Thanks so much for having me back to visit. I’m eager to share about this Western historical romance Christmas collection that’s topped numerous lists at Amazon, including Historical and Western Romance.
Victoria, Bride of Kansas (#1 Amazon Bestseller)
Jilted society miss Victoria Lowell travels a thousand miles to marry a suitor whose romantic letters won her heart, unaware she’s been corresponding with the groom’s sister. The man she believes she loves isn’t the one she meets. In fact, he isn’t even expecting her. When the truth finally comes out, it will take a miracle to deliver a happily ever after.
Santa’s Mail-Order Bride
On a mission to bring toys to orphans for Christmas schoolteacher Maggie O’Brien is forced to go to her brother’s fiercest business competitor for help. Though he agrees, his benevolent gesture holds one catch—she must find him a bride. Will the love of a determined suitor and the spirit of the holiday capture the matchmaker’s heart?
The Christmas Wish
In this short story, a young orphan who has never known love gets his Christmas wish.
Some fun facts about this Christmas project
Victoria, Bride of Kansas, which became an Amazon bestseller, started as part of an unprecedented project with 45 other authors, the American Mail-Order Brides series. This book, about a lonely socialite who travels over a thousand miles to find true love, was a finalist in the 2016 Booksellers’ Best Awards and a semifinalist in the Kindle Best Book awards.
In this story, we meet a little girl, Fannie, who is mute. She hasn’t spoken since her mother left her two years earlier. Desperate to communicate with the troubled child, Victoria gives her a treasured doll and teaches her sign language.
Where did Victoria learn sign language? At the first American School for the Deaf in Hartsford, Conn., which opened its doors in 1817. Within forty years of the opening of the Hartford school, more than twenty other schools for the deaf had been established, the majority residential, teaching manual sign language.
David O’Brien doesn’t react well to Victoria teaching his daughter how to sign. If she doesn’t speak again and relies on sign language, he fears she will be excluded. His feelings reflect the general consensus of the time, which was fired by a fierce debate over the best way to teach the deaf to communicate. “Oralists” argued that the deaf should be taught to read lips and speak (English) in order assimilate into the broader society. Even Alexander Graham Bell, better known for his invention of the telephone, advocated banning sign language. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the deaf were taught both sign language and lip reading.
Santa’s Mail-Order Bride is the top-rated sequel. I couldn’t let Victoria’s meddling sister-in-law remain a spinster! This well-intentioned matchmaker has plans for a scheming Santa that backfire, with unexpected consequences. And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. I can’t wait for you to meet him.
This story incorporates a number of American Christmas traditions, including the beloved character of Santa Claus. Our version of Santa may appear contemporary, but the venerable gift-giver has a long history.
Santa started with a real person. Saint Nicholas, born in the 3rd century in a village in present-day Turkey, is said to have spent his inheritance to help the needy, and he had a special love for children. It’s from his generous nature we get a gift-giving Santa.
Fast forward to 18th century America where immigrants from Holland brought with them the tradition of Sinterklaas, who became “Santa Claus.” Woodcuts distributed in 1804 show images of an old man in a robe and long white beard filling colonial stockings with fruit and toys.
In 1823, an anonymous poem (later acknowledged to have been penned by Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister), took the legend another step. Entitled An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas or The Night Before Christmas. Moore’s poem is largely responsible for the image of Santa Claus as a “right jolly old elf” with a portly figure and the supernatural ability to ascend a chimney with a nod of his head. This is also where we first have references of flying reindeer and Santa’s sleigh.
But we have American artist Thomas Nast to thank for the richest legends we have today surrounding Santa Claus. From 1863 through 1886, Nast contributed 33 Christmas drawings to Harper’s Weekly with references to Santa. Here is the most familiar Santa “portrait” he did in 1881. It is Nast who gave Santa his familiar suit, his North Pole workshop, the elves and his wife, Mrs. Claus.
America’s Victorians were very familiar with Santa and his legend. Department store Santa’s popped up at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century.
In fact, the hero in my book, who owns a general store, plays Santa in a parade. He wears what was traditional garb for Santa back then: a long green cape and stocking hat and a long flowing beard.
Santa’s on parade became a popular theme in towns and cities, and in the 1930s, Santa received “contemporary” red costume.
Yes, Santa’s reputation reaches far back in history, and at the heart of his character we find love and generosity, and a special kind of magic that makes the world a better place.
You can pick up your copy of An American Mail-Order Bride Christmas Collection for only 99 cents until Christmas.
Here’s a video to get you in the mood for this heartwarming Christmas read.
What gift did you treasure when you were a child? Commenters on this post will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of the audiobook, Santa’s Mail-Order Bride (US or UK), or the free eBook.