Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Legends Part 1

Santa Claus

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.)
For more information:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Free Book Raffle

Celebrate 2013 Contest
Send me an email at Maxine Douglas for a free review of copy (or purchase a copy at one of the links below) of

  • Post a review on 
  • Enter your name below to be eligible for a $25 American Expedient Gift Card  
  • Winner will be drawn randomly from eligible entrants on January 1, 2014.
*All entries will be checked for review posted by midnight (CST) December 31, 2013, when contest endsWinner will be notified via email.  One entry per person.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Release December 2013

Nashville Rising Star

There were only three of them left now—Casey Montgomery from Oklahoma, the darling Emerald Braun, and himself. By this time next week, he was banking on only two left standing before the show even started. Emerald Braun wouldn’t be one of them.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope.
Everything I’ve wanted the past few years depends on this...and what’s inside it.
“Welcome back. Our next performer of the night is...”

Utah Sheridan intends to win Nashville Rising Star at all costs;
will his bribe be the end of Emerald Braun? 

Print coming in 2014

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cooking Up Love for Two -- Apple Knockers

It’s a cold, bitterly cold, December day here in Oklahoma so I thought I’d share this recipe from A Taste for Love, A Romantic Cookbook for Two by Elizabeth M. Harbison and Mary McGowan in hopes of warming you and your loved one up. 

                       Apple Knockers 

1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp whole cloves
1 pinch nutmeg
1 ½ cup apple cider
¼ cup sugar
½ cup orange juice
2 T fresh lemon juice
¼ cup brandy


©   Tie the cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg in a cheesecloth bag.

©   In a small saucepan, bring apple cidar to a simmer over medium-high heat; add the spice bag and simmer for 15 minutes.

©   Stir in the sugar.  Add the orange and lemon juices.  Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if you like.

©   Add brandy and heat thoroughly just before serving.