Tag: Santa Claus

E.E. Burke Is Dreaming of Christmas

EE Burke headshotTwo Brides, Three Wishes…an unforgettable Christmas

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.

 

 

 

amobcc-thumbnailAn American Mail-Order Bride Christmas Collection

 

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.

 

girl-with-doll

 

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.

 

bishop-st-nicholas

 

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.

 

colonial-dutch-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.

 

old-santa-on-roof

 

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.

 

nast-1881-santa-portrait

 

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.

 

1831-santa

 

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.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fkw7e9

Nook: http://bit.ly/AMOBCCNook

Apple: http://bit.ly/AMOBCCApple

Google: http://bit.ly/AMOBCCApple

Kobo: http://bit.ly/AMOBCCKobo

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.

Divider - gingerbread

 

EE Burke….The Evolution of a Saint In America: St. Nicholas to Santa Claus

I’m so grateful to Elisabeth for filling in for me (Linda Broday) today. I’m out of town so this works out great. I hope you enjoy her fabulous blog about the evolution of Santa. I find it so interesting and I think you will too. Also, get ready for SANTA’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE that releases on Dec. 23rd. It will be available in print and ebook!! I’m so excited.

How well do you know Santa? I had to do some research about the evolution of Santa Claus in America for a brand new book–SANTA’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE. Here’s a collage I put together of the progression.

Collage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these images were familiar to me, such as the real St. Nicholas, who truly embodies what being a disciple of Christ is all about. The Dutch brought “Sinterklaas” to colonial America. In the early 1800s, Santa devised his naughty list and hitched up the flying reindeer. And in the mid-to-late 1800s, Thomas Nast’s illustrations made the “jolly old elf” a household icon. Nast did more than 30 drawings for Harper’s Weekly, a number of those during the Civil War.

Santa’s Mail-Order Bride incorporates America’s Christmas traditions and the beloved character of Santa Claus. Just how much do you know about Santa?

 

Take this test:

Santa Claus was real person. (T or F)

The English brought Santa to America. (T or F)

A poem and an artist turned a saint into a legend. (T or F)

 

Santa Clause was a real person. True. Sort of… He started out as a 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. He is credited with numerous miracles (including bringing dead people back to life) and had a special love for children. It’s from his generous nature we get a gift-giving Santa.

 

bishop st. nicholas

 

The English brought Santa to America. (T or F)

False. Actually, it was the Dutch who gave Santa a ride across the ocean. Fast forward to 18th century America where immigrants from Holland brought with them the tradition of Sinterklaas, which eventually became “Santa Claus.”  Woodcuts distributed in 1804 show images of an old man in a long robe and long white beard filling colonial stockings with fruit and toys. There are also images showing Santa as a something of a trickster in a tri-corn hat.

 

colonial dutch santa

 

A poem and an artist turned a saint into a legend. (T or F)

True. In 1823, an anonymous poem (later acknowledged to have been penned by Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister), gave us a mythical, mischievous Santa. 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 mere nod of his head. This is also where we pick up flying reindeer and Santa’s sleigh.

1821 santa

 

 

We have American artist Thomas Nast to thank for developing the more familiar images of Santa Claus we cherish from Victorian times. 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, elves, and even his wife, Mrs. Claus.

Nast 1881 santa portrait

Department store Santa’s popped up at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. By the 1930s, Santa had even ventured into marketing, appearing on Coca-Cola ads.

 

coke santa

 

Yes, Santa has certainly evolved over time. But at the heart of the legend and character we find love and generosity and a special kind of magic that makes the world a better place.

 

norman santa

 

Did you know Santa was a Union man? And who doesn’t recognize the sack-toting Santa from the turn of the century? Being fully Americanized by the 1930s, Santa finally made his way into marketing…for Coca-Cola. Which of these images are familiar to you? Which one do you think best represents Santa? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Santa’s Mail-Order Bride.

 

SantasMailOrderBrideSanta’s Mail-Order Bride by E.E. Burke

 Maggie has an unexpected suitor—in a red suit

Schoolteacher Maggie O’Brien comes home for Christmas on a mission: to gather toys for orphans living on poor farms around Fort Scott. She’s made her list, but there’s no Santa in sight. Not until a local shopkeeper volunteers his services.

Gordon Sumner sets his mind on winning the black-haired Irish beauty, but Maggie’s brother is his fiercest competitor, and O’Brien’s loyal sister gives him the cold shoulder. Undaunted, he comes up with a clever plan.

Maggie sees through the fake Santa’s ploy, but with Christmas just around the corner, she’s running out of time to make the holiday happy for needy children. She accepts his help—with a plan of her own. She’ll play matchmaker and find her persistent suitor the perfect bride.

 

Teaser:

“We’ll get your orphans gifts, Miss O’Brien. I promise you.”

Her dazed expression remained, as her cheeks bloomed with color and her hands floated up to her mouth. At least she didn’t slap him.

His heart pumped liquid fire through his veins, the brief touch only whetting his appetite for more. He vowed to get a longer, deeper kiss before Miss O’Brien waltzed out of his life again, and he knew just how he would engineer it.

“You…you…” she sputtered.

“Kissed you? Yes. That’s what a man does with his wife.”

She scurried backwards, the high color draining from her face. “What are you talking about? I’m not your wife.”

“Not mine, Santa’s. You, my dear, will be Mrs. Claus.”

 

Available on Amazon: http://bit.ly/SantaBride

Find other books by E.E. Burke

http://bit.ly/AuthorEEBurke

www.eeburke.com

 

EE Burke headshotAbout E.E. Burke:

Weave together rich historical detail, passionate romance, add a dash of suspense and you have books by E.E. Burke. Her chosen settings are the American West and her upcoming release, Victoria, Bride of Kansas, is part of the unprecedented 50-book American Mail-Order Brides series. Santa’s Mail-Order Bride is the delightful sequel.

E.E.’s writing has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including the prestigious Golden Heart®. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream…writing stories readers can get lost in.