trying to get a message to Karen. She stopped commented on my blog during the "Secret Santa Blog Hop" and she won the prize, but didn't leave her email contact in comments. If she could contact me at czjelic@gmail.com to claim it? Thanks very much.

Susan Macatee said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks! I'm sure Karen will see your message.

Katrina Gillian said... Best Blogger Tips

Susan,

Interesting post. I didn't know about all the the traditions. I really like time travel stories. I'll have to check out your books.

katrinagillian at yahoo dot com

Susan Macatee said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi, Katrina! Thanks!

Susan Macatee said... Best Blogger Tips

I've drawn Shannon Ro's name as the winner of the PDF and gift certificate. Congrats, Shannon, your gifts are on the way.

And thanks to Karen for hosting me and to all who left comments.

I wish all of you the most wonderful of holiday seasons!