• Daily Life,  History,  Music,  Regency,  Research,  Risky Regencies

    Lord Grantwell’s Christmas Traditions

    In researching Lord Grantwell’s Christmas Wish I came across some new-to-me Regency Christmas traditions. I’ve blogged about Regency Christmases before, like here at Risky Regencies in 2016, when Bound By a Scandalous Secret was a December release.

    I mentioned things like Regency households did not have Christmas trees or send Christmas cards. Santa Claus came later, as did singing Silent Night. They did exchange gifts, decorate with winter greenery, and have special Christmas food. You can read the whole blog here.

    Lord Grantwell’s Christmas Wish was set in Yorkshire, so a couple of new traditions popped up in my research.

    The first was a tradition involving the lighting of the yule log. To bring good luck, a large log was brought in on Christmas eve to burn constantly in the hearth until it has completely burned itself out. Before supper, when the yule log is burning, all other lights are extinguished, everyone is silent, and the youngest one present must light two special candles from the yule log while everyone makes a wish. The wish must be kept secret or it will not come true. In my book it is Anna, the youngest of Lord Grantwell’s wards who lights the candles. And, of course, along with everyone else, Lord Grantwell makes his wish.

    Another Yorkshire tradition I discovered took place on Christmas morning. For more good luck, on Christmas morning, before anything was taken out of the house, something green must be brought in, usually a leaf from an evergreen. Grant charges Anna and her brother William with this task.

    Did you know there were different versions of The Wassail Song? Even though I was not absolutely sure the Wassail Song was sung in the Regency, I played upon the differences.

    Here’s an excerpt from the book:

    “You are forgetting something, m’lord,” Thompson said. 

    “Forgetting something?” He was puzzled. “What?” 

    “The wassailing song,” Thompson said.

    Anna’s face fell. “I do not know the wassailing song.” 

    “No?” Grant touched her cheek. “We will sing it for you.” He began and the servants joined in:

    We’ve been a-while a-wandering,

    Amongst the leaves so green.

    But now we come a wassailing,

    So plainly to be seen. 

    For it’s Christmas time, when we travel far and near,

    May God bless you and send you a happy New Year….

    He paused. “Miss Pearson, why are you not singing?” 

    She shook her head. “That is not the song I know.”

    “That is the wassail song,” he insisted. 

    “No,” she countered with a smile. This is the wassailing song.

     She sang: 

    Here we come a-wassailing

    Among the leaves so green;

    Here we come a-wand’ring

    So fair to be seen.

    Love and joy come to you,

    And to you your wassail too;

    And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year

    And God send you a Happy New Year…

    “No. No. No,” he protested. The words were slightly different. The tunes were slightly different. He led the servants in the second verse:

    We are not daily beggars,

    That beg from door to door,

    But we are neighbors children,

    Whom you have seen before…

    Lillian stopped them. “That is the third verse,” she said. “Here is the second.” 

    Our wassail cup is made

    Of the rosemary tree,

    And so is your beer

    Of the best barley.

    He joined her in singing the refrain—his refrain along with hers, and they all continued singing verses with identical lyrics, Lillian’s differing version making a sort of harmony while the refrains sung together became a jumble. 

    He and the others ended the song, but she kept singing. One last verse.

    Her singing slowed and she held her gaze on his:

    God bless the master of this house

    Likewise the mistress too,

    And all the little children

    That round the table go.

    When she mentioned children she walked over to William and Anna and put her arms around them. Grant joined them as they sang the refrains one last time with the children trying to join in. 

    And God send you a Happy New Year…

    Here’s the Yorkshire version:

    Here’s Lillian’s more familiar version:

    Love and Joy come to all of you from the Riskies….and to you your wassail, too!

  • Risky Book Talk,  Writing

    Finally, finally!! Lord of Misrule

    I could NOT be more excited to tell you that, as it says above, finally –FINALLY!! –I have finished LORD OF MISRULE. Not only that, but the ebook version is up at both Amazon and Smashwords –the Kindle version is on pre-order and will be delivered next Wednesday. Please, please head on over there and order a copy? You will have my undying gratitude.

    I put “finally’ in caps because really, this is not just about the fact that the poor book kept getting interrupted and has taken a couple of years to complete. This is my first all-new book in sixteen years! Yes, THE RAKE’S MISTAKE was the last entirely new book I wrote, and it was published by Signet in 2002. (That’s the only one of my backlist I still have not re-issued. I’ll get to it, I promise.)

