To ring in the New Year, a party on New Year's Eve has always been the most common type of celebration throughout England’s history. When the stroke of midnight chimes and Big Ben rings, many toast the New Year with a drink. The most famous celebration in England takes place in Trafalgar Square where big crowds gather to welcome the New Year.
During the Regency Era, if the family preferred to ring in the New Year at home there was such a custom for “the members of the household to sit themselves round the hearth, and when the hands of the clock approach the hour, the head of the family rises, goes to the front door, opens it wide, and holds it thus until the last stroke of midnight has died away. Having let the Old Year out and the New Year in, he shuts the door quietly and returns to the family circle.”
Many may have heard of the song, "Auld Lang Syne," it’s traditionally sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country worldwide to celebrate the New Year. This custom of singing this song on New Year’s Eve dates back to the British Isles from the 18th century when guests ended a party standing in a circle and singing this particular song.
And did you know, the New Year's Eve ball drop tradition can be traced back to 19th-century timekeeping! In 1833, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, installed a ball that would drop down a pole at 1 o'clock every afternoon to assist ship captains with calibrating their instruments. Other places besides Times Square use time-balls throughout the year, like the U.S. Naval Observatory, where a ball drops at noon every day!
Now that we have our taste buds tingling from the fascinating facts of our originating history, let’s see how our TQ ladies rang in the New Year…
For us it is lasagna and cole slaw.
My mother started the tradition of lasagna because it was something she could make-up the day before (New Year's Eve) and stick the pan in the refrigerator for the next day. I've carried this tradition on because after being out late it is nice to have dinner already prepared and ready to pop in the oven. The cole slaw is because my family believed that if you ate cabbage on the first day of the year you would be prosperous. It has been pointed out that none of us are wealthy and mom was quick to remind us that we have food, clothing and a roof over our head, which is what I have reminded my children when they complain about that one bite of coleslaw I make them eat each year. I never forget to eat cabbage on January 1st.
15 years ago, when I was 11, one of our traditions was to play games of bingo. With one of those bingo sets, with the big ball you spin with all the little bingo balls inside, until midnight. My parents would buy prizes: movies, CDs, $10 gift cards, special kinds of candy, etc and for each game there'd be a different prize.
These days, I go to bed about 9 and start mumbling in my sleep when the neighbors start lighting off the fireworks and scaring the dog.
I spent this New Year with The Scientist (my boyfriend), his daughter, some friends and their two daughters. We went to downtown Raleigh to see the "acorn" drop. Raleigh is the City of Oaks, so they drop a big acorn at 7p for kids and then again at midnight. We meant to make it for the kids drop but missed it due to traffic. YES, apparently a lot of people wanted to see a big acorn drop. I don't really get it either.
Having missed the acorn drop, the kids went ice skating instead, and then we headed back to our friends' house to ring in the New Year watching Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper on CNN, mainly because Anderson Cooper's giggle makes me laugh until my side hurts.
We have no traditions. It’s sad, but true. Hubby and I have spent years trying to find the *perfect* New Year. And every time we think, “this is it,” it turns out to be a disappointing night (no offense to anyone who has hosted or partied with us!) Not to say we didn’t have fun, but after a busy holiday season, staying up until midnight, going to sleep in a strange bed and having our kid wake up at all hours of the night just wasn’t ideal.
BUT, this year was different. We decided not to make a big deal out of New Year’s Eve. We did a kid thing during the day, and then we hung out on the couch, watched a movie and drank some wine in the evening. I’m pretty sure that until our little girl is old enough to party with us at a pre-fixe celebration, we’ll be chillin’ at home on the New Year. So we’ll see all you party animals in about 18 years.
Our best wishes to all for a happy, healthy 2013!
The Ladies of TQ
Timeless Quills author Catherine Gayle was a guest on Blog Talk Radio today, where she read an exclusive sneak peek excerpt.
Catherine's novella, To Enchant an Icy Earl, will be featured in the historical romance anthology A Season to Remember, which will release next week from Night Shift Publishing. Other novellas in the anthology are written by Timeless Quills authors Jane Charles, Ava Stone, and Jerrica Knight-Catania.
If you want to be one of the first to hear it, listen in at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rrradio/2012/09/26/rrw--whats-write-for-me.
Today, we're participating in a blog hop that focuses on heroes, and have decided to each shamelessly brag about our favorite heroes!
