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Traditions–the ties that bond

On the eleventh day of Pre-release, the author gave to me…

Traditions.

At Casa Richards there are only a few traditions set in stone. One is the decorations don’t go up until after my Dad’s birthday, on December 6th. For some people the wait for the appropriate time would be agonizing but, for me, not so much. It allows me a little more time to think about it all and make some plans. We’ve moved quite a few times over the last few years, so this year I’m once again trying to figure out where things will go. I need those extra days!

Another tradition is that at some point over the season we’ll get together with all the kids and have hors d’oeuvres for dinner. That started when I worked retail and always worked up until Christmas Eve. Back in those days we had to negotiate with the elder two’s Mum as to when we’d have them and for a number of years we’d have them the day before Christmas. So sometimes I was facing somehow having to produce a feast on a day when I wouldn’t get home until almost 6:30pm. One year I thought, “This is nuts!” and asked if anyone minded us having nibblies instead of a meal. We all enjoyed it so much, we do it every year now. Sometimes on Christmas Eve, sometimes on Boxing Day or even on the 27th, which is my hubby’s birthday.

The only other thing that I’m honor-bound to do is make Jamaican-style Christmas pudding. Most people hear those words and wince, but our pudding starts with fruit (raisins, prunes, etc.) that have been soaked in rum and wine…usually all year. Yeah. If I ever said I wasn’t making puddings I think I’d have a mutiny on my hands.

Old traditions, passed on from generation to generation, keep us in touch with our pasts, while the new ones help make sense of our present. In my new book, Jaguar in the Sun, book four in the Unveiled Seductions series, the heroine is facing a tradition she won’t survive. Yet there is no thought of shirking it, because she knows everyone is depending on her to follow through. I’ll freely admit that, in the midst of the craziness that the Christmas season sometime can be, following through on some of the traditions (especially the two day pudding bake!) feels like a chore, but in the end it’s worth the effort. Seeing the smiles and hearing the sighs of appreciation make it all good!

Enjoy the following preview and Happy Holidays to All!!

Anya

jaguarinthesun_9781419947193_msr_1Blurb:

Cassandra Solinar has a bucket list and jaguar god Xbal Montegro is on it. About to undergo an essential rite she won’t survive, she wants to wring every ounce of pleasure out of the time left. Including discovering if Xbal’s sex magic technique is as good as rumored.

It’s no hardship for Xbal to accept Cassandra’s invitation for one erotic encounter, but far more difficult to let her go once he gets a taste of the explosive passion between them. Now he’s determined to hold on to her, no matter what.

Cassie can’t tell Xbal the truth about what she’s about to do. It’s illegal, but without her death the entire world will perish. It’s a job she’s been preparing for from birth, but the loss will be greater now. For in Xbal she finds a soul-deep connection she doesn’t want to lose, and the one thing she made a point of not putting on her bucket list—love.

A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

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Journeys Through Seduction

Anya Richards/Anya Delvay books available from Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters Indigo.

Sleigh Bells, the Big Guy and Finding Faith

Well, my darling MANhandlers, I have to say I would make a much larger effort to catch Santa coming down the chimney if he looked like this. Enjoy!

My parents are awesome on an epic level. I love them with a ferocity that defies basic description. It’s always been this way, even when I passed through the dreaded Teenager of Doom years. They are, quite frankly, amazing. But, because they are human and subject to human flaws, there were a handful of serious Parenting Fail moments growing up. The one I want to touch on was the day they told me Santa didn’t exist. I’ll never forget the moment. I had recently defended Santa to a classmate who insisted Santa was his dad and was bothered the classmate, Ryan McSomething-or-Other, proved so insistent. Jackass, right? That first forkful of crow was hard to get down. Here’s how it went down.

My parents were wheeling a small BMX bike up the front walk and I followed behind. (I’d been at a neighbor’s house while they were shopping.)
Mom: “Don’t tell your brother about the bike. It’s from Santa.”
Me: O_o … “Huh?”
Mom: “The bike. It’s from Santa. Don’t tell Andy.”
Me: “How is it from Santa?”
Mom: O_o … “You know we’re Santa.” (← statement of fact)
Me: (trembling chin) “You’re what?”
Mom: “Santa. Your dad and I are Santa. You knew that.”
Me: …

This didn’t bode well for the Easter Bunny, and I knew it with that crystal clarity inherent to life-altering moments.

I suppose I was a wee bit cynical that Christmas. Oh, I didn’t blow it for my brother with a casual, “Everything we’ve ever believed is a lie.” No, I let him have his excitement and his moment of wonder as I sat back and smoked a cigarette and sipped my scotch and contemplated the meaning of life. Not really. (C’mon. I was, like, eight. I didn’t like scotch yet.) In my mind, the moment was captured something like this:

 

 

“Don’t mind me. I’m just sitting over here living a lie, thanks.”

 

 

 

But this was the moment a tradition was born. My parents pulled me aside and told me that, as long I continued to believe in the beautiful mystery of Santa and maintained the Christmas spirit, the jolly red-suited big guy would continue to visit — ad nauseum. I chose right then to give up drinking and smoking and simply hold out hope the ‘rents were telling the truth. I remember easing back into the moment and feeling a little of the Christmas spirit revive in me.

It became a holiday tradition that my brother and I would sit down at the tree on Christmas Eve and shake our presents, trying to guess what we’d be opening come morning and then we’d lay a little wager about what Santa would bring. When he moved to Florida this year, at age 36, I realized I wouldn’t have that. I’m going to miss it. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on Santa, though. Nope. No way. I’ve even got my husband believing. We hang stockings every year and, lo and behold, they’re filled every Christmas morning and there are special presents for us, whether it’s around our tree or Mom and Dad’s.

Santa and I have come to a gradual understanding over the years. It’s pretty much: I get fantastic presents in exchange for faith based on cookies, time and tradition.

I can live with that.

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