Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m confused: Why do people insist on putting the Twelve Days BEFORE Christmas instead of starting on the 25th of December? The twelve days start with the manger and end with presents from the wise men. I want to ask, don’t they read historical romances? Surely, we’d all know the right days if more people read historical romances.

Now to be honest, I had to look up Twelfth Night the first or second time I saw it in a novel, and yes, dear reader, that was before Wikipedia, so I used this thing called a dictionary. I know, I know, I age myself all the time, but I love my dictionary. It’s filled with all these interesting facts and a mini history of how words evolved and how they were used over time. But back to the subject: The Twelve Days of Christmas. In Europe and the countries to our south, Christmas Eve just kicks it all off. There should be celebrations and parties and good food, and they should start with Christmas. Not end on the 26th with after-Christmas sales. Really, there should be massive celebrations happening now through the sixth of January. But, sadly, it seems all the holiday parties are squeezed into early days of December and everything comes to crashing halt by the 1st of January. Seriously, our town schedules the holiday tree pickup for the 2nd of January!

Twelfth Night is defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking." We should take our holidays seriously by celebrating them on the right days of the year—and not forgetting the snacks! It’s only being respectful.

Continue reading >


 

So, take my advice and check out these romances to get you through the holiday season. Here are two sets of 5 Gold Smuggling Ringsshort stories where I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy. Both are themed to coincide with the Christmas holidays. Amazon’s latest imprint, StoryFront, celebrates with the Twelve Days of Killer Fiction—short stories by some top romance authors including Gemma Halliday, Diane Kelly, Jana DeLeon, Kim Law, Susan Donovan, Robin Kaye, Leslie Langtry, Kathleen Bacus, Kyra Davis, Amanda Brice, H.P. Mallory and Angie Fox. The shorts range from funny to paranormal, all with a murderous twist. The story titles are all a play on the famous 12 Days song. Available on Kindle and priced at $1.99, if you love a little murder with your holidays, check these stories out. We have them all listed on Fresh Fiction. And don’t worry, the stories are not connected so you can buy one or all without worrying about series order.

Prefer historical romances? Perhaps more aligned with the proper observance of the holidays? Entangled Publishing has a boxed set of historicals available in all e-book formats on December 30 for $2.99. With Twelve Days of Christmas Past (Entangled Publishing; December 30, 2013), you get four historical romance, one by Susanna Fraser and another by Emily Larkin, and two from Rebecca Thomas. All four stories have a holiday setting in England with one (“Christmas Past”) involving a stranded time traveler. It’s a great addition to your holiday fun.

Looking for the more traditional? Then I suggest picking up one of the Mary Balogh’s classic Christmas historicals. Recently reissued in both paperback and e-book formats, the two-in-one A Christmas Bride / Christmas Beau (Dell, December 2012) is a perfect accompaniment to the holidays. Both stories are set in Regency England and brim with holiday traditions. In A Christmas Bride, two people fall in love overWhat Happens at Christmas the holiday season despite their class differences. Christmas Beau is a story of a second chance at love. Both are delights to read and have a spot on my personal keeper shelf. My all-time favorite Balogh Christmas book is Slightly Dangerous, which isn’t just set during the traditional Christmas holiday. An important scene where love is announced takes place at a large family holiday party. And the sledding scene is one I’ll never forget! Originally published in 2005, Slightly Dangerous is still available in paperback and e-book. For those of you who like to read a series in order, I warn you that this is the sixth book in the Bedwyn family saga—you may as well get all of them.

Also reissued this year, Victoria Alexander’s What Happens at Christmas (Kensington, October 2013) involves a madcap house party at Millworth Manor with a cast of characters that will make you smile and laugh as you fall in love alongside Lady Lydingham during the holiday season.

Hopefully you’ll find something to enjoy during the “real” Twelve Days of Christmas and please also come by FreshFiction.com, as we also celebrate from December 25th to January 6th, where you’ll find more books to explore and giveaways to enter.

How do you celebrate the Twelve Days? Is it time to go bargain hunting? Visit with family? Go on a vacation to cold or warm places? Which are YOUR days of festivities?

Sara Reyes is the founder and partner at FreshFiction.com, a popular fiction web site for today's reader with new titles, contests, over 50,000 genre fiction author profiles with backlists, and permanently archived reviews, plus all the industry buzz. Fresh Fiction has a biweekly segment (Buy the Book) on WFAA Channel 8 Good Morning Texas to talk about new books not to miss. Believing face-to-face interaction is as important as virtual communities, Fresh Fiction sponsors an annual author reader tea in June, a readers conference in November, monthly literary events, and book clubs. Follow Sara at @FreshFiction on Twitter or Facebook.com/FreshFiction.