Rose Gordon: I have a serious weakness for flawed heroes, and my favorite is Sir Wallace Benedict, the thrice-jilted baronet from Her Imperfect Groom. Between his need for perfection in his actions and attire and chronic counting when nervous, he's as far from perfect as one can get. Except to the one woman who loves him because of his imperfections just as much as he loves her and hers. Sir Wallace is my favorite because of all the obstacles he has to overcome, the most important being that though can accept other people's imperfections, he must learn to accept his own, too.
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Rose's Website
Suzie Grant: My favorite is Captain Blac Barclay, from Wrong Kind of Paradise, is a man who keeps his word. He feels he must always do the "right" thing for fear of ending up a failure like his father. Honorable, organized, he lives his life on the straight and narrow. But when a pirate takes him under his wing and shows him that a man's title doesn't make him a good man, he learns to judge by actions instead. Blac Barclay is a dark-haired privateer who really is a man with heroic traits--"the good guy"--and that's the reason he's my favorite hero.
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Suzie's Website
Jerrica Knight-Catania: Well, this is like asking me to say what my favorite donut is! (For the record, I love them all!) But if I have to choose, I'm going to go with Lord Michael Wetherby, from The Bedeviled Bride. He's the most beta character I've ever written, and therefore he's closest in personality to my own husband. Not that he can't exert power, but he prefers to be thought of as the nice guy. He's fun-loving and funny, sweet and compassionate...and all he wants is for his wife to love him in return. Poor guy really has his work cut out for him, though, with Elizabeth Crawley. Hell hath no fury...
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Jerrica's Website
Ava Stone: Although I usually say my favorite hero is the one I’m currently writing, whoever he may happen to be, I have always had a soft spot for Alexander Everett, the Duke of Kelfield, from A Scandalous Pursuit. Alex is one of those rakish dukes with lots of money and a biting wit. He’s handsome and sexy as the devil with dark hair and grey eyes that seem to catch everything. But underneath all his bravado is a man with abandonment issues and tender heart that beats only for Olivia Danbury. He makes me sigh whenever he steps on a page.
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Ava's Website
In addition the grand prize giveaway being offered by the Heroes Blog Hop, which consists of three prizes for three different winners: a Kindle Fire/Nook Tablet, a $50 gift card, or a giant box of swag, we at TimelessQuills will also be doing a drawing for a $50 gift card to be used at either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. So be sure to leave a comment with your email address to be entered into both drawings.
Our winner will be selected by random.org and will be posted August 1, 2012.
Thank you all for stopping by and click the following image to return to the list of other blogs participating in the hop.
*GIveaways are open to internationally, EXCEPT, the giant bag of swag.
I know summer is halfway over, but there's still plenty of time to get your beach read on! So just in case you're running out of good poolside novels, I asked my fellow Timeless Quills authors to share their favorite books to read while baking in the sun...
Ava Stone suggests Claudia Welch's Sorority Sisters. She says, "It'll make you call all your girlfriends to tell them how much you love them."
And to escape to the past, she recommends a historical romance novel by Deb Marlowe's Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick. "Brilliant, like everything else she's ever written!"
Catherine Gayle suggests Erin Knightley's historical romance novel, More Than a Stranger. "It's got chemistry that'll make you melt more than the sun you're baking under, and is one of the most romantic books I've read in a long time."
And for a contemporary, steamy read, Bared to You by Sylvia Day. "It's erotic romance with such intense depth of characters that I couldn't possibly put it down until I finished reading it."
Suzie Grant says you must read James Rollins The Devil Colony. "Completely riveting story that mixes science and history in a way that will leave you breathless with anticipation. It was phenomenal!"
And for historical romance: Enslaved by Cassandra Dean. "It's a first person book which surprised me because I normally don't like reading a story in first person pov but this book captivated from the very first chapter. Highly recommend it to anyone who loves reading stories in unique and exotic locales."
My hubby and I recently picked up Jessica Park's YA novel, Flat Out Love, and we couldn't put it down! A fantastic and mysterious coming-of-age story that you do not want to miss!
And one of my all-time favorite historical romance novels (and novelist!), Lauren Willig's The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. She combines Chick-Lit with Regency Romance for a super fun romp through England and France!
Now help us out! What are your favorite summertime reads?
by Jerrica Knight-Catania
Caroline is one of my most favorite characters to write. She’s fun. She’s adventurous (well, she thinks she is.) She has a big heart. She genuinely cares for her family and friends. AND she loves to meddle. Though, to be honest, Caroline wouldn’t say she “meddles” she would say she “fixes”.
Here are her stats:
Age - 30
Married (arranged, though Staveley is wonderful and lets her do whatever she wants without complaint...most of the time.)
