Monday, December 24, 2012

My true love gave to me ... 12 Days of Christmas Cheer

My true love gave to me ... 12 Days of Christmas Cheer:

My True Love Gave to Me
...twelve days of Christmas cheer...

The Wild Okie Writers

Pemberton Hall, England
After midnight
December 26, 1814

Servants moved about the Hall dousing candles and clearing away the last vestiges of the ball. Weary footmen escorted guests to their carriages or their sleeping rooms. In the kitchens, scullery maids washed dishes while the cooks began preparations to feed guests in the morning. In the Hall itself, only a few creatures still stirred. Lords and ladies, maids and geese, swans and French hens were off to their beds, where visions of true love danced in their heads.
Wondering what happened at the Pemberton this Christmas Eve? It all began on December 12 when ....

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My true love gave to me ....TwelveDrummers Drumming…

My true love gave to me ....:TwelveDrummers Drumming.:
My True Love Gave to Me…

…Twelve Drummers Drumming…

Chapter Twelve

Jeanette Ward

Pemberton Hall
Christmas 1814

“The deuce, you say! What have you done with the prince?”

Archduke Karl Ludovic, Captain of the First Arciene Life Guard of Vienna, leaned heavily on his walking cane in the gleaming ivory vestibule at Trenton House in London. He glared at the harried butler as he waited for the poor man to divulge the whereabouts of the heir apparent of Austria, Prince Maximilian. However, at nine and twenty, Max was beyond changing old habits and undoubtedly, slipping away to escape the constraints of his royal blood was by far his worst offense.  ... CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE READING .... 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My true love gave to me ...eleven pipers piping …...

My True Love Gave to Me
eleven pipers piping …
Chapter Eleven

Anna Kittrell

Lady Dinah flicked open her fan. Why was it so dreadfully hot in here? She feared perspiration would dampen her green silk dress.

“Glass of water, milady?” Her governess, Marie, creased her freckled brow. “You are pouring like a sieve.”

Dinah fanned faster. “Thank you, Marie, a glass of water would be lovely.” She swallowed, her throat burning.

She had hoped her wooziness would go unnoticed, but hope never granted her favors. Naturally, Marie had noticed her condition. She’d helped care for Dinah since infancy, then quietly stepped into the role of fulltime caregiver nearly a year ago, when Dinah’s mother died of influenza. ... Read More ...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My True Love Gave to Me ... Nine Ladies Dancing

My True Love Gave To Me…
...Nine Ladies Dancing…
Chapter Nine
Debra Rogers

Pemberton Hall
Christmas 1814

Smoothing the back of Lord Dominick Carrington’s coat of superfine for the third time, Fitzhugh, the gnarled valet he’d inherited from his father, stepped back to survey the newest Earl of Abernathy.

Nick indulged the man though he couldn’t restrain the tick in his jaw at the fussing. He wasn’t a trussed up goose, fattened for Christmas dinner, for heaven’s sake. “Why must I attend this affair?” he groused.

The valet took a deep, patient breath. “Your late father never missed the Pemberton’s Christmas ball and your brother...pardon me, my lord––” Stopping abruptly, he peered above his bushy brows.

“No, go on,” Nick encouraged the man, who bobbed his head in acquiescence. His brother’s death had sealed his fate. If you take the title, you must find a .... Read More ....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My true love gave to me ... Eight Maids A Milking

… eight maids a milking …

Chapter Eight

Maxine Douglas

Pemberton Hall
Christmas Day, 1814

Eleanor Swann, one of seven daughters born to Lord and Lady Cockswood stood amongst the pillars wrapped gaily with evergreen boughs, wondering why she had to attend yet another ball. Unlike her best friend, Lady Liza Seymour whose dance card was nearly full, Nora was single with no beau, nor dance partner in sight. Like Liza, Nora detested being herded around like a prized mare. But what was a girl to do? Especially one of three and twenty with no intentions of subjecting herself to an arranged match, thus never marrying.

“I don’t know why Father keeps insisting on presenting me at these parties, Nora,” Liza barely whispered above the music filling the ballroom of Pemberton Hall. “I’ve already attended many seasons so why he persists on me attending every ball within distance escapes me.”

