Monday, November 30, 2015

Author Notes on “A Very Special Christmas Present”

Regency romances are always popular with readers. Perhaps it’s because they recall an elegant era or perhaps it’s the appeal of noblemen and their ladies. Whatever the attraction, I’m heartily glad for it! “A Very Special Christmas Present” began as a submission to a new Regency publishing house. The publisher was conducting a contest for short stories to include in the new print and electronic anthology, THE WINTER HOLIDAY SAMPLER. The contest rules were simple: set the story around a winter holiday: the parameters between Advent and Twelfth Night. Naturally I chose Christmas!

Happily, my story was one of the seventeen winners and earned fantastic reviews.

Seventeen Wonderful Stories Of Regency England

As it happens so often, the publisher had to close its doors and the anthology is no longer available. With the rights to “A Very Special Christmas Present” returned to me, I included it in my anthology LUCKY 13, now no longer available electronically, but still available in print from my website.

Thirteen delightful stories for your reading pleasure by Susanne Marie Knight

Some time passed, and then I received a call from my publisher, Uncial Press, to submit a short story. I sent in “A Very Special Christmas Present” where it has settled in very nicely with the publisher’s Regency inventory.

Deidre's only brother was killed in the Napoleonic Wars, so romance is the furthest thing from her mind. However her young "niece"--Cupid's curly-haired accomplice--is determined to give Auntie Dee the best Christmas present ever.

Deidre’s young “niece” is determined to give her Auntie Dee the best Christmas present ever: a husband!

This book is part of the Elegant Regencies line.

“FIVE STARS! Fans of the stories set in early nineteenth century England will find this a comfortably familiar world. The setting is completely perfect, from the wonderful home and dedication to needlework, to the holiday plans, and even the focus on marriage. You will enjoy Knight’s clever twist with descriptions-- her snow-capped fir trees “huddle” from the cold, and main character Deidre expresses frustration by ‘savagely’ embroidering. Throughout, the phrasing is subtle but delightful. It’s hard to say more without spoiling this one. Full of Christmas charm, Susanne Marie Knight’s A Very Special Christmas Present, would make a very nice present for some lucky romance fan on your shopping list...I will certainly re-read." Long & Short Reviews.

Real life tidbit: Just as our heroine, Deidre Livingston, I dabble in embroidery. Or rather, I used to dabble in embroidery. I enjoyed buying handkerchiefs and then using one as a canvas, embroider a friend or family member’s name to give as a gift. Deidre has far more talent than I ever had!

Scene setup: At a Christmas party, Jeremy Stafford, the Earl of Bainbridge, encounters the intriguing Miss Livingston who rescues him from the consequences of an unplanned sneeze!


Jeremy picked up two glasses of the mulled cider and handed one to Miss Livingston. The pungent aroma of spices--cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves--tickled his nose even before he drank.
He sneezed. “I beg your pardon.” Reaching for his handkerchief, he came up empty.
Miss Livingston must have realized his dilemma, for she searched in her reticule and pulled out a delicate, embroidered cloth. “Please, take mine.”
Accepting the handkerchief, he marveled at the satin-stitch design and the feminine name of Deirdre stitched upon it. “My thanks, Miss Livingston. I gave mine to that imp of a child. Is this your fine needlework?”
She looked down at the parquet wood floor. Modesty became her. “Yes. I had the pleasure of giving handkerchiefs as Christmas gifts to all of Lady Fairmont’s guests.” Her gaze everywhere but on him, she added, “Would you like for me to make one for you, also?”
His response came straight from the heart. “Indeed, if I may, I wish to keep this one. Your name is quite lovely.”

I hope you enjoy Deidre and Jeremy’s Christmas story.

Happy reading,

Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!