You may already know this is a Christmas anthology with my long-time pal, Cheryl St. John, and Jenna Kernan. Cheryl and I first met each other about 1990 or so before either of us was published. I joined her critique group, and over the years, I learned tons with her–and from her. She went on to sell, and while it took me a few years longer, I eventually sold, too. When I learned I’d be joining her and Jenna in a Christmas anthology, well, it seemed fitting.
You see, I’ve always wanted to do a Christmas anthology. Right along with getting my first letter from prison, being invited to do a Christmas anthology made me feel like a real writer. It’s an honorable thing being invited, and while this one wasn’t my first (I was part of the Spring Brides, June 2005, by Harlequin Historicals), the fact that it was Christmas made the opportunity extra special.
Besides, anthologies give authors lots of extra exposure. The three of us will split the royalties on this book, but our publisher increased the print run substantially to help offset the shared monies. Also, it’s a good opportunity for a newer author to be featured with bigger-name author(s) to help her build recognition.
Since Christmas has always been magical for me, I wanted a story that would affect my readers the same way. Our editors asked two things of us–each tale must include a child and a recipe. Easy enough. After all, what would Christmas be without children and our best recipes? A little research, my Sicilian grandmother’s special rosette cookie, the fanciful legend surrounding it and voila! ONE MAGIC EVE was born.
The past several years have shown the popularity of Christmas anthologies. Readers love the quick novellas and the variety of stories in one book to flavor the mood of the holiday. Some books are connected in some way; some have specific themes; some have each story stand alone, as WESTERN WINTER WONDERLAND does. Authors love the novellas because they’re fast and relatively easy to write (25,000 – 30,000 words, roughly 1/3 of a manuscript), have fewer characters and a straightforward plot. Of course, the books are chock-full of romance.
October signals the month when Christmas books start filling the shelves. Last month, I noticed in my B & N that a dump (those cardboard, free-standing displays with pockets filled with books) had holiday-themed books, and the pockets were already looking skimpy.
Here’s a few of this year’s romantic holiday anthologies:
Stockingful of Joy–Mary Jo Putney, Jill Barnett, Susan King, Justine Dare
The Morgue, the Merrier–Rosemary Laurey, Dianne Castell, Karen Kelley
Christmas Spirit (re-issue)–Leigh Greenwood, Elaine Fox, Linda Windstead
I’m Your Santa–Lori Foster, Karen Kelley, Dianne Castell
Santa Baby–Lisa Jackson, Elaine Coffman, Lisa Plumley, Kylie Adams
A Very Merry Christmas–Lori Foster, Janice Maynard, Gemma Bruce
Some authors who are really big names have Christmas anthologies featuring only *their* stories. Now, wouldn’t that be nice? Here’s a couple:
Christmas Wishes–Debbie Macomber
The Gift–Nora Roberts
If any of the Founding Fillies have recent Christmas anthologies to add to my list, by all means, let’s hear from you!
And now, I’m curious. Do y’all enjoy these romantic novellas? Do you give them as gifts? Do you have a favorite? Or do you prefer something longer and bigger that you can sink your teeth into?:
Let us know, and I’ll put you in a drawing for a copy of WESTERN WINTER WONDERLAND, signed by me, Cheryl AND Jenna!
Ho! Ho! Ho!