Nora sighed deeply, wanting badly to escape the merriment and sneak down to the stables for a night ride. She knew people thought her to be prim and proper, but she’d seen a lovely sorrel gelding just waiting for someone to take him out on a run. She’d love nothing more than to ride astride the big mount and feel the rhythm of his gait beneath her. She sighed inwardly and returned her attention to her friend, and confidant. Liza was the only person she trusted with her true feelings.

“You know exactly why we’re both here. Your father has aspirations of selling ... Read More ...

My true love gave to me ...Seven Swans a'Swimming

Chapter Seven
…seven swans a’swimming…

Silver James

Lord David Barrington, Duke of Alford, swigged his port in disgust. On one side, Richard, Viscount Tetterly spoke of his upcoming nuptials as if his bride-to-be was a prized mare ripe for breeding. David could only discern that the miss in question was one of the Swann sisters, though he’d heard nothing of a betrothal. He shuddered at the thought of having to marry off seven women. He had only his sister, Cecile, to be concerned with. Ceecy was friendly with the Swanns. Surely she would have mentioned a wedding if one was in the offing.

He’d watched the family’s entrance earlier—Lord John Swann, the Earl of Cockswood, and his lady leading their flock of seven swans a’swimming through this social pond.

As much as he disliked the subject, truth be told, it was the only reason he was here for this forsaken parade of marriageable maids plumped and primed by their predatory mothers. He’d retreated to the card room to get away from the lot of them—only to be caught up in the discussion from the other side of the coin.  .... Read More ...

Monday, December 17, 2012

My true love gave to me …Sixgeese a laying…

Chapter Six
…Six geese a laying…
Tamrie Foxtail

Olivia came to an abrupt halt on the edge of the ballroom. The six gossiping geese were huddled together in a colorful circle. Honestly, her cousin Gertie should stay away from that particular shade of yellow. It made her hair look even more orange.
One of the girls sent a quick glance in Olivia’s direction and nudged Lizzie. They really did resemble a little flock. The thought made her smile. Six geese a laying, rather appropriate given the season.
She spied a flash of green across the ballroom. Since her reputation had been shredded, thanks in large part to her cousin Gertie, Lizzie and the rest of the geese, Dinah was one of the few women still talking to her. Olivia frowned. It had been a fortnight since she’d seen Dinah. Her friend didn’t appear to be well. Concerned, Olivia headed in her direction.
“Would you look at her?” Lizzie snickered in a stage whisper. “She’s dressed in green. Shouldn’t she be wearing something more appropriate? Like scarlet.”
The rest of the geese tittered. Brainless lot, the whole bunch of them.
Olivia had half a mind to snatch Lizzie’s blond head bald and inform her that Lizzie’s drunken brother Percy was the reason ... Read More ...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My true love gave to me ....five golden rings. . .

Chapter Five
. . .five golden rings. . .

Kathy L Wheeler

Bartholomew Dixon, Viscount Weston, future Earl of Hartley, leaned a shoulder against the wall, one ankle crossing the other. Hand in his pocket, he fingered the four golden rings he’d already garnered by way of seduction. All he required was the fifth to win the bloody asinine wager one of the leaping lords of Boodles had challenged him to. Victory was but a hairsbreadth away.
He glanced about the elaborately decorated hall with its myriad candles and greenery that covered every post, archway, and tabletop, searching out his final quarry. Lady Evelyn Powell. It shouldn’t be difficult. Her flaxen hair would be piled high, and those cool blue eyes would flash their mocking humor. But cared naught, all he required was the ring. ... Read More ....

Friday, December 14, 2012

My true love gave to me .... four calling birds

Chapter Four
... four calling birds ...

Christy Gronlund and Heidi Vanlandingham

Staring at her reflection in the mirror, Lady Catherine Swann sighed. The elegant young lady staring back at her would make her family proud. There was one problem, however. She was the youngest of Lord and Lady Cockswoods’ seven daughters—and most definitely not elegant nor a lady. Only eighteen, she had no wish to find a suitable husband. She wanted to see the world, not raise babies. She picked up her small, satin reticule, and wrapped it around her wrist then turned to face her sister. "I guess it will have to do."