Hair - Golden brown
Eyes - Hazel
Mother of 3 - 2 girls and 1 boy
Friend to many
If you’ve read any of my books that feature Caroline, you know there are a lot of people in her world who need fixing.
A Scandalous Wife:
Robert Beckford, Earl of Masten (and Caroline’s oldest brother) is more than a little rigid in his life. He is a bit stodgy and set in his ways.
Lydia, Countess of Masten (Caroline’s sister-in-law) has led a troubled life, more so than anyone else in my world. Though she’s been married to Robert for five years, she hasn’t seen him since the day they married.
ENTER Caroline – She wants her brother to be happy and she thinks his wife is the perfect girl for the job. So she manages (a better word that meddles) to bring the two of them face to face and then manages the rest, as best as she can, from the sidelines.
A Scandalous Charade:
Lucas Beckford (Caroline’s second brother) is a charming devil-may-care rake, who goes about life one pleasure to the next.
Lady Juliet St. Claire (sister to one of Caroline’s friends) is a frosty heiress who loves her freedom almost as much as she does her family.
ENTER Caroline – When Caroline notices a spark between her roguish brother and good-girl Juliet, she manages (still a better word that meddles) to foster a relationship between the pair. And when Luke foolishly messes up in the grandest of ways, Caroline still manages to find a way to help the two of them find their way back together.
A Scandalous Secret:
Chester Peyton, Marquess of Astwick (one of Caroline’s friends) lost his heart more than a dozen years ago to a Scottish girl who deserted him.
Lady Hannah Campbell (the sister to one of Caroline’s friends) returns to London, widowed with two sons, which is no easy task as everywhere she goes, she sees reminders of her first love.
ENTER Caroline – As soon as Caroline realizes Chet and Hannah have a past, she sees no reason why they shouldn’t have a future too. So she – yes – manages to find a way to bring the star-crossed lovers face to face once more.
A Scandalous Pursuit:
Alexander Everett, Duke of Kelfield (long time friend of Caroline’s husband) finds himself in a compromising situation with an innocent girl he has long lusted after, and the only recourse is marriage.
Olivia Danbury (Caroline’s cousin) inexplicably finds herself headed down the aisle toward the scandalous duke, which is not the best situation for a girl who already had a fiancé.
ENTER Caroline – Alex and Livvie’s relationship is the one Caroline didn’t fully support. She loves the pair dearly. Alex is her favorite of all her husband’s friends, especially has he has assisted her in managing others’ futures. And she loves Livvie as though she were her sister. But they have so much going against them, she fears both will be hurt in the process – so she stays close, to help in case she is needed.
A Scandalous Past:
Brendan Reese, Earl of Clayworth (one of Caroline’s friends) is widowed and would prefer to stay that way. And he desperately needs to find his traitorous mother’s lost letters that could send him to the gaols.
Cordelia Avery (one of Caroline’s cousin Olivia’s friends) reminds Caroline of herself as she does have a tendency to med…er…fix things and people. One person she has no interest in fixing is the fraudulent Earl of Clayworth, not when the sinful Marquess of Haversham is nearby. How unfortunate for her that only Clayworth’s kisses make her toes curl.
ENTER Caroline – For several books Caroline had a match between Clayworth and Cordie in mind. She adores both of them so dearly that when Clayworth’s scandalous past finally catches up with him, Caroline even teams up with the despicable Haversham in order to save her friends from an uncertain end.
So there you are. A very brief overview of how Caroline has shaped the books in my Scandalous series. As I write my new Heroes Returned trilogy, I’m fairly certain she will find her way inside those books as well. After all, there are a lot of people who need fixing in her world.
~ AVA STONE
Five of us TQ authors made it to Chicago last week for the super fun reader conference, Romantic Times. While we were there, we took the opportunity to do a fun photo shoot for the TQ website! You can check out our new headshots on the Autographed Books page and our group shot on the About Us page.
One of the highlights of the week was getting to meet readers at the book signing, so here are some pics of us signing and talking to readers!
Five of us TQ authors are at the Romantic Times Convention this week! If you're a reader and you're here, make sure to stop by our tables at the book signings and say "Hi!" We'd love to meet you!! :)
Here's who to look for:
Pictures and videos will be forthcoming, but you can follow us on Twitter and FB to get live updates!
On behalf of all the TQ historical romance authors, we are so excited to announce the launch of our brand new website, TimelessQuills.com! The six of us are all historical romance authors who are cross-published with both Night Shift Publishing (ebooks) and Second Wind Publishing (print), and we wanted to create a site where you could find all of us and all of our books in one spot.
We'll be blogging periodically about our books and our characters, so be sure to stop by and see what's new!