We are very excited to have with us today guest author Emily Bryan. A classically trained soprano, Emily gleaned the elements of storytelling while performing operatic roles. She describes her light-hearted stories as Gilbert & Sullivan . . . with sex! Sounds like a perfect match to me! Emily's latest work is the novella "My Lady Below Stairs" in the Christmas Anthology A CHRISTMAS BALL. Please give a warm welcome to Emily Bryan.
I was a firm believer in Santa Claus. The big guy had always been more than generous to me and even arranged to come to my house early so we could make the trip to my grandparents for Christmas each year. My grandmother had a wonderful Christmas house, a big two story with a long staircase and plenty of room for a big family. She always wrapped the banister with greenery and filled the living room with the largest real tree she could find. Of course, the house didn’t have a fireplace, but Grandma set up a cardboard one to hang our stockings.
How Santa managed to enter the house through that cardboard fireplace was one of the great mysteries of my childhood, but I was prepared to take a few things on faith.
That’s why when one of my 3rd grade classmates tried to tell me he didn’t exist, we nearly came to blows on the playground. But the seed of doubt had been planted, so I went to my Dad with my questions.
And was devastated by his answer.
Still, old beliefs die hard. I was determined to learn the truth with my own eyes. So on Christmas Eve at my grandma’s house, I didn’t go right to sleep like a good little girl. I kept my eyes closed when my mother came in to check on me one last time and I lay still as a hare while the house quieted and all I could hear was the soughing of wind outside the frosty windows.
Then I heard another sound. A rustling downstairs in the living room.
I padded to the head of the stairs and crept down, careful to avoid that creaky third step. I settled on the stairs and peered through the evergreen-covered banister.
There was my grandma, filling the stockings. A fragrant orange in each toe, a handful of nuts still in the shell, cinnamon and butterscotch drops and a small toy. She was humming a carol while she worked in her soft true alto.
I stole back to my bed, the last of my childhood illusions shattered. But before I drifted to sleep, I realized I had something better than Santa Claus.
I had a grandma who loved me.
Thanks so much for having me here at Romance Dish. I love swapping Christmas memories and traditions. In fact, I did a study of Regency Christmas customs for my novella in A CHRISTMAS BALL. (If you’d like to learn more about the food, fun and festivities Jane Austen might have celebrated the holiday with, please visit my website and follow the Regency Christmas ball.
I’d love to give a signed copy of A CHRISTMAS BALL, my latest release to someone who leaves a comment or question here today.
Emily, thank you so much for visiting with us and sharing your memories of a very loving Grandma. As Emily said, she will be giving away a signed copy of A CHRISTMAS BALL to one lucky poster.
Also, if you are interested in purchasing a signed copy of A CHRISTMAS BALL at a 10% discount, check out this indie bookstore The Book Oasis.