Pippa frowned. "What are you talking about? You look quite proper. While I..."

Cat ignored her sister, knowing she only wanted to hear how pretty she was. “My dress is the problem.” ... Read More

My true love gave to me ... three French hens…Chapter 3...

My true love gave to me ... My True love Gave To Me…three French hens…Chapter 3...:

My True love Gave To Me

three French hens

Chapter Three

Calisa Rhose

Pemberton Hall
Christmas, 1814

“Hello, Lady Charlotte. Perhaps you have an opening on that little dance card for me ?”
Lady Lottie Swann gazed upwards, ready to accept the offer, then went numb, but only briefly. Standing before her was the rogue who’d broken her heart but two years prior.
It took a moment to catch a breath. But she did and answered coldly. “Lord Leighton. I regret to inform you my dance card is completely and irrevocably filled already. Perhaps you should have called again after our last encounter.” And before she could stop herself, hissed, “You will need to find some other innocent bird to waste time with this night.”
Relief flooded her when Lady Grace Hawthorn, best friend since childhood, grabbed her arm. Grace was seemingly oblivious to the tall man standing there, and dragged Lottie away. Knees quaking, she fled from sight of the handsome rogue who had filled every dream for months.
“I can’t believe you received an invitation to Pemberton Hall this year, too, Lottie. It’s so exciting to spend the evening with you. We see one another so rarely these days.”
Lottie kept one eye on the dance floor as ... Read More... next up is four calling birds....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My true love gave to me ....two turtle doves...

Chapter Two

Lauren Smith

Pemberton Hall
Christmas Day, 1814

“It’s a damn cold night, eh Nathan?”

Nathan, the Duke of Hastings, glanced in irritation at his younger brother Lewis, just visible in the light from the coach lantern. When they’d set out from his estate, only a few miles away, the skies were heavy with winter storm clouds. But the weather held, and he and Lewis had little trouble during the journey to Pemberton Hall.

Lewis started speaking again, the entire conversation nearly one-sided, not that Nathan minded, he wasn’t even paying attention to what his brother was saying. Lewis was an easy-going sort and always had something to say. Nathan preferred to gaze out the coach window, lost in thoughts as his eyes roved over the miles of snow covered land.

Lucky devil. He envied Lewis’s freedom. As the head of his family, ...  Read more ... next up is three french hens....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MyTrue Love Gave to Me…a partridge in a pear tree…...

Chapter One

Callie Hutton

Pemberton Hall
Christmas Day, 1814

She’s here.

A jolt of excitement shot through Marcus, Viscount Weatherby, as he spotted her after scanning the crowd packed into the ballroom at Pemberton Hall. He had carelessly tossed aside the invitation he’d received to the lavish Christmas Ball the Duke and Duchess of Pemberton hosted each year. Then when Penrose mentioned at White’s yesterday that Lady Surrey would be in attendance, he knew nothing could keep him away.

Emma--my Emma.

Almost as if connected by an invisible cord, he headed in her direction, snatching two glasses of champagne from a passing footman. Trying his best to shoulder his way through the crush, he groaned in frustration when ... Read more