    Coming back after that long a break is not easy. First, there’s the “rust” factor –you’re horribly out of practice after not writing for that long (teaching helps, but it’s not the same), and more, at least in my case, you lose your “voice” and have to spend a lot of writing time just finding it again. Second, and it’s related to the first, there’s the “fear” factor. Face it, writing is a scary business. You put your heart on the line every time you write a story and put it out there for people to judge. When you’re rusty at your craft and finding your way back, I think the “fear factor” is tripled! So, I have my fingers crossed and hope readers will enjoy my new effort.

    But there’s another “finally” I’m celebrating with this new book. I was detoured during those years by a series of serious health issues in my family –my mom, my younger son, my husband. Each time I started to write again, a new crisis occurred and the correlation of the timing was worthy of the Twilight Zone! I began to believe I just wasn’t meant to be writing during those years, and still believe that. No guilt.

    This time when I started again, the health crisis that occurred was mine. The reason to celebrate is not only because I managed to write anyway, but because I believe I have either broken the pattern, or come to the end of the period of not-writing. The joy is back, and I feel that part of my brain is working again. FINALLY! Yippee!

    LORD OF MISRULE

    On a snowy Christmas Eve day, a vicar’s daughter runs into the Devil himself, or is he just the Lord of Misrule? In a season of miracles and magic, can love bind two unlikely hearts in the days leading to Twelfth Night?

    “a bit of Pride and Prejudice, a little Brigadoon and a dollop of Cinderella” –author Terri Kennedy

    In trouble for causing a scandal in London, Adam Randall, Lord Forthhurst, is headed home to make amends on Christmas Eve day when he becomes stranded in the tiny village of Little Macclow. Before the night is over, he has become thoroughly entangled in the village’s celebration of the twelve days of Christmas, and fully intrigued by the vicar’s daughter, Miss Cassandra Tamworth.

    Cassie has been raised by her widowed father to expect the worst from members of the aristocracy. Lord Forthhurst is a puzzle. Can she trust him? Or is he a devil, as he claims and warns her? Can her mind resist when her heart and body want to be his?

    Note: This special full-length holiday book from Gail focuses entirely on the romance between Adam and Cassie and the shenanigans during twelve days of Christmas. In this one, no nefarious doings are afoot and there’s no mystery to be solved beyond the mystery of how two people who belong together ever manage to sort themselves out enough to find love!

    BUY LINKS

    Kindle:  https://tinyurl.com/y7rofpyo

    Nook, Kobo, Sony, etc.:  https://tinyurl.com/y89v9odt

    Have you ever had to persevere over a long period of time to complete something, or get back to something? I am so grateful to my readers who have been patiently waiting for me, and for new ones who are willing to give me a try!

  • Risky Book Talk,  Risky Regencies

    Shameless Self-Promotion & Mumps (Begging Your Indulgence)

    I’ve never missed my Riskies blogging date (except one time we switched dates), and here I am, but I have to tell you I have been sick all month. ALL MONTH!

    Rather unbelievably, I came down with the mumps. Yes, I had it as a child (we didn’t have the vaccine for it then), although I had a very light case. My sister had it much worse. Perhaps my case then wasn’t bad enough to give me full immunity, or something. At any rate, an outbreak of it on the state college campus close to where I work apparently spilled a bit into the nearby community, and WHAM!

    I will tell you, having mumps at my age is NOT for sissies. Also, when you are that sick, not resting enough can prolong how long it takes to get well (what, you are not writing that down?), and can also lead to secondary infections…..

    In my defense, allow me to explain that in my primary day job, I work in a one person church office, and as we are in between pastors at present, there is literally no one else who can do the work. And the work does need to get done. (sigh.) I was good about cleaning the office with Lysol in case anyone else came in there. Obviously I stayed home from Sunday services! But I did get more intentional about balancing work and rest, and I am finally on the mend.

    So instead of an interesting research piece, I am begging your indulgence. I know I already announced that The Magnificent Marquess was coming out on May 15, and we only missed that by a couple of days. Not bad all things considered! But I do have buy links to share now. (Print edition is not done yet.)

    AMAZON:   http://bit.ly/MagMarquess

    B&N:  http://bit.ly/TMagMarq-BN

    SMASHWORDS:  http://bit.ly/TMagMarq-Smashwords

    I also –tah-dah –issued my first newsletter in literally YEARS. If by any chance you are interested in signing up for future ones (I will only send one out when there is actual news), then here is a link to sign up for that:  http://bit.ly/GEastwoodNews

    Did you ever have the mumps? I don’t want to turn this into a rant about why people should vaccinate their children, but OTOH I am pretty steamed about having just lost the entire month of May while being in a lot of pain!! Feel free to reminisce or rant here if you want to.  🙂

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