Two giveaways today! E-copies of The Christmas Room and my shorter novella, Covenant!
Last spring, The Wild Rose Press asked me to participate in a multi-author Christmas series based on The Twelve Days of Christmas. I got Four Calling Birds. Happens I was in Oahu relaxing at my sis’s when I got The Inspiration.
I’d set my western historical holiday romance right there! In Honolulu. I picked the Hawaiian songbird, the puaiohi.
And decided on an American cowboy from Lake Tahoe who crosses the Pacific to fulfill a deathbed promise to his cousin. Of course, in so doing, Rooney Lind finds the love of his life in Martita Akala.
Visiting the Iolani Palace helped me decide to set my story in December 1890. Now a historic landmark and museum, the Iolani is the only royal palace on American soil. Its name means Royal Hawk.
The palace was built by King David Kalakaua in 1883, replacing an earlier wooden structure from 1844, and cost an astonishing $340,000. This highly-educated, courtly monarch had met many heads of state on an 1881 world tour, and European architecture influenced the design of his palace. Interestingly, the unique style today is called “American Florentine.”
Departing from royal practice, both the royal family and the staff used the grand staircase of koa wood.
Beautiful etched glass was imported from the mainland.
Although King Kalakaua had returned to his people many of the cultural practices forcibly quashed by American missionaries, such as hula, the Hawaiian language, and luau, this modern-thinking ruler installed flush plumbing, a telephone, and electric lighting in his palace three years before the White House!
Sadly, Kalakaua died just a month after my story, hoping to revive his health and spirit in San Francisco. By now a mere figurehead, he had three years earlier been forced from power by British and American business interests who wanted more control of the thriving sugar business. Feted today as the Merrie Monarch, King David Kalakaua is the last reigning king of Hawaii, and the first reigning monarch ever to visit the United States.
So…have you seen the Iolani Palace? How about another royal residence…when and where?
Here’s a bit about The Christmas Room:
Running from her past and healing from unspeakable grief, Martita Akala has built a new life on the island of Oahu…until a handsome cowboy disrupts her well-ordered peace.
American cowboy Rooney Lind travels the ocean to fulfill a death-bed promise to find a lost love. But spending time in Martita’s “Christmas Room” makes him realize he’s found what he’s been looking for his whole life.
As for Covenant…can a Christmas blizzard ignite a love gone cold? After unspeakable grief, mail order bride Ella finds herself abandoned yet aching for the bridegoom who left. Carsten, feeling she’d leave him, left her first…
Ps. Covenant includes a recipe for Germany’s traditional springele “picture” cookies, used with permission.