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The holiday season is upon us.
Christmas is evident in every town across the country, at every corner of your hometown lights are twinkling in the night. Joyous celebrations are getting ready to begin and we all give thanks for a wonderful year as the new one takes onto new adventures in our lives.  I miss downtown Lake Mills, the sounds of Christmas are heard 24/7 during December.
Christmas Legends:
The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century.
As early as 1773 the name appeared in the American press as "St. A Claus," but it was the popular author Washington Irving who gave Americans their first detailed information about the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas. In his History of New York, published in 1809 under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, Irving described the arrival of the saint on horseback (unaccompanied by Black Peter) each Eve of Saint Nicholas.
This Dutch-American Saint Nick achieved his fully Americanized form in 1823 in the poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas by writer Clement Clarke Moore. Moore included such details as the names of the reindeer; Santa Claus's laughs, winks, and nods; and the method by which Saint Nicholas, referred to as an elf, returns up the chimney. (Moore's phrase "lays his finger aside of his nose" was drawn directly from Irving's 1809 description.)
Santa Claus Legends: 
Christmas Tree Legend:
Celebrating Christmas without a richly decorated Christmas Tree would not seem right today.  But why do we have a Christmas Tree, and how did it originate?
Back in the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, traveled to Germany to spread the Word of God.  Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to the German people. The German people started to revere the Fir Tree as "God's Tree". In the next 5 centuries, the tree became a symbol of Christianity, and was being hung upside-down from the ceiling as a sign of Christianity. 
More Christmas Tree Legends:
Christmas Legends:
Christmas Recipes/Treats:
Christmas Movies: 
This semi-remake of Holiday Inn (the first movie in which Irving Berlin's perennial, Oscar-winning holiday anthem was featured) doesn't have much of a story, but what it does have is choice: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, an all-Irving Berlin song score, classy direction by Hollywood vet Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood), VistaVision (the very first feature ever shot in that widescreen format), and ultrafestive Technicolor! Crosby and Kaye are song-and-dance men who hook up, romantically and professionally, with a "sister" act (Clooney and Vera-Ellen) to put on a Big Show to benefit the struggling ski-resort lodge run by the beloved old retired general (Dean Jagger) of their WWII Army outfit. Crosby is cool, Clooney is warm, Kaye is goofy, and Vera-Ellen is leggy. Songs include: "Sisters" (Crosby and Kaye do their own drag version, too), "Snow," "We'll Follow the Old Man," "Mandy," "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," and more. Christmas would be unthinkable without White Christmas. --Jim Emerson
Voices of Rossano Brazzi, Alberto Rabagliati. Santa and Mrs. Claus must organize a series of fund-raisers to prevent the mean old Mr. Prune from evicting them-and cancelling Christmas! Animated. 1966/color/93 min/G/fullscreen.
Alastair Sim's tour-de-force performance as the ultimate miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, has almost single-handedly made this beloved version of Charles Dickens' story into one of the best-loved Christmas films of all time. Some of Britain's best filmmakers united behind Sim, who was joined by a delightful cast of accomplished and acclaimed English actors; creating what many today believe to be the best and most faithful production of Dickens' immortal tale. Cranky and curmudgeonly Scrooge learns the error of his unkind ways and is taught the true meaning of the holidays when he is visited by the ghost of his late business partner and the spirits of Christmas past, present and future.

A charming and wholesome 1950 holiday film about a New York family (led by Durante) who are down on their luck at Christmas time. Shortly before Christmas, they move into a ground floor apartment building where Rupert the squirrel lives in the attic rafters. Just when it seems that the holiday will come and go without so much as a Christmas tree, Rupert acts as the family's beneficent guardian angel - not only saving Christmas, but changing their lives forever. (Originally titled The Great Rupert, the title has been changed to A Christmas Wish, which more adequately describes the story and showcases the delightful holiday theme.)

Alien invaders kidnap everyone's favorite right jolly old elf in this low-budget mixture of children's comedy and sci-fi adventure. Christmas is not far away, and countless children are glued to their family's TV sets, watching reports about Santa Claus (John Call). However, this is happening on Mars, and leaders of the Red Planet aren't sure what to do for their kids who are pining away for a visit from the gift-bearing earthling. Martian leader Kimar (Leonard Hicks) dispatches two of his emissaries, the chronically grumpy Voldar (Vincent Beck) and the moronically cheerful Dropo (Bill McCutcheon), to Earth to bring Santa back for a visit. After arriving on Earth, Voldar and Dropo abduct two children, Betty (Donna Conforti) and Billy (Victor Stiles), and order the kids to show them the way to Santa's workshop, from which all three are taken to Mars against their will. As Santa, Betty, and Billy try to find a way back to Earth, Voldar becomes enraged with the Earth kids, while the children bond more comfortably with the intellectually-challenged Dropo. Shot on a shoestring budget on Long Island, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has developed a rabid cult following over the years, and yes, it's true, Kimar's daughter Girmar really is played by a ten-year-old Pia Zadora. --Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year, everyone!

Christmas Tree Photo provided by